It seems to me….
“One immutable trait of the gullible is that they are credulous to a fault. Though no-doubt well-meaning, the naïve are Trump’s base.” ~ Pamela Meyer.
Legalized casino gambling was approved in my hometown of Atlantic City, NJ, in a 1974 statewide referendum. Though no longer living there at the time, I considered it a major mistake.
Gambling was not something new to Atlantic City; it had long been a major industry. The city was declared to probably be the most crooked city in the U.S. “riddled with rackets including nearly every known type of gambling operation” in an investigation by the U.S. Senate Special Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce, chaired by Senator Kefauver, released in 1951. Not only were most residents aware of this – they approved. Atlantic City was cited at that time in the Guinness Book of Records as the city with the most street intersections with bars on all four corners; many of which were open 24/7 during the summer vacation season.
Atlantic City, prior to Las Vegas, widely acknowledged as “The World’s Playground” and well known due to the Miss America Pageant and street names in the U.S. version of the Monopoly board game, found itself waning economically in the mid-to-late 20th century. The popularity of Las Vegas was in ascendancy, Atlantic City became the tawdry madam purveying aging merchandise.
In a Faustian “gamble”, casino gambling was ratified in hope of restoring luster to a fading heirloom. It proved to be the opposite. When approved, Atlantic City had the only legal casinos outside of Las Vegas and no one could have foreseen the rapid proliferation of casino openings in the surrounding states of Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, Connecticut, and on Native-American tribal lands. Still, the venturemight have worked but corrupt public officials with substantial assistance from avaricious casino owners helped kill the golden goose.
I have disliked Donald Trump since becoming familiar with him after he opened his first casino in Atlantic City, NJ, around 1990. (His actual initial involvement in property acquisition and construction began around 1984.) It was not only that he declared bankruptcy on his three Atlantic City casinos, two other casino operators did the same thing, it was the way in which it was done. He took his money and bailed cheating contractors of payments and employees of wages and promised benefits after forcing the closure of competing area entertainment and lodging alternatives. I personally knew people affected. I was on the Boardwalk and saw the protestors and striking workers. No one likes to see their hometown destroyed, something at which Trump proved remarkably adept.
Trump is an unscrupulous con-man with admitted underworld connections – a pathological liar unable to distinguish truth from his personal fabrications and illusions. Trump’s trademark truculent imperiousness inevitably casts him as an obnoxious pompous narcissist.
Companies that bear his name have declared bankruptcy four times as he wrangled with massive debt over the past quarter century. Trump’s first visit to bankruptcy court was in 1991, when his Atlantic City casino, the Taj Mahal, was buried under a mountain of debt. The Taj carried a $1 billion price tag and was financed by junk bonds carrying an overwhelming 14 percent interest rate. As construction completed, the economy slumped, as did the Atlantic City gambling scene, soon plunging Trump into $3.4 billion of debt. Most of the debt he incurred was through bonds sold to the public. People who invested with him or based on his name lost money but he himself came out, as he has claimed, “pretty well”.
Trump defaulted on payments for his golf course in Puerto Rico saddling the island’s taxpayers with $32.7 million in debt. (Then after Hurricane Maria pummeled the island, he criticized them for being in debt.)
And it wasn’t only bankruptcy proceedings. Trump University victimized as many as 5,000 people with a classic “bait and switch” scheme that encouraged them to pay as much as $35,000 for largely useless seminars.
Trump’s business dealings with the mob or mob-related characters are widely documented.
La Cosa Nostra had a virtual monopoly on concrete in New York in the 1980s and the mafia’s control over building supplies and labor unions meant crime families had a hand in most construction projects in Manhattan. Trump, and other major developers, accepted that or built elsewhere. Contractors and developers bribed mob-controlled union leaders to get relief from more arduous conflicts. Trump apparently wasn’t any different than other builders but ostensibly very satisfied with the relationship, went on to praise them, and has since continued that association.
He was first directly tied to the mafia in the 1980s when a $7.8 million subcontract for Trump Plaza was awarded to S&A Concrete, a company partially owned by Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno, the boss of the Genovese crime family. Trump himself acknowledged as much in a December 2015 interview with the Wall Street Journal that S&A Concrete was “supposedly associated with the mob”.
TIME and Daily Beast have speculated that Trump Tower was built with mafia influence, though the evidence is not concrete. Trump stated “These guys were excellent contractors. They were phenomenal. They could do three floors a week in concrete. Nobody else in the world could do three floors a week. I mean they were unbelievable. Trump Tower, other buildings”.
When Salerno was indicted in 1986, the charges specifically mentioned Trump Plaza. Salerno’s 1992 obituary mentions both the Trump Tower and 15 other Manhattan buildings.
Trump World Tower, supported by the Quadrozzi Concrete Company, is also tangentially related to La Cosa Nostra. The head of the company, John Quadrozzi Sr., was tied to the Lucchese crime family and indicted for making illegal payoffs to the mob in 1992.
Trump’s alleged mob dealings were not confined to New York. According to reports from the Huffington Post and Philadelphia Inquirer, Trump made a deal in Atlantic City with Kenneth Shapiro, an associate of mob boss Nicky Scarfo, and mob-connected labor boss Daniel Sullivan. Trump seemed aware of this, calling Shapiro “a third-rate, local real estate mafia” and Sullivan “the guy who killed Jimmy Hoffa”.
Nonetheless, in 1981, Trump leased a portion of the land for Trump Plaza and Casino from a company the two men controlled, according to a report by New Jersey gaming regulators. The company refused to cooperate with the authorities and Trump eventually ended the partnership and bought out their shares. Later Trump brought on Sullivan as a labor negotiator with undocumented workers at the Grand Hyatt Hotel and introduced the man to his own banker according to the Los Angeles Times.
Trump bought the property through intermediaries for the casino from the “crown prince” of the Philadelphia mob, Salvatore Testa, for $1.1 million in 1982. Multiple media reports and an unauthorized biography about Trump allege this was more than twice its market value. (Testa purchased the property in 1977 for $195,000.)
According to The Federalist, two construction companies controlled by Nicky Scarfo built the Trump Plaza and Casino. “You had contractors that were supposedly mob-oriented all over Atlantic City”, Trump said when the Wall Street Journal asked him about it, adding that “every single casino company used the same companies, just I hope you will say that”.
A few years later, Trump’s organized crime connections extended overseas. In 1992, a Senate subcommittee named Danny Leung, who was then the vice president for foreign marketing at Trump Taj Mahal, as an associate of the Hong Kong-based organized crime group 14K Triad. Leung has also given complimentary tickets for hotel rooms and Asian shows to numerous members and associates of Asian organized crime. Three additional triad-connected business associates or former employees were members of Trump’s gambling empire.
According to gaming regulators as reported by the New York Daily News in 1995, Leung “flew in 16 Italian organized crime figures from Canada who stole more than $1 million from the casino in a credit scam”. The incident was apparently never reported as Trump never filed charges.
Leung, who had a separate contract to bring gamblers from Toronto to the casino, denied the affiliation to organized crime and his casino and junket licenses were renewed. (The Trump Taj Mahal declared bankruptcy in 1991 and his other Atlantic City properties folded a decade later.)
Felix Sater is a twice-convicted Russian émigré who served prison time and had documented mafia connections. He pleaded guilty to a charge of money laundering in 1998 and was indicted again in 2000 for taking part in a $40 million stock scheme involving four Mafia families according to a New York Times report.
From 2003 to 2007, Sater traveled the country promoting projects for Trump. His company was a partner in the Trump SoHo hotel which Trump claims he never knew. Three years later, Sater returned to the Trump Organization and had business cards that described him as Trump’s “senior advisor”. Trump now claims he is not familiar with Sater.
I always have been told “birds of a feather flock together” and that you can tell someone by the company one keeps. It is an admitted stretch to judge someone by with whom they associate – but it certainly is something everyone should question. I consider Trump to be a mentally unstable egocentric solipsist devoid of ethical principles. Everyone will have to make up their own mind as to his motives and character.
That’s what I think, what about you?
 Pamela Meyer is an American author, certified fraud examiner, and entrepreneur.
 Kefauver Committee Final Report, August 31, 1951, http://stoppredatorygambling.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Kefauver-Committee-Final-report.pdf, pp52-56.
 Carey Estes Kefauver was a politician from Tennessee who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1939 to 1949 and in the Senate from 1949 until his death.
 Qui, Linda. Yes, Donald Trump Has Been Linked To The Mob, PolitiFact, www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/mar/02/ted-cruz/yes-donald-trump-has-been-linked-mob/, 2 March 2016.
 Testimony given by James B. Jacobs, a mafia expert, who was part of a state task force on organized crime
 Calabresi, Massimo. What Donald Trump Knew About Undocumented Workers at His Signature Tower, Time, http://time.com/4465744/donald-trump-undocumented-workers/, 24 August 2016.