Actually call it a strumping, a licking, a whoopin’ and yeah, a trumping.
And it involved one of the greatest sleight of hand real estate deals ever pulled on this city and a lot of people who lost a lot of money.
The parcel of land at Brorein street and Ashley Drive, one of the primo parcels of land in the city -indeed the entire region – fell into his hands in a development deal which was supposed to result in a 52-story luxury condominium building.
Banners went up around the property trumpeting the arrival of “The Donald’ in the city to give us a taste of the luxury and class so many have been deluded into thinking that the very name “Trump’ exudes.
That land deal went South fast. Along with a lot of deposits from a lot of people who bought into the vision of a luxury home overlooking the Hillsborough River and put down cold hard cash to get it.
One can’t put the whole blame on ‘The Donald’…the entire housing market crashed in 2007, and along with it, the financing for many building projects around the city, indeed the nation.
Trump declared he never had plans to develop the property and had only licensed his name to the property as an enticement to buyers for which he would be handsomely paid, and then to add injury to the very salty wounds of the potential buyers who had lost all that dough, he declared to the The Wall Street Journal that the buyers were ‘better off losing their deposits.’
Call it hubris, call it chutzpah, it’s the signature response the man who would be President of the United States has issued to explain every business failure he has been involved in.
And there have been a few. Some almost laughable, unless you were one of the poor schmoes who anted up their own money to fund his various ideas and plans over the years.
“In the end,” he once crowed to New York Magazine “You’re measured not by how much you undertake, but by what you accomplish.”
A little later, at the launch of a business which would provide financing for housing during a time when the housing market was tanking , “I think it’s time to start a mortgage company, who knows about financing better than I do?”
The mortgage business went out of business quickly.
Then there were the steaks. Trump loves steaks and he thought he would do very well in selling them. By the thousands.
That didn’t work either, and in fact, his Las Vegas Trump Steak House was shut down for 51 code violations including expired yogurt and five month old duck on the premises.
Ok, what next?
Ah. Trump Vodka. And the pronouncement, “I fully expect the most called for cocktail in America to be the ‘Trump and Tonic.”
Then there was Trump Game Board..a version of monopoly in which one supposes every block on the board is named ‘Trump’.
A Trump travel service Trump Magazine. Trump Airlines. The New Jersey Generals, A United States Football League team.
Trump University. A scam if there ever was one. A chance for eager beavers who had 35K laying around to pay to learn Trump business expertise. Some of the students sued for fraud and The New York Attorney General shut down the ‘university.’
And oh, yeah, Trump Ice. Which he had made at one of his casinos by simply bagging up the ice in the ice machines there.
He kept that company, in fact,, ABC News is reporting that part of his financial statement – the one which claims that he is worth billions – lists a $280,000 profit from those bags of ice.
That’s along with the $587,000 from the receipts of the Trump Carousel in Central Park in Manhattan.
In addition, the ABC News further reports that ‘The Donald’ has 487 job titles and 338 businesses which bear his name.
Looks like ‘The Donald’ has a lot of baggage he would be carrying into the oval office.
And the only ‘art of the deal’ is the art of fleecing people into thinking they are buying into something by putting his name on it.
Not to worry about that parcel of land at the corner of Brorein Street and Ashley Drive.
Feldman Equities, a St. Petersburg based developer has filed plans with the city to develop a – get this – 52-story ‘mixed use’ residential, commercial and parking facility on the former vacant lot which was most recently used as a staging area for work on the Riverwalk.
Mayor Bob Buckhorn has said he couldn’t be happier at this outcome.
He might well have added, with a sigh of relief that the name ‘Trump’ is nowhere in sight at that windy and empty corner.