Donald Trump catapulted himself into the spotlight with his gilded real estate ventures and vibrant personality.
The latter is what has made his show, “The Apprentice,” such a huge success.
And over the years, he’s had an opinion or two about the business world.
“In the end, you’re measured not by how much you undertake but by what you finally accomplish,” Trump once said.
But like any successful business person, Trump has had his share of setbacks.
Here, we present to you 12 Trump businesses that went belly up or no longer exist.
Trump launched his own mortgage company, and his son predicted that it would be the number one home-loan lender in the US. And then... the housing market completely crashed in 2007. Trump's mortgage company was shut down after a year and a half.
Shortly after the company's launch Trump said on CNBC:
'I think it's a great time to start a mortgage company... who knows about financing better than I do?'
Trump launched his name brand steaks specifically for Sharper Image (and naturally graced the cover of the Sharper Image catalogue) in 2007. They have since been discontinued.
The prices ranged from $US199 for a pack of 12 steak burgers and four steaks, all the way up to $US999 for a selection of 16 top cuts.
Bonus: The Trump Steakhouse in Las Vegas was briefly shut down following 51 health code violations, including expired yogurt and five-month old duck.
What Trump said about his namesake meats:
'When it comes to great steaks, I've just raised the stakes! ... Trump Steaks are the world's greatest steaks... Treat yourself to the very, very best life has to offer... One bite and you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. And believe me: I understand steaks. They're my favourite food.'
Source: Business Wire
Trump dipped his toes into the 'super premium' vodka industry around 2006. It's unclear when exactly Trump Vodka was shut down, but by 2011 the drink was no longer being produced 'under the Trump trademark because the company failed to meet the threshold requirements,' Trump's people said, according to Gothamist.
However, perhaps Trump should have considered expanding into the global 'super premium' vodka market. Much to his annoyance, in 2011 Trump's name brand vodkas were being sold in Israel without authorization.
What Trump said about the vodka when it launched:
'By the summer of '06, I fully expect the most called for cocktail in America to be the T&T or the Trump and Tonic.'
Trump first released his own pseudo-Monopoly board game in 1989, but it didn't sell well at all and was discontinued after a year. After the success of his TV show, he revived and updated the game in 2005.
You can still purchase the game today via several online retailers.
What Trump's promo said:
'Parker Brothers and Donald Trump are challenging consumers to determine whether they have the brains and the brawn to be the next Donald Trump with the launch of TRUMP the Game, the new high-stakes board game, where if you play your cards right, you can make hundreds of millions of dollars, just like The Donald.
Trump Ice has been available at Trump's casinos for some time, and according to Trump 'it was so good that people wanted to buy cases of it!' So the bottles were produced and distributed to the masses. They never hit it big.
You can still find bottles on eBay if you're interested in tasting the 'purest' bottled water. And although it was discontinued, the official Trump website says that you can find Trump Ice at 'specialty food stores and grocery chains nationwide.'
What Trump said about the bottle design:
'It is fiery, isn't it? It's fire and ice! The water puts out the fire.'
Source: New York Magazine
GoTrump.com was a search engine for bargains on luxury travel deals. It was powered by Travelocity.com, so it started off pretty well. However, the site was quickly ripped apart by critics, and was shut down after a year.
What Trump said when he launched the site:
'It doesn't matter how rich you are. You don't want to be a fool and you want to get the best deal. But people who aren't rich want to associate with rich, and that's why this thing has become so crazy.'
'When you get millions of people using your service, and you get X dollars per person, it adds up to a lot of money.'
Source: The New York Times
The Trump magazine was a collaboration between the Trump brand and what is now called Niche Media. It launched with glitz and loads of PR, but was shut down after two years. According to the press release, 'the quarterly magazine saw early success, cashing in on the booming advertising market for yachts and other high-end commodities.'
2007-2009 was probably a difficult time for the 'booming advertising market for yachts.'
Before the first issue came out, The New York Times asked whether Donald Trump would be on the first issue's cover.
What Trump replied to that:
'Only if they want to sell a lot of magazines.'
Ultimately, his daughter Ivanka Trump graced the debut issue's cover.
Originally Trump owned the The New Jersey Generals -- a United States Football League team -- but he quickly sold them in order to focus on construction projects such as the Trump Tower. Later he changed his mind, and re-acquired the team in 1984.
The team folded one year later in 1985, along with the entire USFL. People blamed Trump for the demise of not only the team, but the entire league. Allegedly, he was trying to pull the Generals into the NFL, and allegedly made poor investment decisions in the process.
In May 2014, Trump expressed interest in buying the Buffalo Bills.
What Trump said:
'Without me, the USFL would have been dead immediately. It was a league that was failing badly... I did something I rarely do with the USFL. I went into something that was not good, not established. And it was failing. I knew that but I also went in for cheap. I bought something for peanuts.'
He also called the USFL a 'second rate operation.'
Source: United States Football League
Trump bought Eastern Air Shuttle in 1988, which had been running for 27 years between Boston, NYC, and D.C, and updated it to make it look more glitzy and Trump-esque. But because it was a short-distance airline, customers weren't looking for a luxury experience -- just something that was convenient. The style-savvy investment was a bust.
On top of that, the pre-Gulf War fuel prices were extremely high. The airline never turned profit and Trump defaulted on his loans.
What Trump said about the airlines in retrospect:
'It worked out well for me... I ran an airline for a couple of years and made a couple of bucks. The airline business is a tough business, (but) I did great with it.'
Trump Entertainment Resorts filed for corporate bankruptcy four times. The first time was after the Trump Taj Mahal's construction in 1991. The next time was in 2004 when it 'filed for voluntary bankruptcy after accumulating $US1.8 billion in debt.' Next came 2008-2009 when the company missed a $US53.1 million bond interest payment. (The stock dropped from $US4 per share to 23 cents.)
And finally, in September of 2014, the company filed for bankruptcy once again.
(The company still exists despite its ankruptcy)
What Trump said about the bankruptcies in court:
'I don't like the 'B' word.'
Additionally, during an MSNBC interview, Michael Isikoff asked Trump what exactly he was paid for if he 'had nothing to do with running the company.'
And Trump replied to that:
'Excuse me... Because of my genius. OK?'
Source: ABC News
There's a history of buildings that paid to be called 'Donald Trump developments' but ultimately never became anything. One of these is Trump Tower Tampa.
Trump said that he never had any plans to develop the building himself, and that he only licensed his name to other developers.
Nothing ever came of Trump Tower Tampa and the buyers lost a lot of money on the deal. The site was finally sold in 2011 for $US5 million.
What Trump said in retrospect:
'(The buyers) were better off losing their deposit.'
Source: The Wall Street Journal
In 2005 Trump opened Trump University, a for-profit but non-accredited school where he would bestow his industry expertise upon the masses -- aka anyone who forked over $US35,000. That same year, he licensed his name to an affiliate program called the Trump Institute.
In 2010, four students sued the 'university' for 'offering classes that amounted to extended 'infomercials,' 'selling non-accredited products,' and 'taking advantage of these troubled economic times to prey on consumer's fears.''
The 'university' then changed its name to 'The Trump Entrepreneur Initiative.'
And in 2013, the New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued Trump and Trump University for allegedly defrauding students.
The business officially ended operations in 2011.
Trump compared his ideas to Einstein's in the 'Trump University Entrepreneurship 101' official book:
'Albert Einstein believed that a 'Theory of Everything' in physics unified the four primal forces of nature: gravity, strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force, and electromagnetic force. Our unifying theory for sustainable success in business is so much simpler. (...) The Customer Is Everything!'
What Trump said about Trump University:
'I went to the Wharton School of Finance... I have a great feeling for education and for knowledge and learning… I love the idea of helping people, because I've had a lot of experience with real estate, to put it mildly.'
Source: The New York Times
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