The Real Deal New York

How the Donald came back from the financial brink

Trump negotiated five-year plan with creditors holding $2.1 billion in debt

January 04, 2016 01:35PM

Trump Taj Mahal

From left: the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City and Donald Trump

For a man who flaunts his successes as worthy of the role of commander-in-chief, Donald Trump came perilously close to being the king of nothing.

In 1990, Trump and his companies owed $3.4 billion to creditors and couldn’t make the payments – leaving the developer’s hotels, casinos and other assets at risk of seizure. Even worse, $830 million of that debt carried his personal guarantee, making Trump at risk of personal bankruptcy.

But he survived, as the Wall Street Journal reports in a feature on Trump’s early-1990s low point and how he was able to bounce back. He was helped, in part, by the realization among creditors that Trump was worth more to them financially alive than dead – not to mention the developer’s charisma.

A global group of creditors holding $2.1 billion of debt, mostly on Trump’s New York properties, agreed to a complex plan in 1990 that gave the magnate five years to work his way out of the financial pickle.

Trump also drew money out of his casino empire and moved it over to other struggling properties, while getting all three of his casinos out of bankruptcy by 1993.

In the end, it worked – with Trump taking more than $160 million out of Atlantic City between 1990 and 1996 through fees and payouts, the Journal reports. [WSJ]Rey Mashayekhi