What is Donald Trump’s art of deal-making? Failing to uphold his end of the bargain.
In 1990, while Trump was dropping $1 million every week on his homes, yacht, private jet, and other personal expenses, he had defrauded contractors and construction workers by upwards of $60 million. His struggling casinos, airline, and real-estate holdings couldn’t simultaneously maintain his lifestyle and pay hired workers, so he chose to keep the former and cheat the latter.
Trump owed a team of construction firms and suppliers payments for their work on his Taj Mahal hotel and casino, which were nearly bankrupt. (Trump himself was about $3 billion in debt to banks and junk bond holders.) Marty Rosenberg, then–vice president of Atlantic Plate Glass, said Trump owed his company about $1.5 million in late payments for a glass job on the hotel. S. A. Miller writes in the Washington Times,
Mr. Rosenberg, who was vice president of Atlantic Plate Glass at the time, helped form a committee of construction firms and suppliers stiffed by Mr. Trump. He then served as a member of the so-called Group of Seven leading the committee’s negotiations that resulted in the contractors getting partial payments.
Atlantic Plate Glass lost about $450,000 in the settlement, said Mr. Rosenberg, adding that his personal finances took a hit because of his minority stockholder stake in the firm, and that the company struggled but overcame the loss.
Others fared worse, he said, including smaller businesses that didn’t survive.
After losing almost half a million dollars in the Trump settlement, Rosenberg told the Washington Times that “Trump says whatever is on his mind at the time that will get him off the hook.”
Trump manipulated the strapped Rosenberg into accepting a fraction of what he had initially agreed to pay him. This wasn’t negotiation or an opening offer — Trump simply reneged on the deal he had originally negotiated with Atlantic Plate Glass before it began its work.
Meanwhile, Trump continued living in opulence. The settlement allowed him to dodge an involuntary bankruptcy lawsuit, but months later he filed for the first of his four bankruptcies.