Here at, we"ve been tracking Donald Trump"s wealth since the inaugural 400 wealthy list in 1982. Today, we worth him at $2.7 billion, back he insurance claims he"s worth far more. One concern we"re regularly asked once talk transforms to Trump"s fortune: how have the right to a male who has actually been bankrupt so many times stay a multi-billionaire? how is the worth more now, post-bankruptcies? us spoke come bankruptcy lawyers and also casino industry professionals -- few of whom have had actually firsthand joining in chapter 11 cases linked to trump card -- in an effort to explain how he has actually survived this firm bankruptcies and thrived in the aftermath.

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1. It"s nothing personal...

First points first: Donald Trump has actually filed for corporate bankruptcy 4 times, in 1991, 1992, 2004 and also 2009. All of these bankruptcies were connected to over-leveraged casino and also hotel nature in Atlantic City, all of which are now operated under the banner of trump card Entertainment Resorts. He has never filed for personal bankruptcy -- crucial distinction as soon as considering his capacity to emerge relatively unscathed, at least financially.

"Corporations, minimal partnerships, and also LLCs in i m sorry he had an ownership attention or carriers that had actually his surname attached have actually filed for bankruptcy," said Michael Viscount the Atlantic City legislation firm Fox Rothschild LLP, who stood for unsecured creditors once Trump hotels & Casino Resorts, as it was then called, filed for Chapter 11 protection in 2004. "Therein lies the big distinction.”

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He did take it a an individual hit the first time around: he"d financed the building of the trumped Taj Mahal v junk bonds and was unable to salary the high interest. His organization was in the red, and so to be he, to the tune of around $900 million in an individual debt. By the mid-90s, he"d diminished most of that debt, offering his trump Princess yacht, his Trump shuttle airline, and his stake in a handful of other businesses. More importantly, he stopped guaranteeing debt v his own wealth. "The an initial bankruptcy to be the only time his an individual fortune was at stake," claimed Ted Connolly, a Boston bankruptcy lawyer who supplied Trump as model for acquiring out of blame in his book The road Out of Debt: Bankruptcy and also Other solutions to your Financial Problems. "He learned from it. He"s insulated."

2."s just business.

Trump has actually never apologized for using Chapter 11 as a service tool -- indeed, when he speak to mine partner Keren Blankfeld recently, he detailed that many "great entrepreneurs" have used bankruptcy come restructure debt, totally free up capital and improve your businesses.

"I’ve reduced debt -- by the way, this no me personally, the a company," trumped said. "Basically I’ve offered the regulations of the nation to my advantage and to other people’s benefit just together Leon black has, Carl Icahn, Henry Kravis has, simply as many, plenty of others on peak of the service world have."

But come those uninitiated in bankruptcy laws, 4 instances of corporate bankruptcy in a row deserve to seem staggering. "To the ordinary human being in the street, it might seem surprising, yet certainly no to me," said Reed Smith partner Michael Venditto, who has represented client in high profile chapter 11 cases, including bankrupt airline TWA. "Chapter 11 is exactly how you reshape and also restructure a firm that has problems. That doesn"t suggest anything nefarious or even negative management."

3. It"s far better than the alternative.

More important, claimed Venditto, are the effects Chapter 11 might have for creditors versus, say, liquidation. "You deserve to have a visceral reaction come the reality that this firm has gone with Chapter 11 many times, but the bondholders look in ~ it and the options are much, much worse. What is an north casino sit on the Atlantic City boardwalk worth? If it"s operating and also it"s got cash flow and also income, it may not be able to pay earlier every cent ~ above the dollar, yet the creditors are much better off in the long 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 able to demand a high percentage of reorganization equity based on the worth his brand bring to a casino or hotel operation. So states Edward Weisfelner, a partner at brand-new York firm Brown Rudnick who was involved in 2 of the 3 casino bankruptcies, very first representing bondholders, then as counsel come Carl Icahn"s certain Icahn Partners, that tried come buy many of the debt in trump card Entertainment Resorts. “The leverage he had was that his name was ~ above the next of his casinos," said Weisfelner. "The cost of throwing that out, rebranding and transforming his name all over would be really high. "

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

5. He has 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 the bear his name has decreased. In the first Trump Taj Mahal bankruptcy, that handed over 50% equity to bondholders in return because that favorable interest rates. In 2004"s chapter 11 filing, his stake was lessened to 25%. Throughout wranglings through bondholders automatically before the 2009 bankruptcy, trump resigned indigenous the plank of trump Entertainment Resorts; his same stake is now 5%, with an additional 5% in warrants.

6. He"s no the one come blame.

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

Icahn lawyer Weisfelner doesn"t location blame for these this firm bankruptcies v creditors, and also questions even if it is Trump"s companies have actually used chapter 11 the means its creators intended.

“There’s together a point as good faith," that said. "The purpose of bankruptcy legislations is to protect companies, their customers and also employees, to give them a 2nd chance and also to treat claim holders fairly. If bankruptcy is used rather to artificially elevate your equity interests above legitimate creditor claims and also avoid obligations then you might argue that’s no what the regulations were designed to do.”

Viscount doesn"t think Trump has misused the system at all. “Chapter 11, in my view, is the ultimate company transaction forum," the said. "It’s the place you walk to save a organization alive and also well. He’s excellent nothing inappropriate."


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