Donald Trump Explained

Donald Trump
Birth Date:14 June 1946
Birth Place:New York City, New York
Occupation:Chief executive officer
Networth:$3 billion (2008)[1]
Alma Mater:University of Pennsylvania
Website:The Trump Organization
Parents:Fred Christ Trump (1905-1999)
Mary A. MacLeod (1912-2000)
Spouse:Ivana Trump (1977-1992)
Marla Maples (1993-1999)
Melania Trump (2005-)
Children:Donald Trump, Jr. (b.1977)
Ivanka Trump (b.1981)
Eric Trump (b.1984)
Tiffany Trump (b.1993)
Barron Trump (b.2006)
Salary:$32 million (2007)

Donald John Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American business magnate, socialite, television personality, and author. He is the Chairman and CEO of the Trump Organization, a US-based real-estate developer. Trump is also the founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts, which operates numerous casinos and hotels across the world. Trump's extravagant lifestyle and outspoken manner have made him a celebrity for years, a status amplified by the success of his NBC reality show, The Apprentice (where he serves as host and executive producer).

Donald was the fourth of five children of Fred Trump, a wealthy real estate developer based in New York City. Donald was strongly influenced by his father in his eventual goals to make a career in real estate development,[2] and upon his graduation from Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1968, Donald Trump joined his father's company, The Trump Organization.

Starting with the renovation of the Commodore Hotel into the Grand Hyatt with the Pritzker family, he continued with Trump Tower in New York City and several other residential projects. Trump would later expand into the airline industry (buying the Eastern Shuttle routes),[3] and Atlantic City casino business, including buying the Taj Mahal Casino from the Crosby family, then taking it into bankruptcy. This expansion, both personal and business, led to mounting debt.[4] Much of the news about him in the early 1990s involved his much publicized financial problems, creditor-led bailout, extramarital affair with Marla Maples, and the resulting divorce from his first wife, Ivana Trump.

The late 1990s saw a resurgence in his financial situation and fame. In 2001, he completed Trump World Tower, a 72-story residential tower across from the United Nations Headquarters.[5] Also, he began construction on Trump Place, a multi-building development along the Hudson River. Trump owns commercial space in Trump International Hotel and Tower, a 44-story mixed-use (hotel and condominium) tower on Columbus Circle. Trump currently owns several million square feet of prime Manhattan real estate,[6] and remains a major figure in the field of real estate in the United States and a celebrity for his prominent media exposures.

Background and education

Donald Trump is the son of Fred Christ Trump (Woodhaven, New York, 11 October 1905  - 25 June 1999) and wife Mary A. MacLeod (Stornoway, Scotland, 10 May 1912  - 7 August 2000), who married in 1936. His paternal grandparents were German immigrants Frederick Trump (Kallstadt, Rheinland-Pfalz, 14 March 1869  - 30 March 1918), who immigrated to the United States in 1885 and became a naturalized US Citizen in 1892. Frederick married his wife, Elisabeth Christ (10 October 1880  - 6 June 1966)[7] at Kallstadt, Rheinland-Pfalz, in 1902.

Trump attended The Kew-Forest School in Forest Hills, Queens, but after trouble there when he was thirteen, his parents sent him to the New York Military Academy hoping to direct his energy and assertiveness in a positive manner.[8] It worked reasonably well: while at NYMA, in upstate NY, Trump earned academic honors, played varsity football in 1962, varsity soccer in 1963, and varsity baseball from '62-64 (baseball captain '64). The baseball coach, Ted Dobias, a local celebrity for his unselfish work with area youth, awarded him the Coach's Award in '64. Promoted to Cadet Captain-S4 (Cadet Battalion Logistics Officer) his Senior Year, Trump, and Cadet First Sergeant Jeff Donaldson, '65, (West Point '69) formed a composite company of cadets, taught them advanced close-order drill, and marched them all down Fifth Avenue on Memorial Day, 1964.

Trump attended Fordham University for two years before transferring to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating in 1968 with a Bachelor of Science in economics and concentration in finance, he joined his father's real estate company.

In his book, Trump: The Art of the Deal, Trump discusses his undergraduate career:

"After I graduated from the New York Military Academy in 1964, I flirted briefly with the idea of attending film school...but in the end I decided real estate was a much better business. I began by attending Fordham University...but after two years, I decided that as long as I had to be in college, I might as well test myself against the best. I applied to the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and I got in...I was also very glad to get finished. I immediately moved back home and went to work full time with my father."


Early success (1968 - 1989)

Trump began his career at his father's company, the Trump Organization, and initially concentrated on his father's preferred field of middle-class rental housing in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. One of Donald's first projects, while he was still in college, was the revitalization of the foreclosed Swifton Village apartment complex in Cincinnati, Ohio--turning a 1200-unit complex with a 66% vacancy rate to 100% occupancy within a year. When the Trump Organization sold Swifton Village for $12 million, they cleared $6 million in profit.

In 1971 Trump moved his residence to Manhattan, where he became convinced of the economic opportunity in the city, specifically large building projects in Manhattan that would offer opportunities for earning high profits, utilizing attractive architectural design, and winning public recognition.[2] Trump began by landing the rights to develop the old Penn Central yards on the West Side, then--with the help of a 40-year tax abatement by the financially strained New York City government, which was eager to give tax concession in exchange for investments at a time of financial crisis--turned the bankrupt Commodore Hotel into a new Grand Hyatt. [9]

He was also instrumental in steering the development of the Javits Convention Center on property he had an option on. The development saga of the Javits Convention Center brought Donald Trump into contact with the New York City government when a project he'd estimated could have been completed by his company for $110 million ended up costing the city between $750 million to $1 billion. He offered to take over the project at cost but the offer was not accepted.[10]

A similar opportunity would arise in the city's attempt to restore the Wollman Rink in Central Park--a project started in 1980 with an expected 2½-year construction schedule that was still, with $12 million spent, nowhere near completion in 1986. Trump offered to take over the job at no charge to the city, an offer that was initially rebuffed until it received much local media attention. Trump was given the job which he completed in six months and with $750,000 of the $3 million budgeted for the project left over.[11]

Financial problems (1989 - 1997)

By 1989, the effects of recession left Trump unable to meet loan payments. Trump financed the construction of his third casino, the $1 billion Taj Mahal, primarily with high-interest junk bonds. Although he shored up his businesses with additional loans and postponed interest payments, by 1991 increasing debt brought Trump to business bankruptcy[4] and the brink of personal bankruptcy. Banks and bond holders had lost hundreds of millions of dollars, but opted to restructure his debt to avoid the risk of losing more money in court. The Taj Mahal re-emerged from bankruptcy on October 5, 1991, with Trump ceding 50% ownership in the casino to the original bondholders in exchange for lowered interest rates on the debt and more time to pay it off.[12] On November 2, 1992, the Trump Plaza Hotel was forced to file a prepackaged Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection plan after being unable to make its debt payments. Under the plan, Trump agreed to give up a 49% stake in the luxury hotel to Citibank and five other lenders. In return Trump would receive more favorable terms on the remaining $550+ million owed to the lenders and retain his position as chief executive, though he would not be paid and would not have a role in day-to-day operations.[13] By 1994, Trump had eliminated a large portion of his $900 million personal debt[14] and reduced significantly his nearly $3.5 billion in business debt. While he was forced to relinquish the Trump Shuttle (which he had bought in 1989), he managed to retain Trump Tower in New York City and control of his three casinos in Atlantic City. Chase Manhattan Bank, which lent Trump the money to buy the West Side yards, his biggest Manhattan parcel, forced the sale of a parcel to Asian developers. According to former members of the Trump Organization, Trump did not retain any ownership of the site's real estate - the owners merely promised to give him about 30 percent of the profits once the site was completely developed or sold. Until that time, the owners wanted to keep Trump on to do what he did best: build things. They gave him a modest construction fee and a management fee to oversee the development. The new owners also allowed him to put his name on the buildings that eventually rose on the yards because his well-known moniker allowed them to charge a premium for their condos.[15] In 1995, he combined his casino holdings into the publicly held Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts. Wall Street drove its stock above $35 in 1996, but by 1998 it had fallen into single digits as the company remained profitless and struggled to pay just the interest on its nearly $3 billion in debt. Under such financial pressure, the properties were unable to make the improvements necessary for keeping up with their flashier competitors. Finally, on October 21, 2004, Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts announced a restructuring of its debt.[16] The plan called for Trump's individual ownership to be reduced from 56 percent to 27 percent, with bondholders receiving stock in exchange for surrendering part of the debt. Since then, Trump Hotels has been forced to seek voluntary bankruptcy protection to stay afloat. After the company applied for Chapter 11 Protection in November 2004, Trump relinquished his CEO position but retained a role as Chairman of the Board. In May 2005[17] the company re-emerged from bankruptcy as Trump Entertainment Resorts Holdings.[18]

Resurgence (1997 - 2007)

Trump has several projects under way. The level of success of the progress of the projects varies. The Trump International Hotel and Tower - Honolulu seems to be a success. According to Trump, buyers paid non-refundable deposits to commit to purchase every unit on the first day they were made available. Construction of the Trump International Hotel and Tower - Chicago seems to be proceeding as planned although 30% of the units remain unsold. The Trump International Hotel and Tower - Toronto has had a series of delays and a height reduction. The Trump Tower - Tampa has been quite controversial because the initial sales were so successful that all deposits were returned to charge a higher price. Three years after construction of this controversial development began, construction has delayed and lawsuits have been filed. In one Trump construction project was put on hold in favor of another (Trump International Hotel and Tower - Fort Lauderdale). Meanwhile, Trump Towers - Atlanta is being developed in a housing market which has the nation's second-highest inventory of unsold homes.[19]

2008 financial crisis

Trump has been caught in the 2008 financial crisis as sales for his Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago have been lagging and he failed to pay a $40m loan to Deutsche Bank in December.[20] Arguing that the crisis is an Act of God, he evoked a clause in the contract to not pay the loan and initiated a countersuit asserting his image has been damaged.[20] Deutsche Bank has in turn noted in court that 'Trump is no stranger to overdue debt' and that he has twice previously filed for bankruptcy with respect to his casino operations.[20]

On 17 February 2009 Trump Entertainment Resorts filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, Mr Trump having stated on February 13 that he would resign from the board.[21]


In its October 7, 2007 Forbes 400 issue, "Acreage Aces," Forbes valued Trump's wealth to $3.0 billion. Trump is known for his many properties.

Selected completed properties

Real Estate Licensing

Many developers pay Donald Trump to market their properties and be the public face for their projects. For that reason, Trump does not own many of the buildings that display his name. According to Forbes, this portion of Trump's empire, actually run by his children, is by far his most valuable with a valuation of $562 million. According to Forbes, there are 33 licensing projects under development including seven "condo hotels" (i.e. The seven Trump International Hotel and Tower developments). Some examples are:

In the media

Donald Trump, a two-time Emmy Award-nominated personality, has made appearances as a caricatured version of himself in television series and films (e.g. , The Nanny, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Days of our Lives), and as a character (The Little Rascals.) He has been the subject of comedians, flash cartoon artists, and online caricature artists. In addition to the aforementioned forms of media he has appeared on, he has been a guest on various talk shows and other media.

In 2003, Trump became the executive producer and host of the NBC reality show, The Apprentice, in which a group of competitors battled for a high-level management job in one of Trump's commercial enterprises. The other contestants were "fired," or eliminated, from the game. At the end of each episode, Trump eliminates at least one contestant while uttering the catchphrase "You're fired." For the first year of the show Trump was paid $50,000 per episode (roughly $700,000 for the first season), but following the show's initial success, he is now paid a reported $3 million per episode, making him one of the highest paid TV personalities. In 2004, Donald Trump filed a trademark application for the phrase "You're fired," which he had popularized on the show.

In December 2006, talk show host Rosie O'Donnell criticized Trump on The View for "acting as a moral compass for 20-year-olds" after giving a second chance to Miss USA, Tara Conner, who had violated pageant guidelines by partying and drinking. Trump, who owns the rights to the pageant, decided to let Conner retain the Miss USA crown while she pursued rehabilitation. A tabloid war raged for several weeks thereafter between the two celebrities.[23]

In 2007, Trump received an honor for his contribution of The Apprentice to television by receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In October 2007, Trump appeared on Larry King Live and delivered a strong criticism of then-United States President George W. Bush, particularly concerning the Iraq War. He also predicted that Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton would win the Republican and Democratic Presidential nominations, respectively, and said that he would be very supportive of either of them being elected President. He made further statements about the issue on the The Situation Room, in which he said "anybody who wants more troops in Iraq, I don't feel can win an election" as Rudy Giuliani supports that position. On the same show, he was also critical of the public perception of Angelina Jolie as a grand beauty.[24]

On Sept 17, 2008 Trump officially endorsed John McCain for U.S. Presidency on Larry King Live show.[25]

Other ventures

The Miss Universe Organization is owned by Donald Trump and the National Broadcasting Company (NBC). The organization produces the Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA pageants.

Other investments include a 17.2% stake in Parker Adnan, Inc. (formerly AdnanCo Group), a Bermuda-based financial services holdings company. In late 2003, Trump, along with his siblings, sold their late father's real estate empire to a group of investors that included Bain Capital, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, and LamboNuni Bank reportedly for $600 million. Donald Trump's 1/3 share was $200 million, which he later used to finance Trump Casino & Resorts.

With his success in real estate and television, Trump has succeeded in marketing the Trump name on a large number of products. These products include Trump Financial (a mortgage firm), Trump Sales and Leasing (residential sales), Trump University (a business education company), Trump Restaurants (Located in Trump Tower and consisting of Trump Buffet, Trump Catering, Trump Ice Cream Parlor, and Trump Bar), GoTrump (an online travel website), Donald J. Trump Signature Collection (a line of menswear, men's accessories, and watches), Donald Trump The Fragrance (2004), Trump Ice bottled water, Trump Magazine, Trump Golf, Trump Institute, Trump The Game (1989 Board Game), Trump Vodka, and Trump Steaks. In addition, Trump reportedly receives $1.5 million for each one hour presentation he does for the The Learning Annex.[26]

Trump is a known World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) fan. He has hosted two WrestleMania events in the Trump Plaza and has been an active participant in several of the shows. Trump's Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City was host to the 1991 WBF Championship (which was owned by WWE, known at the time as the "World Wrestling Federation.") He also appeared at WrestleMania 23 in the corner of Bobby Lashley who competed against Umaga with Vince McMahon in his corner, in a hair versus hair match, with either Trump or McMahon having their head shaved if their competitor lost. Lashley won the match, and he and Trump both proceeded to shave McMahon bald. Trump was also involved with the old USFL, a competitor to the NFL, as owner of the New Jersey Generals. In addition, Trump at one time acted as a financial advisor for Mike Tyson and hosted Tyson's fight against Michael Spinks in Atlantic City.

In the 2000 election, Donald Trump considered running for president as a member of the Reform party.

Instituted by Ronna Mee Brand, the Donald J. Trump Award honors and recognizes individuals who make a significant impact on the evolution, development and perpetuation of real estate throughout Greater Los Angeles.

The second annual Donald J. Trump Award was presented December 6, 2007 at the Beverly Hilton, International Ballroom. Tom Gilmore, the first recipient, presented the award to Michael Koss. Donald Trump congratulated Mr. Koss via video broadcast.

Golf course

Trump testified in June 2008, as first witness at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) inquiry (ordered by Scottish ministers) after an Aberdeenshire Council committee denied his plans to build a £1billion golf resort north of Aberdeen, at the Menie Estate. Environmental groups and local campaigners opposed the bid in which part of the course would be built on sand dunes that are a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), though business leaders supported the would-be golf course.[27] Trump stated the site "had the potential to be the greatest golf course in the world."[28]

Personal life

Donald Trump is popularly known as The Donald, a nickname given to him by the media after his ex-wife Ivana Trump, a native of the Czech Republic referred to him as such in an interview.[29] He is also known for his catchphrase, "You're Fired", made popular by his television series The Apprentice. Trump is known for his distinctive hairstyle, which he has refused to change throughout his career.


Trump's mother Mary Anne was born on the Isle of Lewis. She left Tong, Scotland in 1930 aged 18 for a holiday in New York, met a local builder, and stayed. Born in, United States, Trump has four siblings - two brothers (Fred Jr., who is deceased, and Robert) and two sisters (Maryanne and Elizabeth). His older sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, is a federal appeals court judge and the mother of David Desmond, who is a neuropsychologist and writer.

In 1977, Trump married Ivana Zelničkova (later Ivana Trump) and together they have three children: Donald, Jr. (born December 31, 1977), Ivanka, (born October 30, 1981), and Eric (born January 6, 1984). They were divorced in 1992. In 1993, he married Marla Maples and together they had one child, Tiffany, (born October 13, 1993). They divorced on June 8, 1999. In a February 2008 interview on ABC's Nightline Trump commented on his ex-wives by saying, "I just know it's very hard for them (Ivana and Marla) to compete because I do love what I do. I really love it." On April 26, 2004, he proposed to Melania Knauss (Melanija Knavs in Slovenian, later Melania Knauss-Trump) from Slovenia. Trump and Knauss (who is 24 years Trump's junior) married on January 22, 2005, at Bethesda by the Sea Episcopal Church on the island of Palm Beach, Florida, followed by a reception at Trump's Mar-A-Lago estate. Neither Melania nor Trump is an Episcopalian.[30] Melania gave birth to a boy named Barron William Trump, Trump's fifth child, on March 20, 2006. He was christened at the same church as his parents were married. Trump became a grandfather for the first time on May 12, 2007, when son Donald Jr. and his wife Vanessa welcomed a daughter named Kai Madison.[31] Trump recently became a grandfather of two after Donald Jr. and Vanessa had their second child and first son, Donald John Trump III, who was born on February 18th, 2009.[32]


Trump is an enthusiastic golfer, with a low single-figure handicap. He is a member of the Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, and also plays regularly at the other courses he owns and operates.[33]


Trump has authored many books including:

Further reading

External links

Notes and References

  1. Web site: Forbes.
    1. 368 Donald Trump
    . 2008-05-22.
  2. Web site: Donald(John) Trump biography. 2008-07-06.
  3. Web site: The Washington Post. The Art of the Greater Fool: How the Shuttle Business Got Grounded. 2008-05-22.
  4. Web site: Trump Trips Up. 1991-05-06. Time. 2008-05-22.
  5. Web site: Emporis. Trump World Tower. 2008-05-22.
  6. Web site: Forbes. What is Trump Worth?. 2008-07-04.
  7. Web site: 2008-05-22. Ancestry of Donald Trump. WARGS.
  8. Web site: 2008-05-22. THE EMPIRE AND EGO OF DONALD TRUMP. The New York Times. 1983-08-07. Bender, Marylin.
  9. Web site: The New York Time on the Web. The House that Fred Built. 2008-07-06.
  10. Web site: The New York Sun. No Stadium Needed. 2008-05-22.
  11. Web site: The Philadelphia Inquirer. FASTER AND CHEAPER, TRUMP FINISHES N.Y.C. ICE RINK. 2008-05-22.
  12. Web site: The New York Times. Taj Mahal is out of Bankruptcy. 2008-05-22.
  13. Web site: The New York Times. Trump Plaza Hotel Bankruptcy Plan Approved. 2008-05-22.
  14. Web site: Magazine USA. Donald Trump. 2008-05-22.
  15. Web site: What's He Really Worth. NY Times. 2005-10-23. 2008-07-04.
  16. Web site: Trump casinos file for bankruptcy. MSNBC. 2004-11-22. 2008-05-22.
  17. Web site: COMPANY NEWS; TRUMP DELAYS EMERGENCE FROM BANKRUPTCY BY A WEEK. New York Times. 2005-05-05. 2008-05-22.
  18. Web site: Indiana Gaming Commission. Indiana Gaming Commission on Trump Resorts' Bankruptcy. PDF. 2007-06-27. 2007-07-07.
  19. Web site: Stalled Condo Projects Tarnish Trump's Name. Dow Jones & Company. 2008-05-22. 2007-11-16.
  20. Floyd Morris. Trump Sees Act of God in Recession. December 4,2008.
  21. Reuters: Trump Entertainment files for bankruptcy
  22. Web site: 2005-09-21. Trump's tall plan for Jersey City. JCEDC. 2007-07-07.
  23. News: Dagostino, Mark; Orloff, Brian. Rosie Slams Trump, The Donald Fires Back. People. 2006-12-20. 2007-07-07.
  24. Web site: CNN LARRY KING LIVE: Interview With Donald Trump. 2008-05-22. 2007-10-15. CNN.
  25. Web site: Trump down on economy, up on McCain. 2008-09-20. 2008-09-18. Cable News Network.
  26. Web site: NY Daily News. THAT'S RICH! THE DONALD CASH ADVICE COSTS 1.5M. 2008-07-04.
  27., Trump £1bn golf inquiry tees off
  28., Tycoon’s actions critical to outcome
  29. Web site: The New York Observer. Trump vs Trump in Battle of the Exes. 2008-05-22.
  30. Web site: 2008-05-22. Donald Trump, Settling Down. The Washington Post. 2005-01-27. Brown, Tina.
  33. The Thistle and the Bee. Shoumatoff, Alex. Vanity Fair. May. 2008. 188–204.