Saturday, September 30, 2017

What the emperor did for Puerto Rico

Bankruptcy photo, via CNN Money.
It is totally unfair, as the Washington Post fact checkers say ("Three Pinocchios", though PolitiFact gives it a less dismissive "Half-True"), to suggest that Donald Trump is in any way responsible for the $33 million added to Puerto Rico's debt by the failure of the Trump International Golf Club Puerto Rico (formerly known as the Coco Beach Golf and Country Club).

The worst you can say is that he took something north of $600,000 ($600K for the first five years of the deal), or "many millions" according to Eric Trump,  to rescue Puerto Rico from the debt, without doing a goddamned thing, in spite of his promises that he would be "very actively involved" and substantially invested financially.
“Puerto Rico is a fantastic place and deserves the best, which is what we will deliver,” Trump said at a 2008 news conference on the island. “Every detail will be important to me.”
Eric Trump, appearing at the same news conference, said that the Trumps would be “very actively involved in this development at all levels” and that they had “a very substantial equity contribution” in the project.
But public records filed as part of the bankruptcy show that the Trumps had no equity in the property.
Instead, records show that Trump and the local owners had a deal providing Trump with 12.5 percent of annual profits and 4 percent of annual operating revenue in exchange for the Trump Organization serving as manager of the golf facilities. That meant that even if the golf course lost money, a portion of revenue would still flow to Trump.
Asked in an interview this week to explain why he said the Trumps held equity when they did not, Eric Trump said the initial plan was to invest.
“There was a time when we intended to buy up units there,” he said. “But deals can change over time, and over nine years they can change substantially.... We made many millions of dollars on it but never invested a dime.”
He merely told them his incredible Trumpian skill would save them from bankruptcy, rented them his five favorite capital letters at the steepest price he could get, and claimed $927,000 in unpaid fees when it was over.

Afterthought: Does Trump punish people for being associated with his failures? From Puerto Rico to the NFL—as owner of the short-lived United States Football League's New Jersey Generals, he persuaded the league in 1985 to switch from playing in spring to playing a fall season, competing directly against the NFL, in the hope of getting the NFL to purchase teams from them and the move was an utter failure, so they tried suing the NFL for unfair competition and won a judgment of $1 (tripled by anti-trust rules to $3) and that was the end of the league. Hillary Clinton over his desperate attempt to get into Chelsea's 2010 wedding, Barack Obama for his black-tie humiliation at the 2011 WHCD. And former secretary Tom Price, who failed to get him his health care victory, after all Trump had done for him—

If a hurricane hits Atlantic City while he's president, God forbid, we'll be able to find out for sure.

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