What Happened to Trump Taj Mahal Casino In Atlantic City? President's Failed Business Ventures Back In Spotlight

The Trump Taj Mahal – often called Trump's most ambitious project – was ridden with problems from the beginning

President Donald Trump's failed business ventures are back in the spotlight after a video clip of his interview with Barbara Walters in the 90s resurfaced on Twitter on Thursday. In the interview, Walters is seen calling out Trump on his statements on multiple business investments that eventually went into loss. One such venture was the Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City.

The Trump Taj Mahal – often called Trump's most ambitious project – was ridden with problems from the beginning. The initial construction of the casino began in 1983 by Resorts International, who owned another casino in Atlantic City. However, following the death of the head of the company in 1986, the project caught the attention of several business owners – who sought to buy it out. In 1987, Trump outbid and became the owner of what would later be known as the Trump Taj Mahal.

Trump Taj Mahal Casino
Entrance to the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. Wikimedia Commons

Marvin Roffman, a gaming industry financial analyst told ABC News in 2016 that Trump called him to get advice from him before buying the property. "I said, 'Well, why would you want to have three casinos? One is going to cannibalize the other,'" Roffman told ABC News' "Nightline" at the time. "And here was his response: 'Marvin, you have no vision. This is going to be a monster property.' And those were the exact words."

The casino, which reportedly cost about $1.2 billion was opened with much fanfare in 1990. Trump dubbed it the "eighth wonder of the world." However, his dream was short-lived as the casino filed for bankruptcy the following year and lost ownership to bondholders.

In 2009, Trump cut off his ties with Atlantic City project and resigned as chairman of Trump Entertainment Resorts. He reportedly retained a 10 percent stake because of the use of his name by the company. The board of the company reportedly approved the closure of the Taj Mahal casino in 2014 while filing a revised reorganization plan.

But Trump's billionaire friend Carl Icahn reportedly invested $20 million in the casino and in 2016 took complete ownership of Trump Taj Mahal. However, later that year, the Trump Taj Mahal shut down. The following year, in Hard Rock International, announced that it would buy the casino for $300 million. Finally, it reopened as the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City in 2018.

Trump at a rally. Pixabay

Years later, Trump's failed business ventures still make headlines. In the video clip of his interview with Walters in the 90s, Trump is seen attacking the press calling it "dishonest" over the coverage his business ventures received at the time. "I've never seen press reporting as I have with regards to me," Trump told Walters. "I hope the general public understands how inherently dishonest the press in this country is."

Walters then read out a quote from him in which he said he had worked out a "terrific deal" with banks that allowed him to come out "stronger than ever" and that he saw the deal as "a great victory." Walters then asked him: "Being on the verge of bankruptcy? Being bailed out by the banks? Skating on thin ice and almost drowning? That's a businessman to be admired?"

Trump told Walters that she was merely listening to "what people say." To this, Walters said, "I talked to the banks. Several." Here's the interview video and some reactions on social media.