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Bankruptcy – If It’s Good Enough for Trump, Why Not You?

Donald Trump, the New York billionaire, real estate mogul and television celebrity, has been making headlines for months as a leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination. That has prompted his many challengers to insinuate that his business record is not what it appears to be. Opponent Carly Fiorina, a former CEO whose business record has also come under scrutiny, leveled the charge that Mr. Trump was “forced to file for bankruptcy not once, not twice, four times.”

“How can this be?” you ask. Donald Trump is fabulously wealthy. According to Forbes magazine, his net worth is $4.5 billion. He is not what we envision when we think of bankruptcy. But here are the facts:

  • 1991 – The Trump Taj Mahal casino was nearly $3 billion in debt; Mr. Trump was personally liable for $900 million. The business filed for Chapter 11 reorganization.
  • 1992 – The Trump Plaza Hotel was $550 million in debt. The hotel filed for bankruptcy, and Mr. Trump surrendered his ownership stake.
  • 2004 – Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts were in debt to the tune of $1.8 billion. In bankruptcy, Mr. Trump reduced his ownership stake from 47 to 27 percent.
  • 2009 – Trump Entertainment Resorts, suffering from the recession of 2008, filed for bankruptcy after missing a $53.1 million bond interest payment.

Mr. Trump’s detractors suggest that this information should make you look at Trump differently. But maybe it should cause you to look differently at the bankruptcy process itself. Trump’s misadventures, in light of his current status, send a clear message that bankruptcy is not the end of the world. But, of course, it was never meant to be.

Bankruptcy is designed to give people a fresh start. Our society understands that free market capitalism is a dynamic system. There will be peaks and valleys. People will take risks, and not all of them will pan out. But the risks that meet with success benefit our society greatly. We want to encourage investment and innovation, so when a business fails, we don’t want to punish everyone involved. We want to help the business, its owners and its workers, to get back up on their feet.

It’s the same with personal bankruptcy. You may have made errors in judgment that got you into debt, and you’ve been struggling responsibly to repay what you owe. But, if at a certain point it looks like you’ll never be able to repay your debts, we don’t want you spending the rest of your life in debt to your creditors. The law provides a way out. And if you need to take advantage of the law, like Mr. Trump did, you should do it.

At DebtStoppers, our Atlanta attorneys help consumers get out from under crushing debt. If you’re trapped under a mountain of debt, take advantage of a free consultation and learn how bankruptcy may be your best option. Call DebtStoppers today at 404-796-7161 or contact our office online.  

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