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How Often Has Donald Trump Declared Bankruptcy?

Donald Trump’s business record seems riddled with unfortunate events. Despite never having filed for personal bankruptcy, reports state that he filed for business bankruptcy at least four times. But, according to Trump, businesses file for bankruptcy often, and it was a financially intelligent move. He added that “hundreds of companies” have done the same thing he did.

Trump Has Filed For Six Business Bankruptcies

Trump, however,  filed for bankruptcy regarding these companies:

  • The Trump Taj Mahal in 1991 — Trump financed the completion of the Taj Mahal casino construction with $675 million in junk bonds at 14 percent interest. In 1992, the casino was in debt by $3 billion. Trump ended up owing approximately $900 million in personal liabilities. To keep the casino open, Trump made a deal with lenders by giving up his half of ownership and equity in the entity. He sold his airplane and his 220-foot yacht and agreed to a bank-set limit on his spending if he would lower the interest rate and have more time to make his loan payments.
  • Trump Castle Hotel & Casino in 1992 and Trump Plaza Casino 1992 — In less than a year, Trump filed for Chapter 11 protection for two more Atlantic City hotel-casinos. Trump was unable to make the principle and interest payments on bonds. At this point, the Taj Mahal was competing with the hotel-casinos Trump Plaza ($550 million in debt) and Trump’s Castle ($338 million in debt). Trump forfeited a 50 percent share in exchange for better terms on the money he owed.
  • Trump Plaza Hotel 1992 — This was the year that Trump filed for bankruptcy protection over the Trump Plaza Hotel. Trump gave up his 49 percent stake in the property to secure better terms from lenders on the hotel’s debt of over $550 million.
  • Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts in 2004 — At this time, Trump had already consolidated his three casinos, and some other properties, under one company. In 2004, He sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the entity and filed in the area of $1.8 billion of debt. Once more, Trump’s ownership was lessened from 47 percent to 27 percent so that he could get more favorable terms from lenders.
  • Trump Entertainment Resorts in 2009 — Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts were renamed Trump Entertainment Resorts (TER) after the 2004 bankruptcy. In 2009, TER filed for Chapter 11  with a debt of $1.2 billion. Trump reduced his ownership to 10 percent and resigned as chairman of the board.

Critics cite that the Trump corporate bankruptcies are examples of his inability to manage, his recklessness, and poor business acumen. Trump answers that criticism by stating he has used federal laws to protect his business interests. This idea is an example, he says, of his business insight and outstanding intelligence. Trump stated in August 2015:

“I have used the laws of this country just like the greatest people that you read about every day in business have used the laws of this country, the chapter laws, to do a great job for my company, my employees, myself and my family.”

In reporting from the New York Times, in 2016, Trump put up a small amount of his own money, moved personal debts to the casinos, and was awarded millions of dollars in salary, payments, and bonuses. The Times countered by sharing that the burden of his failures fell on the investors and those who bought into his business acumen self-assessment.

Three of the casino-related bankruptcies came about during the time of the early 1990s recession and the Gulf War crisis. Both of these situations made keeping Atlantic City, New Jersey gambling facilities face some hard times. At about this same time, Trump entered into a project that involved a Manhattan hotel and two casino holding companies.

Additional Trump Business Failures

All the following projects created by Trump failed but did not result in bankruptcies, although those who spent money on some of these products were sorry they had participated.:

1. Trumped!

A syndicated radio spot

2. Trump Steaks

T-bones to eat at home that tasted as good as the ones he served in his restaurants

3. Trump Network

Nutritional supplements

4. GoTrump

Online travel site

5. Tour de Trump

Bicycle race

6. Trump Airlines

7. Trump Vodka

8. The New Jersey Generals

Pro football team

9. Trump Mortgage

10. Trump: The Game

11. Trump Magazine

12. Trump Ice

Bottled water

13. Trump University

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