“Some jerk just wrote a book about me. It’s the worst pile of garbage I’ve ever seen -full of lies- by a highly questionable and, some people say, disgraced reporter and a really lousy writer named Tim O’Brien.” Thus spake The Donald in a radio interview to some 400 radio stations across the US last week. The source of the tycoon's rage is the publication of an extract from TrumpNation – The Art of Being The Donald in the New York Times and, severely questioning the author's sources, Trump said, “This guy doesn’t know my assets, I’m a private company.” Touche!
In a war of words that is likely to end with lawsuits galore, O'Brien remarked: “Trump has seen a string of failures in real estate, hotels, casinos, and yet he has been able to rise above all that for decades,” Of course, as we do know about casinos, operations and the fortunes of some operators and investors, we have been party to The Donald apprentice approach to running casinos, which much as he tries cannot be fuelled by the charm of his name. Trump's gaming and resorts company just got out of 'jail', or to be more precise Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
In his attack on The New York Times for supporting O'Brien's work, The Donald has fired some unsavoury salvoes, accusing the paper of publishing a series of “exclusives” by Judith Miller about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Trump said the erroneous reports were used to support the decision to wage war on Iraq. “The New York Times’s management is a disaster. They have no control."
In all this, the arbiter seems to be Forbes magazine, which has placed Trump in diverse rich lists and positions, and at times removing The Donald altogether. Right now, Trump is considered by Forbes to be the 83rd richest man in USA with assets estimated at US$2.7 billion, which Trump disputes as being "low, very low" compared to his true worth, and which O'Neil argues and places Trump's riches " at between $150m and $250m. Rich, but not enough to put him anywhere near the Forbes top 100." As the war rages, a glossy brochure at Trump’s Palm Beach was reported to include the tycoon's worth at "$9.5 billion."
When the dust settles on the matter of The Donald's riches, it is said that some investors will be much poorer for engaging the countenance of the 'pouffe' hair-style, where air is in abundance, and some casinos will be looking for operators who have more substance than glossy brochures. The final word, however, for now must go to Trump whose life philosophy is as mesmerizing as his wealth: “Does it matter what Trump is worth? I’m still going to eat the same pudding." (E-31.10.05)
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