Until the election, we're bringing you "The Trump Files," a daily dose of telling episodes, strange but true stories, or curious scenes from the life of presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.
Donald Trump's move into the Atlantic City casino business in the early 1980s meant he had to open up his books to New Jersey's Casino Control Commission, which investigated potential new casino operators for red flags like legal issues or mob ties. The process could take up to 18 months, but Trump didn't have the patience to sit through it.
In The Art of the Deal, Trump's 1987 bestseller, Trump described how he met with New Jersey officials in February 1981 and demanded his investigation last only six months (another account by reporter Wayne Barrett claims he asked for a three-month completion). If it didn't, Trump warned that he would drop his casino plans. That threat was apparently enough for John Degnan, the state's attorney general, to cave. "If you cooperate fully, we'll give you an answer one way or the other in six months," he said, according to Trump's book—and pushed the casino commission's director to agree.
The state lived up to its six-month timeframe, but Trump didn't exactly hold up his end of the bargain. The Casino Commission's forms required Trump and other would-be casino owners to list any times they were the subject of government investigations "for any reason." But, as investigative journalist David Cay Johnston writes in his new book, The Making of Donald Trump, Trump failed to list four separate government probes into his business dealings. And while three of those investigations hadn't resulted in charges, the fourth was the Department of Justice's huge 1973 lawsuit that accused Trump's management company of blocking black families from renting apartments in Trump-owned buildings. That case made headlines in New York—especially when Trump countersued the government for $100 million—and ended with the company agreeing to a range of anti-discrimination measures.
Johnston points out that Trump lied about the case in another section of the application as well. "Casino owner applicants were asked about being accused of any civil misconduct, which would include racial discrimination in housing," Johnston writes. "Trump checked the 'no' box."
Those omissions should have prevented Trump from getting approval for his casino. The cover of the application, Johnston writes, carried an all-caps warning that "FAILURE TO ANSWER ANY QUESTION COMPLETELY AND TRUTHFULLY WILL RESULT IN DENIAL OF YOUR LICENSE APPLICATION." Instead, Trump apparently later "volunteered" the missing information during an interview with the New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement, according to Wayne Barrett. Trump passed his abbreviated investigation despite the evidence of deception. According to Johnston, "it was an early sign of what two Casino Control commissioners would later say was a pattern of [Department of Gaming Enforcement] favoritism to Trump."
Read the rest of "The Trump Files":
- Trump Files #1: The Time Andrew Dice Clay Thanked Donald for the Hookers
- Trump Files #2: When Donald Tried to Stop Charlie Sheen's Marriage to Brooke Mueller
- Trump Files #3: The Brief Life of the "Trump Chateau for the Indigent"
- Trump Files #4: Donald Thinks Asbestos Fears Are a Mob Conspiracy
- Trump Files #5: Donald's Nuclear Negotiating Fantasy
- Trump Files #6: Donald Wants a Powerball for Spies
- Trump Files #7: Donald Gets An Allowance
- Trump Files #8: The Time He Went Bananas on a Water Cooler
- Trump Files #9: The Great Geico Boycott
- Trump Files #10: Donald Trump, Tax-Hike Crusader
- Trump Files #11: Watch Donald Trump Say He Would Have Done Better as a Black Man
- Trump Files #12: Donald Can't Multiply 17 and 6
- Trump Files #13: Watch Donald Sing the "Green Acres" Theme Song in Overalls
- Trump Files #14: The Time Donald Trump Pulled Over His Limo to Stop a Beating
- Trump Files #15: When Donald Wanted to Help the Clintons Buy Their House
- Trump Files #16: He Once Forced a Small Business to Pay Him Royalties for Using the Word "Trump"
- Trump Files #17: He Dumped Wine on an "Unattractive Reporter"
- Trump Files #18: Behold the Hideous Statue He Wanted to Erect In Manhattan
- Trump Files #19: When Donald Was "Principal for a Day" and Confronted by a Fifth-Grader
- Trump Files #20: In 2012, Trump Begged GOP Presidential Candidates to Be Civil
- Trump Files #21: When Donald Couldn't Tell the Difference Between Gorbachev and an Impersonator
- Trump Files #22: His Football Team Treated Its Cheerleaders "Like Hookers"
- Trump Files #23: The Trump Files: Donald Tried to Shut Down a Bike Race Named "Rump"
- Trump Files #24: When Donald Called Out Pat Buchanan for Bigotry
- Trump Files #25: Donald's Most Ridiculous Appearance on Howard Stern's Show
- Trump Files #26: How Donald Tricked New York Into Giving Him His First Huge Deal
- Trump Files #27: Donald Told Congress the Reagan Tax Cuts Were Terrible
- Trump Files #28: When Donald Destroyed Historic Art to Build Trump Tower
- Trump Files #29: Donald Wanted to Build an Insane Castle on Madison Avenue
- Trump Files #30: Donald's Near-Death Experience (That He Invented)
- Trump Files #31: When Donald Struck Oil on the Upper West Side
- Trump Files #32: When Donald Massacred Trees in the Trump Tower Lobby
- Trump Files #33: When Donald Demanded Other People Pay for His Overpriced Quarterback
- Trump Files #34: The Time Donald Sued Someone Who Made Fun of Him for $500 Million
- Trump Files #35: Donald Tried to Make His Ghostwriter Pay for His Book Party
- Trump Files #36: Watch Donald Shave a Man's Head on Television
- Trump Files #37: How Donald Helped Make It Harder to Get Football Tickets
- Trump Files #38: Donald Was Curious About His Baby Daughter's Breasts
- Trump Files #39: When Democrats Courted Donald
- Trump Files #40: Watch the Trump Vodka Ad Designed for a Russian Audience
- Trump Files #41: Donald's Cologne Smelled of Jamba Juice and Strip Clubs
- Trump Files #42: Donald Sued Other People Named Trump for Using Their Own Name
- Trump Files #43: Donald Thinks Asbestos Would Have Saved the Twin Towers
- Trump Files #44: Why Donald Threw a Fit Over His "Trump Tree" in Central Park
- Trump Files #45: Watch Trump Endorse Slim Shady for President
- Trump Files #46: The Easiest 13 Cents He Ever Made
- Trump Files #47: The Time Donald Burned a Widow's Mortgage
- Trump Files #48: Donald's Recurring Sex Dreams
- Trump Files #49: Trump's Epic Insult Fight With Ed Koch
- Trump Files #50: Donald Has Some Advice for Citizen Kane
- Trump Files #51: Donald Once Turned Down a Million-Dollar Bet on "Trump: The Game"
- Trump Files #52: When Donald Tried to Shake Down Mike Tyson for $2 Million
- Trump Files #53: Donald and Melania's Creepy, Sex-Filled Interview With Howard Stern
- Trump Files #54: Donald's Mega-Yacht Wasn't Big Enough For Him
- Trump Files #55: When Donald Got Into a Fight With Martha Stewart
- Trump Files #56: Donald Reenacts an Iconic Scene From "Top Gun"