Dealing with Donald Trump – 30 years before he was president

Sunday Times Magazine, December 1 1987

In New York at the moment, Donald Trump is hot: he’s rich; he’s sexy; he’s everywhere. He is the weirdest, wildest story in town. He’s putting up the world’s tallest building; he’s making a killing on Wall Street; he’s calling Ed Koch a moron. They say he’ll be the next mayor of the city, the next governor of the state. The Republicans want him in the White House; the Democrats want him there too. What is this all about?

This is about deals. Donald is the archetypal dealer. You show him a situation and he’ll show you a percentage. He says deals are his art form, and for the sake of his art, he has become the Master Builder of Manhattan, landlord to the rich and famous, a billionaire three times over at the age of only 41. But there is more.

Donald’s story is the story of Reagan’s America, where he is as close as you will get to a mythical figure – the quintessential capitalist, revered for creating wealth, despised and hated for exploiting poverty. When you take him apart and see how he works and how he puts the deals together, you see a whole society at work – the power plays and the priorities, the winners and the losers, the greed and the ruthlessness.

Right now, he is tearing New York apart with his plan to build a monster skyscraper on the West Side of Manhattan, a building so tall that they say tenants at the top would often need to call the porter down below to find out what the weather was like at ground level. It has become a bitter struggle for the soul of the city, pitting rich against poor and stirring a passionate debate about wealth, poverty, greed and the whole quality of modern urban life.

But Donald Trump is not just some distant symbol. He has a direct and immediate significance on this side of the Atlantic, for the central formula of his success in the last ten years is precisely the same as the one which Mrs Thatcher is now trying to apply to the British inner cities.

Trump presented himself to New York in the mid 1970s when the city was on the verge of bankrupcy and effectively made one big deal that lasted a decade: if the city would waive its huge property taxes, put up some funds of its own and let him cut through the red-tape of the planning laws, he would raise and invest enough private capital to revive run-down areas of the city, thus saving the city and the public purse in one manoeuvure.

It is the same package which is now on offer to British entrepreneurs in the decaying Victorian inner cities: the exemption from rates in Enterprise Zones, the supply of cash through the new Urban Regeneration Grants, the relaxation of planning law in William Waldegrave’s Simplified Planning Zones. Donald is thinking about breaking into Britain.

“I would consider it, because I find Britain to be a fascinating place,” he told me. “British businessmen are every bit as good as Americans in terms of talent and business instincts but they tend to be a nicer lot. I find them an honourable group.” But is Britain ready for Donald and his deals?

Consider the first great Donald Deal, the one that really took him into the big time – the creation of the Grand Hyatt Hotel on 42nd Street in 1975. It is a deal which he celebrates in his autobiography, The Art of the Deal, which has just been published in the United States, and which shows him playing his hand with exquisite skill and cheating with a calm sophistication which belies his years.

Donald was only 27 when he first spotted the deal, but he was already rich, and it may be a significant part of the symbolism of this story that the hero does not make riches out of rags. Donald inherited years of know-how and considerable capital from his father, Fred C Trump, a workaholic builder from Brooklyn, who started out hauling logs for a construction company and set up his first company when he was still too young to sign legal documents. In the 1930s, he built and sold wooden garages, then little suburban houses, then big smart houses and finally became one of the biggest landlords in New York with a property empire worth $40 million. He taught his children to work and win.

Donald likes to tell a childhood story about how he and his little brother, Robert, were playing one day with their wooden bricks. Donald decided to build a really tall house and persuaded Robert to lend him his bricks promising to return them afterwards. Robert agreed. Donald then built a miniature sky scraper on the playroom floor and was so pleased with it that he could not bear to lose it. So he glued all the bricks together and Robert never did get them back.

It is that characteristic – ruthless dishonesty to his critics, the very art of the flamboyant deal to his admirers – which has proved to be his most valuable inheritance. While he was still at business school and the rest of his generation were turning on, tuning in and dropping out, Donald was buying rundown houses in Philadelphia, patching them up, selling them off and showing a profit.

By the time he spotted the big Grand Hyatt deal in 1974, he had worked for his father for six years, expanded the family business to a value of $200 million and started to invest in the life style of his dreams: he had his initials sewn into his silk shirts, engraved on his gold cuff-links and printed on the number plates of his chauffeur-driven limo. He took an expensive flat on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, decked it out in brown velvet and chrome, and hassled his way into the smartest clubs in town. But he was still a long way from the Big League, principally because he had no deals in Manhattan: his father’s empire was spread through the far less prestigious building lots of Brooklyn and Queens.

The Grand Hyatt deal started late in 1974 with a little white lie. Donald heard that the old Penn Railroad company was in deep financial trouble and ready to sell some of its prime Manhattan assets. Approaching their agent, Victor Palmieri, he knew he lacked credibility so, on the spot, he named his father’s business The Trump Organisation. It sounded bigger: it sounded Manhattan.

Palmieri told him that the Penn Railroad Company would sell the old Commodore Hotel near Grand Central Station. This was not, at first sight, the most exciting news. The Commodore was a shabby eyesore, losing money fast in an area that had become dirty and dangerous. But Donald had already worked out one of his first great Money-Making Maxims: if you buy property on a good location at a rock-bottom price, you are well on your way to wealth.

His years of Trump family know-how told him that, however dirty and dangerous the area might be at that moment, a hotel that stood next to the main railway station in one of the biggest and richest cities in the world had to be on a good location. So he started to do what he is really good at – making a deal, honestly or otherwise.

He told Palmieri the hotel was a loser and nobody except The Trump Organisation¬† would even think of buying it and even they would only buy an option to purchase while they sounded out the possibilities. Donald said he would pay $250,000 for an option to buy the hotel at a bargain price of $10 million. Palmieri agreed. But, in truth, Donald didn’t even want to risk $250,000 so he stalled on sending his cheque and bought precious time by getting his lawyers to quibble over endless points in the option contract.

In the meantime, he went to the city, which was then drowning in debt, and reminded them that the Commodore owed them $6 million in back taxes. If they helped him buy the place, he told them, he would make sure they got their money out of the $10 million price tag. He told them he was going to relaunch the hotel, create thousands of new jobs in building and servicing the place, and furthermore that he would save the area from slumdom. All they had to do was to scrap the property tax on the building for the next 40 years. He would even share some of his profits with them if they helped him out. They said they were interested.

Then he hit the banks. Morally, he told them, they had a duty to invest in New York’s future, to help dig it out of its depression. Financially, he said, he and his father had a record of hitting their deadlines with building projects and making money wherever they moved. And another thing: the city was working on a tax deal with him that would knock their socks off. They told him to stay in touch.

Juggling the current owners, the city and the banks with nothing but his own extravagant promises to keep them in play, Donald decided he needed more credibility. He went out and found a young architect, Der Scutt. He liked him, so he hired him to draw up plans for an extravagant, luxurious super-hotel on the site. Then Der Scutt left the firm he was working for; his new employers wanted Der to bring the Commodore job with him. Donald said the job was theirs as long as they cut Der’s fee to save him money. They agreed. Der was a bit upset, but Donald told him he still liked him and the building would make him famous.

But he was still short on credibility. Part of his problem was that he was a virgin in the hotel industry; he had hardly even slept in a hotel. He knew the rich Hyatt chain lacked a presence in New York, so he approached them and persuaded them to come in as his partners. He would build the hotel; they would run it.

At this point, late in 1975, some 12 months after striking the original deal to buy an option from Palmieri, he had put together all the elements of a complex package with half a dozen different moving parts and all without investing a cent. Still, he hadn’t earned anything either. At times like this, a big dealer has to be ready to play a few cards off the wrong end of the pack.

The main thing was to get the tax deal out of the city; that would get the banks moving. A key decision was due to be made at a meeting of city officials in December, so Donald decided to concentrate their minds: a week before the meeting he persuaded Palmieri to hold a press conference announcing that the Commodore was doing so badly that it would have to close next summer, losing hundreds of jobs and banging another nail in the area’s coffin. By the time the officials met, they were ready to do almost anything to save the hotel’s future.

They agreed to put the whole deal in the hands of the city’s Urban Development Corporation which had the convenient power to evict tenants at short notice, thus removing a potential obstacle from Donald’s path. But before they could finally approve the tax deal, they needed more paperwork. Donald held his breath and sent them a copy of his option agreement with Victor Palmieri: not one official noticed that although Donald had signed it on the dotted line, the owners of the building had not, for the simple reason that Donald had still not handed over his $250,000.

The city officials finally met to consider the tax deal on May 20 1976. By a remarkable co-incidence, Victor Palmieri held another press conference on May 12, at which he announced that the hotel was closing for good in seven days time. As the officials met, the closing of the Commodore was the hottest political item in town. They unanimously agreed to Donald’s deal.

Armed with the biggest property tax concession in the history of New York, Donald went back to the banks and raised $80 million in loans – $10 million to buy the site; $70 million for the grandiose rebuilding. $45 million of it came from the Bowery Bank which had a vested interest in the project since its headquarters were opposite the crumbling Commodore. But there was one more card to come off the bottom of the pack.

Just as the bankers were ready to close the deal, Donald took one of them aside and pointed out that it was all very well investing in a new Hyatt hotel, but there was nothing to stop his partners, Hyatt, pulling out and building another hotel down the road in competition. The banker took the point and halted the negotiations: either Hyatt agreed never to open another hotel in New York or the whole deal was off. Within the hour Hyatt had caved in and given Donald an agreement that will earn him a small fortune one day when Hyatt are desperate to launch a second project in New York.

When his builders finally moved on to the site, Donald hung a huge banner high over the old hotel proclaiming his name to the city. It was a triumphant boast, but it was justified in the arithmetic. His total personal investment was Zero. His deal with the City meant he had to pay them a fee of $250,000 each year, rising to $2.75 million at the end of the 40 years. But his property tax on the newly refurbished hotel would have been nearer $9 million each year, meaning that his tax concessions were saving him more than $350 million during the life of the deal. Then Donald’s First Maxim paid off.

By the time the new, glitzy Grand Hyatt Hotel opened in September 1980, New York was returning from its grave. Hotel room prices soared from the $48 a night which Donald had hoped for when he made the deal, to $115, and they have since gone up from there to nearly $200 in 1987. He says now that the Grand Hyatt earns a gross profit of about $30 million a year. Yet this has become peanuts to the Great Dealer, who now, a decade after those first tentative steps into Manhattan, has enjoyed an orgy of deal-making.

Scooping up tax deals, talking his way through planning limits, he has littered the north east of America with monuments to his art: Trump Tower, where wealthy fur-lined leather-upholstered New Yorkers live and shop at sky-scraping prices; Trump Plaza and Trump Parc, blocks of super-flats selling to the super-rich; three giant Atlantic City casinos, yielding more than $2 million a day in cash; more opulent hotels, more blocks of luxury flats, all on a soaring scale and adorned with Italian marble, burnished bronze, internal waterfalls and glitz, glitz, glitz. And still he keeps dealing – endlessly greedy, supremely successful. And relentlessly cruel when it suits him.

Last year, he hit the Soviet Union, got in to see Gorbachev and landed a deal to build a luxury hotel in Moscow. He has moved into boxing and is now promoting the biggest fights in America in Atlantic City as a way of attracting punters to his casinos. He bid for the New York Daily News; he wants the New York Post. He bought a football team, the New Jersey Generals. He bought gold when it was $35 an ounce, sold it when it was $800 an ounce, and made about $30 million.

He tried out the stock market. He bought $70 million of shares in his casino rivals, Holiday Corp; the company panicked and created new capital to boost their share price beyond his reach; Donald sold out at the new price and made $37 million. Two other share deals took the same shape in the next six months and he made another $85 million.

Along the way he added a wife – former Czech Olympic skier Ivana Winklmayr – and three children to his entourage. Ivana has become one of his vice presidents and runs a casino in Atlantic City for him; he says he pays her an annual salary of one dollar plus all the dresses she can buy. They now live a lifestyle that would make Gatsby gasp.

One of his homes is possibly the most opulent relic of the Roaring Twenties, the sprawling Palm Beach estate of Mar-a-Lago, which boasts 58 bedrooms, 32 bathrooms, 27 servants’ rooms, three bomb shelters, a theater, a ball room, a nine-hole golf-course, and a two-ton dining room table made of marble and encrusted with precious stones. He bought it cheap for $5 million and is making some improvements to the place, building a new swimming pool. He stays there some times when it gets cold in New York.

He has reasonable accommodation in New York, too, in the shape of a $12 million, three-floor penthouse perched on top of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue. There is an eighty-foot living room with 27 hand-carved marble columns from Italy. Donald, who does not approve of understatement, compares it to Versailles. Outside New York, in Greenwich, Connecticut, he has a rambling Georgian manor house standing in five acres by the sea.

He has a small fleet of helicopters. The best is a French military model with speeds of up to 180 miles an hour, which he got cheap for $2 million from Warner Communications. There’s a Boeing 727 with a built-in bathroom, study and bedroom, which he picked up for $8 million from a Texas millionaire who got caught by falling oil prices. And he recently bought Adnan Khashoggi’s old yacht, the Nabila, from the Sultan of Brunei for $30 million. They say it is the most luxurious sea vessel in the world, a floating palace.

He has a small fortune in Pierre Cardin and Saint Laurent hanging in his wardrobe. His younger brother Robert, who is now an executive vice President in Donald’s empire, used to watch the family’s living standards soaring upwards and tell people that he had to watch Dynasty to find out how to behave.

Donald did not achieve all this by playing Mr Nice Guy. Once he has found his piece of well-placed, knock-down real estate, the second great Money-Making Maxim is to burn anything or anyone who gets in his way. “Man is the most vicious of all animals,” as he puts it. “And life is a series of battles ending in victory or defeat. You just can’t let people make a sucker out of you.” He appears to feel this way about Suzanne Blackmer.

Mrs Blackmer is aged 74, a fading actress who was once a Ziegfeld Follies girl and has drifted through the background of more than 60 Hollywood films. Now a widow, she lives in a cramped and cluttered flat looking out over New York’s Central Park, surrounded by sepia photographs and souvenirs. She has lived there for more than 40 years and fully intended to live out her years there. Then Donald bought the flat.

To be precise, he bought the whole 15-floor building and all 86 flats inside it and its even bigger neighbour, the 1,400-room Barbizon Plaza Hotel. He succeeded in doing this at a bargain price, partly because many of the building’s tenants, like Mrs Blackmer, were paying unprofitably low rents which were protected by law.

His plan was to gut the two buildings and erect a towering block of luxury apartments, whose dazzling views over the park would make them among the finest in New York – and therefore the most expensive. He soon had the old residents shifted out of the Barbizon Plaza: as hotel guests, even the permanent residents had little protection under the law. But Mrs Blackmer and the rent-controlled tenants in the building next door were more difficult. Donald offered them money to leave, but most were not interested. Then strange things began to happen.

Some of the windows on empty flats were blocked out with tin sheets, so the whole building started looking derelict. A new management company was brought in to run the building. Local newspapers said they had been ‘frequently accused of using strongarm tactics to drive away stubborn tenants’. Suddenly the tenants could not get repairs done. Rubbish was left stinking in the corridors. The heating system lurched from boiling to freezing, and the number of porters was cut back to the bone provoking a spate of burglaries in the unguarded building.

Then Donald started suing some of the tenants. One of them, Anderson Clipper, had to spend two years and $10,000 to disprove Donald’s claim that he had failed to pay his rent one month in the autumn of 1981. New York’s housing court finally threw out all Donald’s legal actions and complained that they were brought in bad faith and were ‘a blatant attempt to force the tenants out through spurious and unnecessary litigation’. But Donald did not give up.

He made a generous offer to the city to house the homeless people of New York – in the empty flats in Mrs Blackmer’s block. The tenants were aghast; New York’s Mayor, Ed Koch, who knows about deals, declined the offer. Donald kept on pushing and finally made a deal with a large group of tenants, paying out $500,000 in compensation in exchange for their dropping 50 harassment suits against him. But Suzanne Blackmer did not want any of Donald’s deals; she just wanted to stay in her flat.

Three times, Donald’s expensive pin-striped lawyers asked the Department of Housing to evict her on the grounds that her real home was her dead husband’s family house in North Carolina. Three times they lost even though Mrs Blackmer had no lawyers at all to speak for her; three times, they appealed to the courts to evict her, where they lost again. Finally, in December 1986, they succeeded in persuading the authorities that Mrs Blackmer’s real home was the old house in North Carolina. This was remarkable because the house had been gutted by fire two years earlier and is still derelict.

Now Mrs Blackmer has a lawyer and she is fighting back. Last month, she answered the door to find a marshall with a piece of paper giving her 72 hours to get out. “That really threw me through a loop,” she told me. Her lawyer fought off that attack and she now spends almost all her time, talking on the phone about Donald Trump, writing notes to herself about him, losing them, and loathing him, really deeply despising him. “This merchant,” she calls him, “this gambler. This Atlantic City man-whore. He has such an ego. He wants to be Jesus. He wants to be Hitler. He wants to be the most powerful thing in the world.”

Donald’s relentless pursuit of his goals has claimed other victims. He sues contractors whose work he does not like; he sues partners and competitors who get in his way; he sued a Chicago journalist for $500 million because he dared to criticise one of his buildings; when New York City refused to waive his property taxes on Trump Tower, he sued the city and the official who had made the decision.

He has been accused of racism for excluding black people from his flats, a charge that gathered currency when an estate agent acting for him and other owners told a black woman that “in any of those neighbourhoods, you’d feel like a black marble in a bowl of vanilla ice cream”. Donald angrily denies the charge and says he has black tenants and that his only objection is to people who cannot afford his rents.

He has been accused of buying New York’s politicians, a charge which also dogged his father. Donald admits he has paid money to prospective mayors and governors but says, with some force, that that is just New York; it does not mean anything. He has hired staff from the gity and the Governor’s office. He denies trying to buy influence and says he is simply hiring the best talent.

His ruthlessness became a major issue in June 1980, when he was tearing down an old art deco building on Fifth Avenue to make way for Trump Tower. In the face of a campaign of complaint from New York art lovers, he had agreed to save two 15-foot stone sculptures and an ornate silver grille work on the building’s facade, but when his builders told him that it would delay the job for two or three weeks, he changed his mind, and ordered the builders to take jackhammers to the sculptures and to tear down the grille work.

When news of the destruction spread, Donald became a hate figure. The New York Times weighed into him accusing him of vandalism and brushed aside his glib assurance that he had only done it to protect pedestrians from the risk of falling masonry. His critics still tell the story today. But Donald breezes on; he says now that it was a mistake but that the publicity was good for business and helped to sell the apartments in Trump Tower.

This is where the third Maxim for Making Money comes in: when you have found the right property and cut through any obstacle to your deal, you then hit the hype button and whip up a frenzy of publicity because that’s what sells. This involves what Donald calls ‘an innocent form of exaggeration’.

He says, for example, that Trump Tower is 68 stories high; in fact, it is only 58. He says his latest site along the Hudson River is 100 acres; in fact it is only 76. He called a press conference after the Wall Street crash last October to boast that he had made $175 million by selling everything 48 hours before the crash; it turned out that he had held on to two large blocks of shares which had lost $20.5 million between them. It is all Trump selling Trump.

In one of his earliest deals, he sold the city a site to build a new conference centre and then told them that he would waive his $4.4 million commission on the sale if they agreed to name the centre after him. The City thought that was a pretty good saving and were about to accept the deal when an official took the trouble to study the transaction more closely and discovered that his commission was nothing like $4.4 million. It was only $500,000. He lost that one.

Underneath the salesmanship, there is a genuinely massive ego which also fuels this lust for publicity. They say he is an egocentric Midas – everything he touches turns to Trump. He has Trump Tower, Trump Plaza, Trump Parc as well as plans for Trump’s Castle in New York; Trump Plaza and Trump’s Castle in Atlantic City; Trump Plaza in Palm Beach; he runs Trump Enterprises, Trump Management, the Trump Corporation, Trump Development, Trump Equities, Trump Construction; his son is called Donald Trump; and when two unrelated Trumps, Eddie and Julius, set up in business in New York, he sued them and told them to change their name.

Last autumn, the master builder’s ego hit a new high when he splashed out $94,801 on full-age advertisements in east coast newspapers offering his considered views on US foreign policy, suggesting, for example, that American troops should seize Iranian oil fields, and releasing a storm of rumours that he was bidding for the White House – rumours which he greeted by announcing: “I’m not running for the Presidency. But if I did, I’d win.”

This was not mere hubris. A Republican businessman in the key primary state of New Hampshire set off a noisy movement to draft Donald for the White House. The Great Dealer went along to address a rally and attracted more voters than any of the official candidates; he said countries like Japan and Saudi Arabia were ripping off the US and ought to contribute to their defence by paying off the budget deficit, and he called Ayatollah Khomeini a sunnavabitch. They loved him. Within weeks, Democratic Party leaders were showering him with compliments and trying to persuade him to chair a fund-raising dinner for them. He just smiled his honey smile, gave his ego another little polish and soaked up the publicity.

He revels in superlatives. He tells interviewers: “I’ve built the very best private company in the world… Trump Tower is the most luxurous building in the world… There is no-one my age who has accomplished more.” At Trump Plaza in Palm Beach, he even has the world’s tallest doorman, Mr Neil Milligan, who is 7′ 2″. Now he is manoeuvring to build the tallest building in the world.

He wants it to be the centrepiece of a complex of 14 vast skyscrapers on his 76-acre site along the Hudson River on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. It is to rise through 152 floors to a height of 1,949 feet – a clear 500 feet above the Sears building in Chicago which is currently the world’s tallest. The top 60 floors would hold 800 luxury flats from which, on a clear day, you could see across five states. Eight other buildings on the site would have a towering 60 floors. The whole thing will include 7,600 flats, a 750-room hotel, supermarkets, cinemas, and 7,400 parking spaces. To many New Yorkers, this is one deal too many.

They say the buses, the subways, the schools and the sewage system will all be unable to cope with the extra strain. They say that the towers will create icy, high-speed winds in winter, and a huge crawling shadow across Central Park in the summer, that the extra traffic will make air pollution even worse than it already is and that views will be ruined from all over New York.

The plan has inspired a rebellion among West Manhattan’s middle class who have formed themselves into a pressure group, Westpride, to attack the project and ‘the cult of greediness’ in New York. They have held public rallies, hired expensive experts and are planning to go to the courts. They aim to show that, quite apart from their environmental impact, Donald’s deals have set off a dizzy inflation in Manhattan property prices which is driving poor families on to the streets and the middle-income ones across the river to New Jersey. The whole partnership between the city and the developer is being critically re-examined.

In response, New York’s mayor, Ed Koch, has publicly rejected Donald’s demand for another huge property tax concession, worth an estimated $700 million. Donald was furious and told Koch he was a moron, that his advisers were jerks and that his administration was a disaster. He threatened that the big corporations which are New York’s life blood would desert the city. Koch told him he was greedy and piggy and stuck by his decision. Donald says the deal goes on.

Inside Donald’s Grand Hyatt Hotel, the sound of muzak drifts across the sculpted waterfall, down over the beige marble floor, between the great gold colonnades and leaks out through the revolving doors to the cold of 42nd Street. Here old ladies with their lives in plastic bags come shuffling by on their way to Grand Central Station next door, where they lie down with the litter to sleep. Beggars squat on the pavement.

A river of people flows out of the station, past the dope dealers and on down 42nd Street, past the corner of Vanderbilt Avenue where a Salvation Army trumpeter, rugged up against the cold, plays a mournful tune. His placard says that Sharing is Caring. The people swirl round him and on down the street.


What they say about Donald Trump…..

“The five most important people who work for Donald Trump are Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump……” Blanche Sprague, executive vice president of the Trump Organisation.

“Spending the day with Donald Trump is like driving a Ferrari without the windshield. It’s exhilarating; he gets a few bugs in his teeth.” New York Times.

“That Donald. He could sell sand to the Arabs and refrigerators to the Eskimos.” Architect Der Scutt in Jeremy Tuccille’s biography, Trump.

“The more he gets, the more he wants.” Judge Maryanne Barry, Trump’s elder sister.

“The cult of greediness extends from the city administration to Trump’s office. Trump is the master egotist. He doesn’t care if people criticise him.” Joyce Matz of Westpride, a New York community group fighting Trump developments.

“He is a mean, mean, greedy, greedy individual. I don’t know whether he is man or beast.” Suzanne Blackmer,a Trump tenant facing eviction.

“Please, God, let him run. If Donald Trump runs for president, God, we will never make fun of the Pope again.” The New York satirical magazine Spy.


The thoughts of Donald Trump…..

On Ed Koch: “When do I ever speak to Ed Koch? We don’t speak. We scream.”

On Mrs Thatcher: “I have great respect for her. I would rate her a truly great lady.”

On Gorbachev: “He is a very bright man, who is extremely competent and very impressive.”

On business: “I don’t do it for the money. I’ve got enough, much more than I’ll ever need. I do it to do it. Deals are my art form.” In The Art of the Deal.

On casinos: “I like the casino business. I like the scale, which is huge. I like the glamour, and, most of all, I like the cash flow.” In The Art of the Deal.

On risks: “People think I’m a gambler. I’ve never gambled in my life. To me, a gambler is someone who plays the horses. I prefer to own the track.” In The Art of the Deal.

On wealth: “You can’t be too greedy.” In The Art of the Deal.

On Rupert Murdoch: “A great man in my opinion.”