Art of the steal: Deals at Trump’s for­mer casino

The Hamilton Spectator - - BUSINESS - WAYNE PARRY

AT­LANTIC CITY, N.J. — For some, it was The Art of the Steal.

Hun­dreds of people swarmed the lobby of At­lantic City’s Trump Taj Ma­hal casino on Thurs­day, hop­ing to score big.

But they weren’t gam­blers. They were bar­gain hun­ters search­ing for rock-bot­tom deals at a liq­ui­da­tion sale of the con­tents of the os­ten­ta­tious casino that Don­ald Trump built in 1990.

And while or­nate crys­tal chan­de­liers from Aus­tria that the fu­ture pres­i­dent and his first wife, Ivana, picked out for the casino were up for sale, more pop­u­lar items in­cluded TVs, chairs and room fur­nish­ings.

“I have no use for chan­de­liers, but I can use a nice TV for my bed­room,” said Ger­ald Winch­ester, of At­lantic City.

Po­lit­i­cal junkies were likely to be dis­ap­pointed: All items with the Trump name on them were re­moved from the casino be­fore the sale be­gan.

“I would have liked to get a roulette ta­ble or a black­jack ta­ble with the name ‘Trump’ on it,” said Dr. Ja­son Bourne, who was on his way to At­lantic City from Bethesda, Md., when he learned of the sale.

The three largest chan­de­liers above the main es­ca­la­tors cost $250,000 apiece when new; they were sell­ing for $35,000 Thurs­day. And the seven smaller chan­de­liers in the lobby were al­ready draw­ing in­ter­est at $7,500 apiece, marked down from $40,000.

“We ac­tu­ally have some­body from Texas that’s fly­ing in here to take a look at them,” said Don Hayes of Na­tional Con­tent Liq­uida­tors, which was con­duct­ing the sale. “He’s gonna put ’em all in his house!”

The com­pany pur­chased the un­wanted con­tents of the casino and ho­tel from Hard Rock In­ter­na­tional, which bought the shut­tered prop­erty in March for $50 mil­lion, or about four cents on the dol­lar from the $1.2 bil­lion Trump spent to open it.

It is then up to the liq­uida­tors to get what­ever they can for the in­di­vid­ual items. Hayes would not say how much the com­pany hoped to make from the sale.

Trump cut most ties with At­lantic City in 2009, hav­ing lost con­trol of the casino com­pany in a bank­ruptcy. His friend and fel­low bil­lion­aire Carl Ic­ahn shut the Taj Ma­hal down last Oc­to­ber amid a bit­ter strike with At­lantic City’s main labour union.

WAYNE PARRY, THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

A woman shops for $8 irons at the for­mer Trump Taj Ma­hal casino.

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