Marty Rosenberg has sat across the negotiating table from Donald Trump, and he says it cost his business nearly a half-million dollars when the man who currently reigns as the Republican presidential front-runner didn’t live up to his end of the deal.
The year was 1990, and Mr. Trump’s newly constructed Taj Mahal hotel and casino was hurtling toward bankruptcy, while Mr. Rosenberg’s Atlantic Plate Glass (APG) and scores of other contractors who built the lavish megacasino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, waited for more than $60 million in overdue payments.
“We got to the end of the job, and I think he owed APG about $1.5 million,” Mr. Rosenberg recalled in a recent interview. “I was waiting for my check, and it didn’t come.”
Mr. Rosenberg, who was vice president of Atlantic Plate Glass at the time, helped form a committee of construction firms and suppliers stiffed by Mr. Trump. He then served as a member of the so-called Group of Seven leading the committee’s negotiations that resulted in the contractors getting partial payments.
Atlantic Plate Glass lost about $450,000 in the settlement, said Mr. Rosenberg, adding that his personal finances took a hit because of his minority stockholder stake in the firm, and that the company struggled but overcame the loss.
Others fared worse, he said, including smaller businesses that didn’t survive.
“From my experience, he is definitely ego-driven, disingenuous and will say whatever he has to say at the time,” Mr. Rosenberg, 73, said of the billionaire businessman. “Trump says whatever is on his mind at the time that will get him off the hook.”
Mr. Trump questioned Mr. Rosenberg’s motives for telling his story now. He said he didn’t remember Mr. Rosenberg, but he remembered the glass job at the Taj Mahal cost a total of about $10 million.
“To the best of my knowledge, I never even met him. Just another publicity-seeker,” Mr. Trump said in an email to The Washington Times.
Newspaper reports from the time corroborate the version of events related by Mr. Rosenberg, who said he was registered as an independent and voted for President Obama in 2012.
Mr. Rosenberg, who is retired and lives near Atlantic City, said he wasn’t motivated by partisanship or a desire to boost another presidential candidate, although he vowed that he would never vote for Mr. Trump.
Still, his misgivings about Mr. Trump echo criticism leveled by the front-runner’s rivals and GOP leaders desperate to derail his candidacy.
At the Conservative Political Action Conference last week, Republican presidential contender Sen. Ted Cruz warned the crowd of conservative activists that Mr. Trump would “stick it to ya” if he makes it to the White House.
Back in the summer of 1990, Mr. Trump was hustling to keep the Taj Mahal afloat and juggling roughly $3 billion in debt to banks and junk bond holders.
His empire of casinos, Trump Airline and real estate holdings were not generating cash fast enough to pay debts and support his extravagant lifestyle. He was spending nearly $1 million per week on his homes, yacht, Boeing 727 and other personal expenses, according to news reports.
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