Donald Trump sells his casino for a song

The Donald's departure, the new ownership at Trump Plaza and the return of Miss America could end the slumping gaming mecca's losing streak.

By Jason Notte Feb 15, 2013 2:10PM
Credit: Donna Ward/Getty Images
Caption: Donald Trump leaves 'The Late Show with David Letterman' at Ed Sullivan Theater on October 25, 2012Donald Trump is slowly clearing out of town just as Miss America returns. You'll pardon Atlantic City, N.J., if it sees both as positive developments.

Trump Plaza, the casino Trump opened in 1984 by spending to $210 million to hitch a tower to an abandoned Holiday Inn on the boardwalk and deck out the whole thing, was sold to the Meruelo Group for a scant $20 million. It's the lowest price ever paid for a casino in Atlantic City and will only put a slight dent in the $270 million debt of parent company Trump Entertainment Resorts, which Donald Trump only has a 10% stake in.

Coupled with the announcement that the Miss America pageant will come back to Atlantic City after six years in Las Vegas, it was a double dose of good news for a town badly in need of some.

Hurricane Sandy ripped into the boardwalk and shuttered casinos for nearly a week. Gambling revenue has declined from its peak of $5 billion in 2006 to just $3.1 billion last year as casinos in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Connecticut took larger pieces of the action. In 2012, Pennsylvania's $3.2 billion in gaming revenue eclipsed New Jersey's for the first time and moved the Keystone State into second place behind Nevada's more than $10 billion, according to The Press Of Atlantic City.

So how is the bargain-basement sale of a casino good news for the town? Just ask the Trump Plaza's workers, who like the look of what the Meruelo Group's Grand Sierra Resort and Casino in Reno, Nev.

"Because of Trump Entertainment's problems, they really weren't able to run (Trump Plaza) the way it needed to be run," Bob McDevitt, president of Local 54 of the Unite-HERE union representing most of the casino's 900 workers, told The Associated Press. "It's been in hibernation."

Trump himself doesn't seem too fazed by the sale, despite the fact that the casino went for the cost of a story of any of the tower properties in his portfolio. The price is also only about twice what he paid for his sprawling Mar-A-Lago estate in Palm Beach in 1985 and may not be far from what he spent to gild his Trump Tower penthouse in Manhattan that was featured in Refinery 29 a year ago.

"There was a period of time when Atlantic City was the hottest place in the world," Trump told AP. "I got out years ago, and my timing was very good. But the world turns. They're getting a very good location."

Even Robert Griffin, the CEO of Trump Entertainment Resorts who sold off Atlantic City's Trump Marina in 2011 for $38 million and is listening to offers for his company's last Atlantic City property -- the Trump Taj Mahal -- sees the Plaza's sale as a positive development “for the city, the state and The Plaza” that shows “considerable interest in this market.”

It would be tough for it to get any worse for the Plaza, which was one of the smallest casinos in Atlantic City at 906 rooms and whose $102 million in revenue in 2012 is what Atlantic City's top casino makes in its two strongest months. Winnings were down 25% last year and profits cratered by 34%. The place could use some good luck, and some new faces paying the bills may be just what the Plaza needs to stop its losing streak.

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Feb 15, 2013 5:19PM
We stayed there once and it was a dump.   Some of the elevators didn't work and you could hardly see out the windows they were so filthy.
Feb 15, 2013 5:18PM
Anyone dealing with Tramp, is getting the  "fart of the deal.."
Feb 15, 2013 5:16PM
Anyone who can make that many millions is no idiot. Trump is a lot smarter than the people who elected you know who!
Feb 15, 2013 5:04PM
Just more proof that Donald's mother was an Orangutan.
Feb 15, 2013 5:00PM

Obama has turned a 9 trillion dollar deficit into a 16 trillion dollar one in a little over 4 years--------by the end

of his second term it will be probably 22 trillion or so-------------- I think I might take Trump and let Odumbo

run his other properties///////////////////////////

Feb 15, 2013 4:51PM


Isn't this looser that same Republican second guesser who pitched himself as a business man who has the answer to our countries financial problems. This loud mouth wacko with several bankruptcies under his belt sure knows how to make a buck. It isn't just anyone who can buy for 270 million then turn around and re-sell for 20 million. This guy really knows his stuff, if you don't believe it just ask him.

Feb 15, 2013 4:45PM
“Donald Trump, who has driven well past the last exit to relevance and peered into something closer to irresponsible here, is tweeting tonight."
Feb 15, 2013 4:39PM

Bankruptcy - the only thing Trump does well.

Feb 15, 2013 4:39PM
270 million to 20 million. Through depreciation he didnt lose, but certainly didnt make anything. This type of of finacial foresight and management is why he should be President of the United States. It would be a finacial improvement over the current one.
Feb 15, 2013 4:36PM
I would take a dead Trump over an imposter, never worked a day in his life , fictitious character with 4 alias's and 16 SS #'s ANYDAY
Feb 15, 2013 4:35PM

"There was a period of time when Atlantic City was the hottest place in the world"


No there was not--ever---not since they created monopoly

Feb 15, 2013 4:33PM
YES, we need more deadbeats on the dole, more beggars, more freebies and LARGER GOV !
And --the  Race card ?
What's that ?
Can't challenge this step n fetch it, because that would be the R word!

“Freed Slave” Sheila Jackson Lee: Spending Cuts Will Enslave America
Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat Representative from Texas’s 18th district, said that if Congress doesn’t “come together” to stop the sequester, they won’t be able to “” from slavery:

“[Y]esterday was the official birthday of President Lincoln, February 12th, and although it was a tragic time in our history, I can assure you that it showed the greatest promise of America when people could come together and do something great. I stand here as a freed slave because this congress came together. Are we going to be able to do it today to free America?”

Believe it or not, she was talking in the context of spending cuts, because reducing the size of government is tantamount to enslaving America again. The more the government spends, the more “free” America is.

Obama read from his teleprompter during the SOTU address and said that the upcoming sequestration cuts were “sudden, harsh and arbitrary.” He stated that the cuts would devastate important government functions and destroy hundreds of thousands of .

If the sequestration cuts do occur, they would total about $44 billion, which is 1.2% of 2013 spending, according to a . That’s less than pocket change to a government that spends on the order of $9.7 billion per day. That $44 billion would be eaten up in less than 1 business week. Four and a half days to be exact.

In short, these sequestration cuts are nothing. Nothing compared to what needs to happen and what will eventually happen if the government continues to spend willy-nilly. They have pretty much all the revenue they’re going to get from taxes, and they still manage to have a trillion-dollar deficit. Spending cuts have to happen.

If we had a white, Republican president who was opposed to spending cuts, Sheila Jackson Lee would be on the House floor saying that we need to go through with these sequestration cuts in order to “free America.” It’s like when Obama was a U.S. senator during the Bush administration. He was critical of Bush’s debt accrual and deficit and was opposed to raising the , calling those things “unpatriotic” and “irresponsible.” But, now that he’s president, he’s put aside such childish ways and can run up deficits, add trillions of dollars to the , raise the debt ceiling, and it’s OK.

And Sheila Jackson Lee is right there by his side saying that anyone who opposes wasteful government spending must want slavery again, and that the only way to “free” Americans is to make government bigger and more powerful. Thanks to people like Jackson Lee, we have a nation of government slaves, but in her world, slavery is freedom.

Feb 15, 2013 4:31PM
who is he kidding big tax right off as a lost 
Feb 15, 2013 4:29PM

Trump is a fossil with fake hair, fake tan and basically just phony personality. He needs a whole life make-over. Please disappear and save us for once and for all.

Feb 15, 2013 4:07PM
i thought this was the man who wrote the book "the art of the steal".
looks like he got pick-pocketed himself.

this joke of a man, along with his silver spooned kids, needs to just go away!

Feb 15, 2013 3:57PM
Another smart Republican.It must be that birther Obama`s fault.
Feb 15, 2013 3:53PM
i use to like the guy before he started making him self look so stupid,he should really use some of that money to fix his face,i dont see business men like worren buffett and bill gates acting so stupid in public,i will never go to any of his crapy casinos,i hope they all go bankrupt.
Feb 15, 2013 3:45PM
Careful Republicans... the chump that is Trump could be foretelling the obvious... that you can only be a complete a-hole so long, then you exit the game a loser. To sell and have cash just as the whole thing crashes is pretty lame. Then again... he could double his lameness and buy into gold, guns and ammo just as all three of these get slammo-d.
Feb 15, 2013 3:41PM
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