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Trump Rolls Snake Eyes, Investors Leave Empty Handed

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted March 9, 2009


Apart from his charming personality and famous hairdo, I have to say there’s not too much I like about Donald Trump.

After all, he is something of a wolf in wolves clothing. And in the end Trump is about one thing and one thing only—-Trump himself.

So it’s not really all that surprising that the Donald’s ventures have met up with hard times again ruining those that chose to follow him over the cliff. Hubris has its price.

But that is of little consolation to some of the hundreds of little people that fell prey to his cult of personality. For them there is only anger, disbelief and a gigantic hole in the ground.

From AP by Elliot Spagat entitled: Trump venture folds, leaving buyers strapped

“Stephen and Linda Drake cast aside concerns about owning property in Mexico because they believed in Donald Trump.

The Southern California couple paid $250,000 down payment on a 19th-floor oceanfront condo in Trump Ocean Resort Baja in 2006 before the first construction crew arrived.

But admiration for the celebrity developer and star of “The Apprentice” has now turned into anger and disbelief as Trump’s luxury hotel-condo plan collapsed, leaving little more than a hole in the ground and investors out of their deposits, which totaled $32.2 million.

“I can’t even stand to see Trump’s face on TV,” says Linda Drake, a psychologist, whose husband is a commercial airline pilot and financial adviser.

Investors were told last month their money was spent and they won’t get a penny back. A single mother in suburban Los Angeles lost $200,000 and won’t be able to send her sons to private universities. A Los Angeles-area businessman lost a deposit of more than $1 million on four Trump units, including two penthouses.

Trump and his children heavily promoted the northern tip of Mexico’s Baja California coast. He sold 188 units for $122 million the first day they went on a sale at a lavish event in a downtown San Diego hotel in December 2006.

“I went out and saw this site, and I was blown away by it,” Ivanka Trump told The Associated Press in June 2007. “From the minute I saw it, it was a deal I had to do.”

The location was a contrast to more expensive Mexican coastal markets such as Puerto Vallarta, Los Cabos and Cancun, she said.

The Trumps remained buoyant even as the U.S. housing market began to crumble. Ivanka assured buyers in an October 2007 newsletter that all Trump projects were immune to a slowdown.

“In characteristic Trump fashion, Trump Ocean Resort Baja will be the best of the best, and consequently always in demand,” she wrote.

Guadalupe Mendoza, 47, paid a $200,000 deposit at the first-day sale in San Diego, refinancing her Downey home and getting a loan from a sister. She watched a giant screen show units getting snapped up.

After signing papers, buyers were ushered to a buffet of sirloin tip and fish tacos. Cheers erupted in the hotel ballroom for each new owner.

“I did it in less than a minute,” said Mendoza, an administrator in the Los Angeles County Office of Education. “I remember my head was hurting and thinking, ‘My God, what was that?’ I was thinking maybe I should have asked questions. It was like a roller-coaster ride.”

All that remains of Trump Baja is a highway billboard with a large photo of Donald Trump that advertises condos for sale. It hovers over a closed sales center and showroom, a paved parking lot, a big hole that cuts a wide swath, drainage pipes and construction equipment.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time Trump has left his investors in lurch as his real estate investments turned south. A falling market in the 90’s nearly buried him, as corporations he led filed Chapter 11 more than once.

His third bankruptcy filing came on February 17th when his Trump Entertainment Resorts sought protection as a recession and declining gambling revenues battered the company.

However, Trump remains as brazen as ever. He recently even had the gall to claim the current crisis was an “Act of God” and the reason why he evoked a clause his contract with Deutsche Bank not make payment on a $40 million loan.

The Trump roller coaster continues….

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