Trump, Donald John, 1946–, American business executive, b. New York City. After attending the Wharton business school, he joined the family real estate business. A self-promoting and flamboyant dealmaker, he was able to secure loans with minimal collateral in the free-wheeling 1980s and created an empire in real estate, casinos, sports, and transportation. By 1990, however, the effects of recession had left him unable to meet loan payments. Although he shored up his businesses with additional loans and postponed interest payments, mounting debt brought Trump to business bankruptcy and the brink of personal bankruptcy. Banks and bondholders lost hundreds of millions of dollars but opted to restructure his debt to avoid risking losing even more in a court fight. By 1994, Trump had eliminated a huge portion of his $900 million personal debt and reduced substantially his nearly $3.5 billion in business debt. Forced to relinquish the Trump Shuttle (bought in 1989), he retained Trump Tower in New York City and control of his three casinos in Atlantic City. In 1999, Trump toyed with running for president on the Reform party ticket. Crippling debt payments forced his casinos into bankruptcy again in 2004, and Trump's stake in the company was greatly reduced when it emerged from bankruptcy in 2005. In 2009 the casino company again declared bankruptcy, and Trump agreed to reduce his stake to 10%. Widely known as simply "the Donald," Trump stars in his own reality television show, which debuted in 2004.
See his autobiographies (1987, 1991, 1997); G. Blair, The Trumps: Three Generations That Built an Empire (2000).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.