Wilbur Ross, the man Donald Trump wants to be the next secretary of the Department of Commerce, knows the president-elect and Atlantic City well.

He was involved in a deal that helped keep Trump in charge of the debt-laden Trump Taj Mahal Casino resort months after it opened in 1990. Read the original Press of Atlantic City story here.

In 1990, Ross was a financial adviser to bondholders who had loaned Trump $675 million to finish building the Taj Mahal a few years prior. But several months after the casino opened in April 1990, it couldn’t overcome its massive debt and missed interest payments, risking a bankruptcy filing.

Trump struck a deal with bondholders on Nov. 16, 1990. The agreement gave bondholders half the equity in the casino, but allowed Trump to remain in charge.

At the time, Ross told The Press of Atlantic City that bondholders agreed to let Trump keep control because "he is a valuable asset."

Last week, the Los Angeles Times reported the strategy “helped Trump avoid a personal bankruptcy that could have derailed his unlikely trajectory from real-estate mogul to reality television star to president-elect.”

Jason Miller, the communications director for Trump’s transition team, told the Los Angeles Times, that Trump respects Ross’s skills in making deals.

“He’s seen Mr. Ross up close and personal,” Miller told the Times. “He knows he can depend on him.”

Ross told The Press of Atlantic City the day the deal was reached: "We made what we consider a fair deal - fair to both sides. Fair means that neither side got exactly what it wanted, but both sides made out quite a bit better than they would have in a (contested) bankruptcy.”

An earlier Trump proposal was rejected by Ross and bondholders.

The casino eventually would go through two other bankruptcies before closing in October of this year under the ownership of billionaire Carl Icahn.

Contact: 609-272-7253

Email: bianieri@pressofac.com

Twitter @bianieri

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: Soon we will no longer integrate with Facebook for story comments. The commenting option is not going away, however, readers will need to register for a FREE site account to continue sharing their thoughts and feedback on stories. If you already have an account (i.e. current subscribers, posting in obituary guestbooks, for submitting community events), you may use that login, otherwise, you will be prompted to create a new account.

Load comments