According to a January 16, 2016 New York Times article by business writer David Segal, Donald Trump has a history of stopping at nothing to get what he wants but then after making his conquest quickly losing interest in his acquisition and setting back out on the prowl for the thrill of a new chase.
Mr. Segal recounts Trump's long-time obsession with owning the New York City landmark Plaza Hotel.
"But Mr. Trump didn’t spend a lot of time sweating over the Plaza’s finances. He was too busy with new challenges. A few months after the Plaza deal closed, he purchased the Eastern Air Shuttle for $365 million, and in 1990, he opened the Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, which cost $1 billion to build. Some of the loans he took out to pay for deals were personally guaranteed.
'The fact is, you do feel invulnerable,' Mr. Trump told Timothy O’Brien, author of “Trump Nation,” discussing this period in his life. 'And then you have a tendency to take your eye off the ball a little bit and hunt around for women'."
By the early 1990's Donald Trump had racked up over $3 billion in loans which went into default and the Plaza fell into foreclosure along with his other high-priced acquisitions.
Though at this point he was facing personal bankruptcy, the banks to whom he owed billions decided that Donald Trump was too big to fail and worked out a deal requiring him to sign over his assets in exchange for which the banks "provided him with $450,000 a month to operate his business and cover personal expenses. It was so tight a leash that when Marla Maples, his girlfriend at the time, turned up on television waving the costly Harry Winston diamond she’d been given as an engagement ring, the paymasters wanted a word with the groom-to-be.
'I didn’t buy it', Mr. Trump said, according to Mr. Pomerantz. It was a three-month loaner, given in exchange for on-air mentions of Harry Winston.
A spokeswoman for Mr. Trump called that story 'completely false.'"
According to Mr. Segal, Donald Trump's grab for and loss of The Plaza exemplifies his weakness, "a kind of hungry impatience that left him searching for new trophies as soon as one had been acquired in business dealings." He further writes:
"The Plaza deal also demonstrated both his intense drive and ambition as well as his tendency to spread himself dangerously thin as he looks for other conquests. Abraham Wallach, a former executive at the Trump Organization, said Mr. Trump ...had a hopeless addiction to notoriety and was always prowling for another deal that would gain attention and enhance his status.
'I’ve been shocked he has demonstrated such focus during the presidential campaign,' Mr. Wallach said. 'In business, he would focus for about two or three days before the closing, and after that he would lose interest.'"
According to Politifact, Donald Trump has run four properties into bankruptcy over the years: The Trump Taj Mahal in 1991, The Trump Plaza Hotel in 1992, Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts in 2004 and Trump Entertainment Resorts in 2009.
Writes Mr. Segal, ”In fact, the more you know about Mr. Trump's past, the more his run for high office looks like an effort to close the biggest deal of his life.'
And should he close that deal, where will he turn for his next thrill? With the power and financial resources of the Presidency of the United States at his fingertips, the possibilities are endless. And terrifying.
1. What Donald Trump’s Plaza Deal Reveals About His White House Bid, David Segal, The New York Times, January 16, 2016. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/17/business/what-donald-trumps-plaza-deal-reveals-about-his-white-house-bid.html?_r=0
2. Fact-checking claims about Donald Trump's four bankruptcies, Lauren Caroll and Clayton Youngman, Politifact, September 21st, 2015. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/sep/21/carly-fiorina/trumps-four-bankruptcies/