For six years, New Jersey state auditors and lawyers battled in court for $30 million that the state said Donald Trump’s Atlantic City casinos owed in back taxes.
The state eventually agreed to accept only $5 million from the casinos.
The settlement came just a year after Governor Chris Christie took office, according to an investigation by the New York Times that reviewed the casinos’ bankruptcy filings.
The tax battle began shortly after the casinos filed for bankruptcy in 2004, when the state noticed that the company should have been paying much more money, namely due to a new corporate state tax that went into effect in 2002, reports the Times.
The legal battle dragged on for several years — while the casinos again filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and 2014 — until the parties finally agreed to the lower settlement in December 2011, the Times reports.
Christie was sworn in as governor on January 2010.
A spokesman for New Jersey’s attorney general’s office told the Times they accepted the lower settlement because the casino industry had been on the decline since 2006, so they didn’t think they would get a higher amount if the court case proceeded.
The casinos made Trump millions, a previous Times investigation found, but were largely failed businesses with huge amounts of debt. Trump has since sold his shares in the casinos, but they still bear his name.
Christie and Trump have known each other since 2002.
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