Here in ~, we"ve to be tracking Donald Trump"s wealth since the inaugural 400 wealthy list in 1982. Today, we worth him at $2.7 billion, although he claims he"s worth much more. One inquiry we"re frequently asked as soon as talk transforms to Trump"s fortune: how deserve to a guy who has been bankrupt so numerous times stay a multi-billionaire? how is that worth an ext now, post-bankruptcies? us spoke come bankruptcy lawyers and also casino industry experts -- several of whom have had firsthand authorized in chapter 11 cases linked to trump -- in an attempt to define how he has actually survived this firm bankruptcies and also thrived in the aftermath.

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1. It"s nothing personal...

First things first: Donald Trump has filed because that corporate bankruptcy 4 times, in 1991, 1992, 2004 and 2009. Every one of these bankruptcies were linked to over-leveraged casino and hotel nature in Atlantic City, all of which are now operated under the banner of trump Entertainment Resorts. He has never filed for personal bankruptcy -- an essential distinction as soon as considering his capacity to emerge reasonably unscathed, at least financially.

"Corporations, limited partnerships, and LLCs in i beg your pardon he had an ownership interest or service providers that had actually his surname attached have filed because that bankruptcy," said Michael Viscount of Atlantic City law firm Fox Rothschild LLP, who represented unsecured creditors as soon as Trump many hotels & Casino Resorts, as it was then called, filed because that Chapter 11 security in 2004. "Therein lies the huge distinction.”

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He did take it a an individual hit the first time around: he"d financed the building and construction of the trumped Taj Mahal through junk bonds and also was unable to salary the high interest. His organization was in the red, and so was he, to the song of about $900 million in personal debt. By the mid-90s, he"d decreased most of the debt, marketing his trump Princess yacht, his Trump shuttle airline, and his stake in a grasp of other businesses. An ext importantly, he stopped guaranteeing debt v his very own wealth. "The first bankruptcy was the only time his personal fortune was at stake," claimed Ted Connolly, a Boston bankruptcy lawyer who supplied Trump as design for obtaining out of blame in his book The roadway Out of Debt: Bankruptcy and also Other options to your Financial Problems. "He learned indigenous it. He"s insulated."

2."s simply business.

Trump has actually never apologized for utilizing Chapter 11 as a service tool -- indeed, once he speak to my partner Keren Blankfeld recently, he noted that countless "great entrepreneurs" have used bankruptcy to restructure debt, cost-free up capital and improve their businesses.

"I’ve reduced debt -- by the way, this isn’t me personally, it’s a company," trumped said. "Basically I’ve offered the laws of the country to my benefit and to other people’s benefit just together Leon black has, Carl Icahn, Henry Kravis has, simply as many, numerous others on optimal of the organization world have."

But to those uninitiated in bankruptcy laws, 4 instances of that company bankruptcy in a row deserve to seem staggering. "To the ordinary human in the street, it might seem surprising, but certainly no to me," claimed Reed Smith companion Michael Venditto, who has actually represented client in high profile thing 11 cases, including bankrupt airline TWA. "Chapter 11 is how you reshape and also restructure a agency that has actually problems. The doesn"t suggest anything nefarious or even bad management."

3. It"s much better than the alternative.

More important, stated Venditto, space the repercussions Chapter 11 might have for creditor versus, say, liquidation. "You have the right to have a visceral reaction come the fact that this firm has gone v Chapter 11 many times, but the bondholders look in ~ it and the options are much, lot worse. What is an north casino sitting on the Atlantic City boardwalk worth? If it"s operating and it"s got cash flow and income, it might not be able to pay ago every cent on the dollar, yet the creditor are far better off in the lengthy run."

4. He"s leveraged his persona.

Trump"s name and also image have undoubtedly assisted him survive each bankruptcy and come out on top. He"s may be to demand a high percentage of reorganization equity based on the worth his brand brings to a casino or hotel operation. So claims Edward Weisfelner, a partner at new York certain Brown Rudnick who was involved in 2 of the 3 casino bankruptcies, first representing bondholders, then together counsel come Carl Icahn"s firm Icahn Partners, who tried to buy most of the debt in trump Entertainment Resorts. “The leverage he had was the his name was on the next of his casinos," stated Weisfelner. "The expense of throwing him out, rebranding and changing his name everywhere would be very high. "

Added Joseph Weinert, senior vice president at Atlantic City casino consultancy Spectrum Gaming Group, who has created research for Trump: "The stakeholders chose they were better off with Trump"s name 보다 they were without it."

5. He has actually less and also less interest in the bankrupt companies.

With each bankruptcy proceeding, Donald Trump"s stake in the casinos and hotels in Atlantic city that bear his name has actually decreased. In the very first Trump Taj Mahal bankruptcy, the handed over 50% same to bondholders in return because that favorable interest rates. In 2004"s thing 11 filing, his stake was reduced to 25%. Throughout wranglings v bondholders automatically before the 2009 bankruptcy, trumped resigned native the board of trumped Entertainment Resorts; his same stake is currently 5%, with an additional 5% in warrants.

6. He"s no the one to blame.

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Atlantic City lawyer Viscount doesn"t think Donald trump himself should be held accountable for any type of of his company"s bankruptcies -- his creditors, the said, knew what castle were gaining themselves right into when lock lent trump card money over and also over again. “They’re all huge boys and also girls," he said. "They’ve all played this video game before, in the insolvency space. The firm that own his name filed bankruptcy since it was overleveraged. What does that tell you? world want to loan him money. That does grandiose points with it.”

Icahn lawyer Weisfelner doesn"t ar blame because that these that company bankruptcies v creditors, and also questions whether Trump"s companies have used thing 11 the means its creators intended.

“There’s such a point as good faith," that said. "The purpose of bankruptcy legislations is to safeguard companies, your customers and also employees, to provide them a 2nd chance and also to treat case holders fairly. If bankruptcy is used instead to artificially elevate her equity interests above legitimate creditor claims and avoid obligations then you could argue that’s not what the regulations were designed come do.”

Viscount doesn"t think Trump has misused the device at all. “Chapter 11, in my view, is the ultimate business transaction forum," he said. "It’s the place you walk to keep a service alive and also well. He’s done nothing inappropriate."


I"m a employee writer at, wherein I write about women entrepreneurs, rectal equality, and diversity in Silicon Valley and also the technology world. Before taking top top this beat, I invested three years spanning retail and also e-commerce, and also the three before that chasing the super-rich for our 400 and World"s Billionaires lists. Ns still file billionaires and entrepreneurs for the magazine, focusing on self-made women. Before, I worked as a news reporter in the UK and also my home nation of Bermuda, a travel writer because that Frommer"s and also an intern because that CNN"s Anderson Cooper while completing a master"s level at Columbia University. Obtained a story idea? email me at coconnor