ATLANTIC CITY — As Levi Fox stood on the Boardwalk discussing Donald Trump’s bankruptcy issues in the resort, a man walking by shouted: “Why don’t you talk about Hillary’s bankruptcy issues?”
After about 30 seconds of back and forth on Tuesday, the man, in his 50s, walked away shaking his head, still questioning Hillary Clinton’s financial dealings.
The questions are nothing new to Fox, who a couple of months ago created a Donald Trump Gambling Heritage Tour for his Jersey Shore Tours company. The walking tour details the Republican nominee for president’s business career in the resort.
“That was the most forceful interjection of unsourced information that I’ve ever had,” said Fox, an adjunct history professor at Temple University in Philadelphia and Stockton University in Galloway. “I’ve had more negative responses from people who have just overheard the words ‘bankruptcy’ than from people that have taken the tour.”
During a recent 90-minute walking tour, Fox, 35, of Somers Point, detailed how Trump got his start in the resort and the issues that led him to leave the city. The tour focuses on Trump’s history in Atlantic City rather than the political rhetoric of the current campaign, Fox said.
“I’m not here to direct anyone how to vote. I’m simply providing more information for people as we are three weeks away from Election Day,” Fox said. “Donald Trump himself has made his career in Atlantic City a political issue.”
Trump has deep roots in the resort, including multiple bankruptcies. Trump once owned three Atlantic City casinos but cut most ties with the city by 2009.
“I enjoy history and learning about the history of the state,” said Jill Saull, of Philadelphia, adding the tour gave her more details on Trump’s past business dealings in the city. “I’ve only been here once since the casinos came in, so I was looking for the places that I remember as a kid.”
Cheryl Piehota, of Philadelphia, was most interested in the tour’s insights into the city’s rich history.
“I didn’t know a lot about Atlantic City. It’s one part of the Jersey Shore that I was least familiar with,” said Piehota, who said she is not a supporter of Trump. “I’m not a gambler or a casino person. I was more familiar with towns like Wildwood and Cape May.”
The tour starts at the recently shuttered Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, where Fox gives a brief history of how Trump acquired the property from Resorts International in 1987. While explaining Trump’s start in the city, Fox made reference to the “small loan” of $1 million his father gave him, which drew laughs from people on the tour.
The tour, which costs $16 for adults, weaves down the Boardwalk stopping at such landmarks as Steel Pier, Resorts, Rotary Plaza, Casino Control Commission headquarters, the Holocaust Memorial, the former Sands, Bally’s Atlantic City and Caesars Atlantic City. The tour is not limited to Trump’s impact on the city. Fox also discusses such things as how salt water taffy got its name and the history behind the Korean War Memorial.
At each stop, Fox gives a detailed account of what impact the site had on the history of the city.
As the tour wrapped up at the shuttered Trump Plaza, Fox pointed out that a portion of Trump’s name was still visible. He joked that it could be an advertisement for the TV show “True Blood.”
The tour will be offered Tuesdays and Saturdays through Election Day.
“By and large it’s received positives reviews,” Fox said. “The locals who have taken it seem to feel that I have a very impartial view of what happened during his time here. I feel like it’s a side of the tale that is not always told, as I try to make this more of a historical venture than a political stance.”