How much is Donald Trump worth?
|Date of Birth:
|June 14, 1946 (age 76)
|United States of America
|6 ft 2 in (1.9 m)
About Donald Trump
Business mogul Donald Trump became known on TV with his distinct coif hairstyle, signature phrase, “You’re fired,” and talk about a possible run for presidency. But how many of us actually saw a successful run in his future?
Born on June 14, 1946 at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, New York, Donald grew up between Brooklyn and Queens. He was partly raised in Military School as a young teenager after his parents became worried about his confrontations with other boys. His minister growing up was a man called Norman Vincent Peale. His father, Fred Trump, became so interested in the minister’s books that he and his family, including a six year old Donald, joined the minister-author’s church, Marble Collegiate, in midtown Manhattan. Vincent Peale was the author of the book The Power of Positive Thinking which offers a sort of mind over matter approach to life and was a message it seems Donald Trump swallowed whole while growing up.
Donald excelled in school and went on to attend Fordham University and the University of Pennsylvania’s prestigious Wharton School of Business. He earned a diploma and then went to work at his father’s thriving real estate company, E. Trump & Son.
Donald had a vision for his father’s company, bigger than Fred ever did. Fred was more conservative limiting himself to the development of single-family houses in Queens, and stayed away from Manhattan. Fred was commissioned to build barracks and garden apartments for U.S. Navy personnel and by the end of his life, was responsible for building more than 27,000 apartments in New York City.
Donald Trump however set his sights on Manhattan and never looked back. It was his theory that with what he wanted to build, he shouldn’t need to pay taxes for some years as he was adding to the value of the city itself. Including encouraging tourism and more importantly, increasing the value of every property in a 5-mile radius to his. While controversial, tax breaks were granted, and Trump went on to purchase and develop the Jacob Javitz Center, turn the bankrupt Commodore Hotel into the Grand Hyatt and build the Trump Tower; earnings tens of millions in the process.
By this time it seems that Vincent Peale’s teachings had become his daily bread.
Then in 1980, Donald spotted an even bigger opportunity. He forecast, developing hotel and casinos where people could gamble could return hundreds of millions in revenue and profits. With it, Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts was born. A gambling and hospitality company that came to own and operate the now-demolished Trump Plaza and Trump World’s Fair which were situated in Atlantic City. A place where gambling was legal in American and hey, if you’re a high-roller then we’ll send a helicopter to New York City and fly you in for free, as Jordan Belfort described in his book.
All the while Trump continued to buy buildings worldwide, nothing could stop him, as he began to redevelop the world in his image. He published his first book, The Art of the Deal and even began to talk of a presidential run. People were beginning to listen to this new American dream-maker who always seemed to have the right answer.
Unfortunately for Trump, his famous appetite for more may have gotten the best of him this time and despite his first two hotel and casinos doing well, what he was about to do next was going to be a big wake up call.
The Taj Mahal
After purchasing the unfinished Taj Mahal property from Resorts International for $273 million, in 1988. It was set to be the biggest casino in Atlantic City, a massive 167,000 square foot behemoth that would stand as a monument to all things that are Trump.
Incredibly, the purchase and completion of the hotel eventually ran costs of anywhere from $675-900 million and some say it cost over a billion. What’s more, that was at a time when $1 was worth far more than twice what it is today. Conservatively, we’re talking about a $1.7 billion low to as much 2.3 billion dollars, just to get the hotel open by 1990. To buy the project in the first place and to complete the Taj, Trump Casinos began raising money from loans with very high interest rates, what is known as high-yield debt or junk bonds.
Junk bonds are an investment instrument sold to investors seeking high rates of return. They are high risk loans packaged together and so if some loans default and others succeed, the instrument can still return a profit because the interest rates on the loans are so high. Needless to say, they are risky. However, if the companies that the money is loaned to are successful then the loans get repaid along with the interest, earning the investors a high profit return. If the companies fails to meet their obligations though, and the loans default, then the investors risk losing part or all of the money loaned and could earn a negative return on their investment. These junk bonds are generally issued to companies that are in financial distress and while Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts wasn’t at that time – their decision to build on these loans was likely the biggest decision in the company’s history.
The company borrowed $675 million dollars using these junk bonds at a massive 14% interest. This money was used to purchase the Taj Mahal property and was expected to be enough for its completion. However, costs ran even higher and the company had to borrow even more. A financial accountant could tell that the Taj was going to fail… long before Donald Trump would allow the power of that negative thought to even enter in.
Finally, just when it would take only a hair to break the camel’s back. The early 1990s recession hit, making the interest rates and loan repayments untenable. Who would have thought that Donald Trump, ostensibly at the top of the gaming business would risk it all, but suddenly, to almost everybody, it appeared that he had finally sunk his ship.
Over the next few years Trump would watch his empire crumble and this isn’t some cartoon character. This is a real person who went through some of the hardest adversity in business that anyone has known. In 1991, Trump lost the outright ownership of the Taj Mahal having given a 50 percent stake in the business to its bondholders in exchange for lowered interest rates and a longer payoff schedule.
Imagine putting in everything you have all your time, effort and money into something for years. Decades, finally being on top, and then piece by piece it being taken away from you. Nobody cared. In fact, most of the people around him either thought it was funny or were looking for an angle to take a nice wet bite out of what was left of his wallet.
Everybody in the mid-’80s had thought that the American economy was unstoppable and so was Trump. There was confidence in the air at that time like no other and money was falling from the heavens. However, in the end, it seems Trump pushed it too far with the Taj and then it was all over, being taken from him, and there was nothing he could do to stop it.
As you can imagine he experienced personal debt woes in the ’90s and early ’00s. He managed to shake some of it off with debt restructuring and filing for Chapter 11. In the end though, his ownership in Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts was reduced from 56% down to just 27%.
With his real estate business falling apart Trump began to make several appearances as himself on TV. He surprised everyone with how agile he could be in times of crisis, appearing on The Jeffersons, The All New Mickey Mouse Club and Saturday Night Live. Soon it was clear he was becoming a national personality nicknamed “The Donald,” and he continued to appear playing himself in sitcoms and films through the ’90s, even when he was losing major equity in his real estate company.
Then in 2003, he finally became established as a bona fide reality TV star. He became the star of the Mark Burnett created show, The Apprentice. Soon he had American’s from every state tuning in to listen to his confident smooth voice and glean his business acumen. “You’re fired” ended up being one of the most quoted catchphrases in television history and his success on the show even led to a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Not to mention a seven-figure salary.
In 1999, Trump founded T Management or Trump Model Management. A New York City-based modeling agency that managed high-profile models such as Paris Hilton and his eventual wife, Melania Knauss, who became Melania Trump, the first lady of the United States (2017-2021).
The agency was eventually closed by Trump after becoming president and starting in office in 2017. In 1999 Trump raised a glass “To the richest agency” but in April 2017 a letter was sent out explaining Trump Organization’s desire to focus on its core businesses like real estate, golf, and hospitality.
Trump’s involvement with T Management also led him to become the public face of the Miss Universe Organization, producing the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants. Then in 2007, Rosie O’Donnell condemned Trump for allowing troubled winner Tara Connor to retain her crown after she “violated pageant guidelines”. Apparently she was abusing drugs and alcohol. Trump fought back slamming O’Donnell on several TV shows and this turned out to form the beginnings of one of the longest well publicized feuds in American TV history.
In 1977, he married Ivana Zelničkova. Ivana was in New York City with a group of models in 1976 when she first met Donald Trump. As it turned out, not only was she beautiful but she had a business brain on her as well. They went on to have three children together including Ivanka Trump. Eventually, after the Taj fell, and the businesses that Ivana was running also came under distress, the couple separated and finally divorced in 1992.
A year later in 1993, Trump remarried with a woman named Marla Maples. He had one more daughter, Tiffany Trump, but the couple’s romance sputtered and finally broke down. They divorced in 1999. Then in 2004, Trump proposed to the young Slavic beauty Melania Knauss. The couple soon welcomed son Barron Trump in 2006.
In October of 2010, rumors began to spread of a 2012 Presidential run but none materialized. Then in 2016 Trump made it all the way to the White House becoming the 45th President of the United States.
Since his main business is in luxury real estate development, we shouldn’t be surprised that he owns several luxury properties in the US and around the world. His New York City penthouse sitting on the top of one of his skyscrapers, The Trump Tower, has doors decorated with gold and diamonds. Another of his famous luxury homes is Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. He bought it in 1985 for $10 million, approximately $26 million adjusted for inflation. Which is incredible considering it cost $7 million to build in 1927, which is equivalent to $120 million in today’s dollars.
The story goes that it was broken down as $5 million for the mansion house, and $3 million for the lavish furnishings. What’s more, the property comes with 400 feet of beachfront directly across the street, factored in separately to the deal, it cost Trump $2 million.
Another one of Trump’s properties, is a suburban mansion in Bedford, New York. Just one of dozens more luxury properties that Donald Trump owns. Luxury is the base on which the Trump brand is built.
A household name long before Donald reached the white house. It is known all over the world, in fact, the Trump name and brand are so well known that at a certain point in his career, Donald sold many of his properties, invested the money elsewhere and became better known for selling the licensing rights to use of his brand. Even today, one can buy the usages rights to the Trump brand, provided the property lives up to the Trump standards of excellence, luxury and living convenience.
There is nothing wrong with being rich there is only something wrong with being wrongful.
I feel many people don’t really give Trump a fair shake. It’s true there are things he has done that I don’t agree with. A Muslim ban? I also don’t know everything that he has done. I don’t consider him a bad person though. I also think that we knows lots more about him and we should judge everybody by the same standard.
I consider him a person who took opportunities he was born with and made efforts to build businesses and develop real estate. He has been incredibly successful in doing that. He has also been successful on TV and in politics and with women, as well. I consider his success is a major reason for the amount of negative press he is subjected to and negativity directed toward him in general.
“Success. It’s got enemies (Even Robert De Niro). You can be successful and have enemies or you can be unsuccessful and have friends.” Dominic Cattano, American Gangster (2007)