February 19, 2016

"But - but a cease-and-desist letter, I mean, you're not going to sue [Ted Cruz]," said Anderson Cooper to Donald Trump.

Trump's answer made me (and the town-hall audience) laugh: "Well, you don't know that. But I like to send letters. I have a lot of lawyers. I have wonderful lawyers. I like to send letters."

I laughed... and yet I generally disapprove of threats to sue. Still, if someone is lying about you and you do nothing, people will say why didn't you sue — was it not defamation? And look how he wove in as sideswiping attack on Marco Rubio as he bore down on the "problem" Ted Cruz supposedly has "with the truth":
I mean, look - he has a problem with the truth. And even Marco Rubio - I guess today there was something about he was - you know, picture was manufactured, and it was.... was totally Photoshopped. I could see by just looking at it. In fact, they even made Marco a lot shorter than he is, if you look at it really. And I'm sure that's probably the thing that bothered him the most. He was a hell of a lot - he was, like, very small. I mean, he's not that small. Not too big, but he's not so small.
Five times he said — in 8 seconds — that Marco Rubio is small!

Trump is very serious about establishing dominance. 

113 comments:

Paul said...

You cannot sue if you are,a public figure... And Trump is a public figure.

So Trump is blowing smoke.

Skeptical Voter said...

Trump has a bad case of the short man's disease.

steve uhr said...

You can sue if you are a public figure but there is a higher standard of proof -- you must prove actual malice. The problem here is that there is nothing false in the ad. It may give the impression that Trump supports abortion today but it doesn't say so. He won't sue because it would be summarily dismissed.

BDNYC said...

The way I see it, if Trump and Cruz are tearing each other apart then Marco Rubio is winning. Jeb is as good as done, and Kasich has no infrastructure to stay in the race.

Cruz is the conservative candidate. Rubio is the mainstream candidate (although he is farther right than any establishment candidate in living memory). Trump is the non-ideological nativist wild card. Although Trump is more centrist than Rubio, he and Cruz fish in the same pond because many evangelicals are attracted to his personality. It is in Rubio's interest, at this stage, to keep Trump and Cruz in the race.

I would be shocked if Rubio does not end up winning the nomination.

richlb said...

I sweat I can't figure out why Walker dropped out so early.

David Begley said...

Rubio is not that short. I've met him twice.

Trump is so, so childish.

ddh said...

Donald Trump was threatening to sue Ted Cruz for an ad that shows Donald Trump saying various things at various times. If he filed suit, he'd be laughed out of court, at the very least.

ddh said...

Donald Trump's theme song should be "You're So Vain."

rhhardin said...

Trump is very serious about establishing dominance.

That's the pope thing.

Priest: "I can beat you at dominoes."

Congreg: "No you can't beat us at dominoes."

Paul said...

"I would be shocked if Rubio does not end up winning the nomination."

I will be shocked he he does and likewise shocked if Trump doesn't. I'm beginning to suspect that movement conservatives and liberals are the opposite side of the same coin...both blinkered by ideological and wishful thinking.

Paul said...

Yes Trump understands "game" and controlling the frame. That's why the media can't help themselves from being drawn to him.

BDNYC said...

@ Paul

You must think Cruz isn't long for the race. I disagree.

Paul said...

I think Trump is going to rack up primary win after primary win. He is, and has been, twice as high in the polls as Cruz. I don't know how long Cruz or Rubio are going to stay in but I think they will consistently only be also-rans.

cubanbob said...

The Democrats are fielding a criminal and a communist. What are the odds the Republicans can find a way to lose what would otherwise be un-losable?

Trump has to watch the BS blowhard act a bit better. Threatening a BS lawsuit makes him look foolish and weak.

Oso Negro said...

But mustn't comment on the Cruz response. The mainstream candidate, we wants it, precious.

Michael K said...

I don't understand Trump and we will have a better idea of what is happening after this weekend.

The lawsuit stuff seems to be bluster.

The Pope helped him, maybe a lot.

Rubio did not show up at a conservative meeting he had promised to attend. I don;t know what that means.

All I know is that this is a very unusual year.

Bob Boyd said...

There's a very anti-Trump documentary film about opposition from locals to a $1.5 billion Trump golf course project in Scotland called 'You've Been Trumped' (2012).

preview here:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1943873/

article and clip from contentious interview with film maker here:
http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-bullied-a-90-year-old-woman-over-scottish-golf-course-2015-6

Jack Wayne said...

How long into Trump's presidency before we see buyer's remorse from the mainstream Republicans that are backing Trump? These are not the Reagan democrats. They are the people who backed Romney.

Douglas said...

Screw Donny. He couldn't establish dominance over a bag lady.

Josephbleau said...

Why does Donald just not piss on the other candidates.

Paul said...

"How long into Trump's presidency before we see buyer's remorse from the mainstream Republicans that are backing Trump?"

I dunno smart guy. What does your crystal ball say?

Nobody knows. People confuse speculation based largely on some emotional desire with accurate foreknowledge. Occasionally somebody is right and you never hear the end of it but somehow they forget all the times they were dead wrong.

Maybe Trump will be a disappointment or maybe he will accomplish at least some of the important things that animate his supporters.

"How long into Trump's presidency before we see the chagrin from the Trump haters as he starts racking up successes?"

One's as valid as the other. Both worth pretyy much zero.

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul said...

"Screw Donny. He couldn't establish dominance over a bag lady."

"Why does Donald just not piss on the other candidates"

Like I said. Two sides of the same coin. Children.

The Cracker Emcee said...

"Screw Donny. He couldn't establish dominance over a bag lady."

Well, I've been saying that Hillary's sure to win.

chuck said...

> Yes Trump understands "game" and controlling the frame. That's why the media can't help themselves from being drawn to him.

Riiight. Not all of us are girls...

Beldar said...

I'm a civil trial lawyer, and I've been handling defamation cases (e.g., Wehling v. Columbia Broadcasting System, 721 F.2d 506 (5th Cir. 1983)) for more than 30 years now.

The lawyer who wrote the cease-and-desist letter for Donald Trump is a hack who's apparently never read the First Amendment, much less any case defining defamation. The letter is an embarrassment, and any lawsuit filed on the bases specified in the letter would almost certainly subject the lawyer and quite probably Mr. Trump to sanctions for frivolous litigation. It's a categorical disgrace.

To write a letter that could affect Trump's presidential bid, Trump picked this guy. He's a billionaire; he could have hired a real lawyer -- who'd have, of course, told Trump that his legal claim was frivolous, and who would have refused to sign any such letter. But he didn't. He picked this schmuck, who's an embarrassment to himself and the legal profession. (Trump himself can't be embarrassed because you can't shame the shameless.)

It's pretty important to have good lawyers if you're trying to become president -- ask either George W. Bush (who had a team of superb lawyers) or Al Gore (who had one really good one, David Boies, who tried to do too much and ended up getting beat like a drum, 7/2, in the SCOTUS).

So Trump fans, answer me this very straightforward question:

Why should we expect Trump to pick anyone any better for the Supreme Court than he picked to write his cease-and-desist letter to Ted Cruz?

The question answers itself: Trump cannot be trusted, on this or anything. He's a vulgar con-man, a fraud, and if you waste your money or your vote on him, you're a sucker.

Beldar said...

BTW, before you ever get to the "public figure" question, you first have to figure out whether there's been a false statement of objective, verifiable fact that harmed the target. Opinions (like "you can't trust Trump," or my statement above that his lawyer is a hack) cannot be the basis of a defamation claim.

So yes, Trump's lawsuit would be thrown out instantly, and the lawyer who filed it sanctioned, before even getting to the federal constitutional issues about public figures, actual malice, the First Amendment, etc.

Any first year law student should be able to confirm this for you. If our host so chooses, I'm sure she can as well. Any law school graduate, and certainly every practicing attorney, has to know this kind of basic thing to be minimally competent.

Beldar said...

(There are tons of additional roadblocks that Trump could never jump if he sued Cruz, but his failure to allege a false statement of objective, verifiable fact is the most obvious one, and it would be the first one taken up by most judges (who ought to avoid disposing of cases on constitutional grounds if they can; and here they clearly can).

Paul said...

"Riiight. Not all of us are girls..."

No but you are childish, whatever the bend of your gender.

Of course controlling the frame is not just for seducing women. It's mastery is useful in pruducing a positive outcome in any human interaction. Love him or hate him Trump has mastered it.

MPH said...

America 2016:
25% socialist
25% moderate left
25% moderate right
25% national front

In other words, we've gone full Euro.

Bay Area Guy said...

@Beldar

Everything you say above on the First Amendment and Trump's temperament, judicial or otherwise, is correct.

But that sidesteps the appeal (no pun intended) of Trump.

On two significant and substantive issues: (1) our immigration policy towards illegal immigrants and (2) our policy towards dealing with radical Islam, Trump has stood tall and attracted a lot of support. On the First, we know what the Dem position is - let them all in, let them change our American culture, let them enter the bureacratic maze of the welfare state, and, wink, wink, let's register them to vote.

On the Second, the Dem position is to appease Islam, isolate Israel, and smash Islamaphobia, here and abroad.

Trump is loud, because many on the Republican side have been too timid in resisting these 2 pushes.

Everything else is window dressing. He can yap about the Pope, Megyn Kelly or Rosie O'Donnell, but as long as he maintains strength on those two issues, he will be formidable all the way to the convention.

AReasonableMan said...

Josephbleau said...
Why does Donald just not piss on the other candidates.


Have you not watched any debates?

Paul said...

"Everything else is window dressing. He can yap about the Pope, Megyn Kelly or Rosie O'Donnell, but as long as he maintains strength on those two issues, he will be formidable all the way to the convention."

Ding ding ding, give the man a prize!

If he makes good on those two issues he will be a success overall as these are true existential threats. The common man gets this. The eggheads not so much.

Daniel Richwine said...

Trump is taking running for president seriously. Which I far, far more than I could say for McCain or Romney.

Oso Negro said...

I reject your characterization MPH. Constitutional conservative is NOT National Front.

Beldar said...

You mistake noise for strength, Bay Area Guy.

Look at Trump's record: He's not a successful businessman. Successful businessmen don't brag about having dragged their corporate empires through bankruptcy four separate times.

There is no reason to believe anything Trump claims he will do. To the contrary, his record is that of a professional liar and oath-breaker.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Five times he said — in 8 seconds — that Marco Rubio is small!"

Be specific about what you want them to remember.

Surround the rest with meandering circles.

CHerry atop the whipped cream.

I am Laslo.

Laslo Spatula said...

Steve martin for Rubio's smallness"

" It's a new thing, it makes you small. [ indicates size with fingers ] About this big. And, you know, I'll be home, sitting with my friends, and, uh.. we'll be sitting around, and somebody will say, "Heeeyyy.. let's get small!" So, you know, we get small, and uh.. the only bad thing is if some tall people come over. You're walking around going, "Ah hahaha..!"

Now, I know I shouldn't get small when I'm driving.. but I was driving around the other day, and I said, "What the heck?" You know? So I'm driving like.. [ extends arms high in the air like he's reaching up to a giant steering wheel ] And, uh.. a cop pulls me over. And he makes me get out, he looks at me and he says, "Heyyy.. are you small"? I said, "No-o-o! I'm not!" He said, "Well, I'm gonna have to measure you." They have this little test they give you - they give you a balloon.. and if you can get inside of it, they know you're small."

I am Laslo.

Jack Wayne said...

Paul, I define "success" as small government. Trump will fail at that. Anything else is failure.

traditionalguy said...

Weaponized words are the Trumpster's natural talent. He comments on another man's strength like Joan Rivers comments on another woman's hair and dress. All is fair in war of labels.

You can't stump the Trump. I hope he is kind to his lawyers, because he likely stays one step ahead of them. His type uses lawyers the way a builder uses a steel erector crew.

Beldar said...

@ traditionalguy:

So in answer to my question, you got nuthin'.

Humperdink said...

Trad guy said: "I hope he is kind to his lawyers, because he likely stays one step ahead of them. His type uses lawyers the way a builder uses a steel erector crew."

He also uses lawyers to mask failures, toils and troubles.

"Donald Trump has been named in at least 169 federal lawsuits, according to a LawNewz.com investigation. They read like a history of Trump’s business failures, successes, and bombastic personality."

http://lawnewz.com/high-profile/we-investigated-donald-trump-is-named-in-at-least-169-federal-lawsuits/

Bay Area Guy said...

@ Beldar

You mistake noise for strength, Bay Area Guy.

Could be. But in the business world, Trump is no doubt strong. And, in the political world, where he is a rookie, he won NH, will win SC, and has been leading Nationally, for 6 mos.

Look at Trump's record: He's not a successful businessman. Successful businessmen don't brag about having dragged their corporate empires through bankruptcy four separate times.

I think you err here, Counselor. Of course, he's a successful businessman. He inherited a fortune from his successful Father, and built it into a billion dollar empire of Manhattan hotels and apartment buildings.

The braggadocio aspect is more for show, based on his tv and public "persona". The 4 BKs are nothing. That's just the cost of doing business on so high a level, with so many different business entities. Corporate subsidiaries file BK all the time.

There is no reason to believe anything Trump claims he will do. To the contrary, his record is that of a professional liar and oath-breaker.

Possibly. But, again, those who view his stance on immigration and Islam aren't concerned with this. He's not running for Pope.

Trump is winning primaries. That's not noise, my friend Beldar.

rcocean said...

If Trump runs in the general against Sanders it will be hilarious.

Did you know Bernie is Jewish? I love Jews. My daughter is married to a Jew. My son-in-law isn't like Bernie though, he doesn't hate Israel. And as a Christian, I Love going to Synagogue and seeing Jews like Bernie wear Yamakas. So when people take shots at Bernie for being an out-of-touch New York Jew, who lives in Vermont, I'm upset at that. Antisemitsm makes me sad. And I'm a New Yorker too. I different kind of New Yorker of course - I love Israel.

TangoMan said...

Beldar,

Why should we expect Trump to pick anyone any better for the Supreme Court than he picked to write his cease-and-desist letter to Ted Cruz?

I suspect that you're too close to the forest and you're seeing the trees instead of the forest, by which I mean, as a lawyer with long experience in defamation law you're looking at the merit of the case and the merit of the letter.

I suspect that what you're missing is the fact that the threat of suit and the letter itself are merely props used by Trump to drive a message about Cruz being a liar. The threat of suit and the letter up the ante in the news cycle, both are something new in political campaigns, therefore newsworthy, and because the public attaches seriousness to actual letters from lawyers and actual threats of lawsuit, this reinforces the message that Cruz is a liar and that Trump is peeved, or grievously insulted or harmed, at the lies told by Cruz.

This will never see a courtroom because Trump likely doesn't care at all. Trump, I suspect, was immeasurably helped by watching the sausage being made on how reality TV presents "reality" which is entirely scripted. This puts Trump at the head of the class of these politicians who are trying to shape images and shape policies and shape movements.

I get why you would be upset, this is your career and life's work, which is being sullied and used as a campaign prop, but the only rule in politic is this - "Win."

traditionalguy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

@ Beldar...Sorry, I missed your comment. You seem to believe twisted propaganda about trump.

Try and think for yourself. Trump is a developer of Real Estate that puts together Entities for each project to obtain Bank or Insurance Company Loan commitments for finance, and then to buy land, zone it, get utilities committed at a set price, let Contracts for site Preparation and for Construction and keep it all rolling without delay that costs big money, and along the way market the property to investors and end user tenants or owners.

You can do that continuously, but each separate project is on its own, and if a financial recession or market crash hits in Construction the outcome will be a delay that makes a owner in possession Chapter 11 Restructuring Workout needed to save it and fairly cut the investor's and Lender's losses. That IS NOT a Bankruptcy, although it is ordered done by a Federal Bankruptcy Judge.

It is also NOT a Personal Bankruptcy by Trump. As he says the Banks are experts and do these mega projects for a big return without his Personal Guaranty. They want to do his deals.

Out of 300+ projects Trump developed only 4 went into a Chapter 11 Bx Workout. That is a brilliant record.

We need to use Trump's skills as a leader and deal maker and fire him after America is Great Again for the sin of being a commoner that saved our butts.

Paul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rcocean said...

No one cares that Trump went Bankrupt.

No one cares about eminent Domain

No one cares about Gay Marriage.

If you're voting based on those issues, you're out numbered 10-1 by people who care about Immigration, Jobs, Isis, social security/medicare, Obamacare, and globalization.

Paul said...

One thing traditionalguy,

The world does not work like U.S. laws. They will, as Obama now knows, lie. Lie and crawfish any agreement. What is more, they are not above killing.

Trump could make a zillion deals with Iran, North Korea, Iraq, Syria, Russian, China, Venezuela, Cuba, etc... and they would not be worth the paper they are written on cause the other countries will simply say they are in compliance.

Trump has never held office. He has never served in the military. I just see him as an idealist as far as the world. Kind of like Harry Ellis, a Nakatomi executive in the show Die Hard, that told John McClane (Bruce Willis) how he could make a deal with the terrorist Gruber and all his henchmen cause he did million dollar deals for breakfast.

I'm afraid on the world stage he would find out just how rough Putin, Hu Jintao, Kim Sung II, Sayyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei, al-Assad, etc.. really are and make some very bad judgements.

Chuck said...

What. An. Asshole.

I see comments about Trump's business brilliance.

I must-listen podcast is found at the website of the WBUR/NPR program, "On Point" with Tom Ashbrook. Ashbrook hosted author Timothy O'Brien (Bloomberg News, and "Trump Nation") as well as Politico writer Michael Kruse for a wonderfully, delightfully savage takedown of Trump's business career.

You just have to listen to this; it is so fascinating, listenable and informative. If Trump had any balls, he'd sue these guys for what they are saying about him... Except, wait; Trump DID sue O'Brien. And Trump's case was dismissed.

http://onpoint.wbur.org/2016/02/18/donald-trump-business-record

walter said...

Blogger Beldar said...
Any first year law student should be able to confirm this for you. If our host so chooses, I'm sure she can as well.
--
So..Ann??

traditionalguy said...

As to Trump threatening to sue Cruz, that was to sue him on the Canadian Natural Born Citizen also have eligibility for President by a Congress passed Statute; and he will do that if Cruz keeps lying his ass off. That does not mean suing the slimeball for lying.

But the Trumpster won't do it because he thinks other idealists will do it for him just to preserve the Constitution.



walter said...

By the way, Beldar. One of the bits that I've found intriguing at some level about Trump is his admission that he would need "the best" around him to allow for the best decisions.
If your take on his lawyer(s) is accurate, doesn't bode well.

Jeff said...

How good a businessman is Donald Trump? According to Forbes and Fortune magazines, Donald Trump is worth between 1.8 and 3.8 billion dollars. But if he had taken the $200 million he inherited from his father and invested it in a mutual fund which tracked the S&P 500 and had done nothing else, he would be worth $8.0 billion.

Trump is a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.

traditionalguy said...

@ Paul... Why are you so sure that Trump is a slow learner. He sure has learned Television and how to own cable news using nothing but entertaining political drama and a brilliant use of language. And if he can swim in NYC waters full of sharks, swimming among DC's sharks will be like a vacation.

jr565 said...

Rubio may be small, but Donald Trump is fat and bald.

walter said...

Man..we are getting into Titus territory...

traditionalguy said...

As for a short man syndrome, it is interesting that Napoleon Bonaparte was not short. That was only British Empire Propaganda.

But whatever, having good balance is better by far than being too tall.

grimson said...

@traditionalguy

Is this some of Trump's "brilliant use of language?"

And even Marco Rubio - I guess today there was something about he was - you know, picture was manufactured, and it was.... was totally Photoshopped.

walter said...

Ah..that coveted low center of gravity...

walter said...

Well..he is "tricky" in his way of capitalizing on others' comments while acting as if he's somehow distancing himself from them. "I didn't say it but..."

dwick said...

The pressure of the campaign is getting to Trump - he's very seriously becoming unhinged...

Fabi said...

@Jeff: Forbes has Trump's net worth at $4.5 billion.

Jonathan Graehl said...

"If he had ... S&P 500 ..." [I won't check the math / taxes / starting date sensitivity], then I and everyone else would fall asleep thinking about that "accomplishment" (nice diversification!). It impresses me that he's built a brand, built buildings, built golf courses, and kept - no, increased, a fortune. Did you forget lifestyle expenses? Maybe building big things is a hobby. Who exactly does this line of attack work on, anyway? How sad and boring.

Jonathan Graehl said...

Oh, we've got him! He made a typo! He made an unserious opening offer / implied threat! He got a poor quality joke cease+desist. The only thing Trump cares about with his moves is how they're perceived by the masses.

Time will tell if this strategy backfires - if the oh-so-smart aspirational elite strivers will possess and withhold the 50% that Trump has yet to prove he can attract. 40% - yes. 50%? We'll see.

Birkel said...

Trump supports single payer.

Because: Republican.

WTF?

The Cracker Emcee said...

Rcocean at 9:39,

Bang on. I swear, the ideologues of the Right have learned absolutely nothing. If the American public gave the absolute joke that is Obama eight years in the White House do you think they give a shit about Trump's shifty personal and business life? Once, just freakin once, give us a president who will fearlessly confront an issue threatening the well-being of this country (illegal immigration leaps to mind) without crawling to the media, without quivering about political correctness, without lining the pockets of a bunch of corrupt politicians, without getting a shit-load of Americans killed, and without screwing tax-paying working Americans. Incredible that such an idea is so alien to our current political class.

Phil 3:14 said...

The Russians have Putin; we have Trump. He's our sonofabitch!

Birkel said...

I would like to forestall the day of reckoning. It is my considered opinion that Obama has moved us closer to that day. George W Bush moved us closer to that day. Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich helped the US slow the decline. George HW Bush was a placeholder who moved us closer to reckoning. Reagan broke a long string of presidential failures, going back a long while.

It is my hope that a President Cruz could help America avoid the calamity that stalks her. The other candidates will merely be shifting the deck chairs on the USS USA.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Did Trump gesture with those short, stubby lil' fingers of his when discussing the letter? I wonder if he signed with a child-sized pen.

Beldar said...

@ traditionalguy: I'm a lawyer. I regularly appear in federal court, including federal bankruptcy court, on cases involving commercial real estate. And I do know what I'm talking about: I've read Trump's bankruptcy filings online.

It's not "four projects." That's simply untrue; Trump sometimes says that, but it's demonstrably inconsistent with what the court filings, made by him under oath, actually provide.

His bankruptcies have all been consolidated Chapter 11s involving multiple corporations in his empire. Not "four projects." Not "four companies." His whole empire, four times.

You're being suckered. I suspect you suspect that, but if you don't, you should learn what you're talking about before going online to try to persuade others.

Beldar said...

It is true he hasn't had a personal bankruptcy, but -- as (incredibly!) he himself brags -- he was within a hair's breadth of being put into an involuntary personal bankruptcy during his first wave of corporate bankruptcies. He brags about that as part of claiming that he's had the "greatest comeback in history," blah, blah, blah; I've even heard him exaggerate, by billions, the amounts of the debt that he defaulted on, because he thinks it makes him sound like a bigger big-shot.

I think the distinction you're groping for -- with spectacular imprecision -- is between bankruptcy reorganizations and bankruptcy liquidations. Again, I've done both kinds of cases for more than 30 years now. I was lead trial counsel for Greyhound Lines against the government and its unions in its Chapter 11, and because my team won, there was a successful Chapter 11 reorganization instead of a liquidation (which would have ended the only nation-wide bus company).

But you're embarrassing yourself, if you're capable of that, by trying to preach about legal matters here. You just don't know what you're talking about.

Beldar said...

In the actual business world, traditionalguy, Donald Trump's reputation is all about three things: (1) Re-trading every deal, always; his word is never final or binding. (2) Suing at the drop of a hat. And, most importantly: (3) Failing to perform on his biggest commitments, leading back once more to the bankruptcy courts, where he washes and rinses his companies' debts to the hardworking American investors, small businesses, and employees he's cheated. His unsecured creditors have gotten less than a penny on the dollar -- that's how spectacularly he trashes his obligations.

If he's persuaded you he's a great businessman, you're a sucker. It's that simple.

Beldar said...

traditionalguy, let me really clue you in, if you're interested.

Do you know why all of Trump's bankruptcies were in multi-company waves, where not just one company but several, even dozens, of Trump companies would declare bankruptcy?

It's because no one would loan money to Trump unless he'd pledge all his empire. His reputation and credit-worthiness was so bad (junk bond quality), and his schemes so grand (with huge borrowings that went un-repaid and sales of stock that became worthless), that he has always been mortgaged to the maximum extent. Which means that when one company defaults on a lease, for example, that's a condition of default on all of the cross-collateralized assets. When one company would go into bankruptcy, it would take them all down.

This is not smart business. This is not even smart bottom-fishing or creative use of the bankruptcy laws (which Trump's friend and secured creditor -- he got repaid more than a penny on the dollar! -- Carl Icahn has made his fortune doing.

Trump goes bankrupt not as a smart business ploy, but for the oldest of reasons: He's a terrible businessman!

Todd Roberson said...

Beldar is a lawyer.

Ann Althouse said...

@Beldar Thanks for your contributions here.

If all you say is true, why do you think Ted Cruz -- for all his reputed brilliance and extreme legalosity — has not been able to put material like that together into a surgical attack that would have already ruined Trump? He has the incentive. What's up?

AReasonableMan said...

Jeff said...
How good a businessman is Donald Trump? According to Forbes and Fortune magazines, Donald Trump is worth between 1.8 and 3.8 billion dollars. But if he had taken the $200 million he inherited from his father and invested it in a mutual fund which tracked the S&P 500 and had done nothing else, he would be worth $8.0 billion.


This has been debunked multiple times. Here for example. The biggest problem being that he didn't inherit 200 million from his father.

AReasonableMan said...

Beldar said...
Trump goes bankrupt not as a smart business ploy, but for the oldest of reasons: He's a terrible businessman!


I'm guessing Beldar was drunk by the time he wrote this. Terrible business men do not end up billionaires. This is bitter nonsense. Trump may be many things but he is not stupid when it comes to money and how to make it.

John said...

According to Forbes and Fortune magazines, Donald Trump is worth between 1.8 and 3.8 billion dollars.

You are a bit slow to get the word, Jeff.

7-8 months ago the Forbes/Bloomberg estimates were the best there was and were disputed by Trump.

Then in July Trump filed, under penalty of perjury, a 90 page financial statement with the Federal Govt. That shows a nets worth of slightly less than $10B.

So who you gonna believe, Forbes/Bloomberg or the financial statement? As far as I know nobody has questioned its accuracy, have they?

So if a good hedge fund, assuming a great rate of return, consistent over 40 years, would have given him $3B, he beat that by 3 times.

Do try to keep the facts straight.

John Henry

CStanley said...

I look at it this way: Trump clearly has made a lot of money, but along the way he made deals to leverage the wealth he had in order to make more. In doing so, he convinced people to throw their lot in with him, and many of these people lost their investments. In the end, Trump personally gained wealth, as did his family, and other people in his inner circle, but his investors lost wealth.

So the question for Trump supporters is, where do you fit into his current scheme? Personally the way I view it is that voters are like his investors- he's convincing voters to invest in him and claiming he can deliver for you. But his record shows that he will only worry about self preservation, not making good on his promises.

AReasonableMan said...

CStanley said...
So the question for Trump supporters is, where do you fit into his current scheme?


This is a legitimate question but it applies to every politician equally. Does a Harvard trained, Goldman Sachs funded lawyer really share many common interests with poor southern evangelicals?

wendybar said...

Trump is as thin skinned as Obama. He is a narcissist just like Obama...and he goes after anybody that offends him like Obama. He is liberal like Obama...as a matter of fact..I think he is the white Obama.

AReasonableMan said...

wendybar said...
I think he is the white Obama.


So he should have strong cross-over appeal making in possible for the Republicans to actually win the popular vote for once?

traditionalguy said...

Everything Beldar recited as BAD Business is what all rich Developers have done and still do during crashes of real estate markets.

Like a good lawyer, Beldar claims a victory while he actually agrees with me that Trump's infamous Bankruptcies were not Liquidations in Bankruptcy but restructurings forced on creditors by a Bankruptcy Judge.

What astounds me is Beldarwants us to see using lawyers and courts to back down attacks and get your way as Immoral acts, or something. If that is true, then close the Law Schools today. We can revert to commerce enforced by violence like El Chapo does it in Senaloa.

Big Mike said...

So he should have strong cross-over appeal making in possible for the Republicans to actually win the popular vote for once?

The Republicans regularly win the popular vote -- you should really start applying your critical thinking skills to Democrat myths. But will Trump win traditionally Democrat voters? I think you better go read what Clive Crook has written in Bloomberg. For some reason the Democrats have thrown working-class white people out of their coalition. Conventional Republicans -- especially Jeb Bush! -- have no appeal to working-class people, but Trump certainly does.

Not that I favor Trump. IMHO we've already had seven years of a thin-skinned President with infantile political instincts. Bad enough we're going to get another year of it; we don't need another four on top of that.

CStanley said...

ARM- a fair point, but with standard politicians we have history to rely on. It's a history that hasn't produced satisfactory results, which I think is why so many people are taking a leap of faith with Trump. I think there's a lot of "how much worse could it be?" type of thinking. My concern is that it could actually be much worse.

AReasonableMan said...

Big Mike said...
The Republicans regularly win the popular vote


Once, in the last six presidential elections, and that was only after the worst attack on US soil since Pearl Harbor caused the electorate to rally around the flag. Otherwise Bush Jr would have be a one term president who never won the popular vote.

AReasonableMan said...

Big Mike said...
For some reason the Democrats have thrown working-class white people out of their coalition.


While overstated, since unions regularly support the Ds, for a nominally left wing party to have so little regard for the economic interests of working people is a national disgrace. It accounts, in significant part, for the stagnation of wages for 80% of the people in the country. It is why Hillary may not get the nomination.

JSD said...

"Then in July Trump filed, under penalty of perjury, a 90 page financial statement with the Federal Govt. That shows a nets worth of slightly less than $10B.

So who you gonna believe, Forbes/Bloomberg or the financial statement? As far as I know nobody has questioned its accuracy, have they?"

These are not audited financial statements. They’re not even compiled financial statements. Under penalty of perjury?? Ha! The risk is in failing to disclose financial interests, not in over-estimating their value. Liars poker for the voter. All the valuations are just Trump chest beating horseshit. The statements would have no standing in the financial, investing and banking world. They are just fodder for the rubes.

John said...

Jsd,

We've had 7 months for someone to pick them apart

Has anyone done that?

Link pleasr.
John henry

JSD said...

They have been thoroughly picked apart by Forbes and Bloomberg. If you want insist on living in River City and being deceived by the Music Man, be my guest.

AReasonableMan said...

JSD said...
If you want insist on living in River City and being deceived by the Music Man, be my guest.


Remind me again, how many WMDs were found in Iraq?

JSD said...

ARM, sorry, but I must of missed how the conversation jumped from Trump to Bush.

AReasonableMan said...

JSD said...
I must of missed how the conversation jumped from Trump to Bush.


I will forgive you this time, but their will be demerits if this behavior continues.

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

JSD,

Got a link? Only thing I can find from Forbes is from July 15 where they stand by their estimate but say they have not yet seen the FEC statement.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erincarlyle/2015/07/15/donald-trump-says-he-is-worth-10-billion-files-personal-financial-disclosure/#725e0a86e0e9

Bloomberg in a July 28 article seems to have seen the report but ignores a number of Trump properties and their value in standing by their estimate. Doesn't provide any info on why they ignored them, either. See the Bloomberg vs FEC barchart in the article listing the various assets.

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-07-28/here-s-our-tally-of-donald-trump-s-wealth

So I call bullshit to both of them.

And you.

John Henry

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

FEC Filing is here.

First page "I certify that the statements I have made in this report are true, complete and correct to the best of my knowledge" With Trump signature.

If this report is off by a factor of 3, as you claim, seems like he should be in deep trouble. Seems like with all Trump's calling of Cruz, Rubio and others liars, they would come back and say that he lied on his financial filing.

If not them, it seems like someone else would be using this (allegedly) false filing to beat him up with to try to keep him from the nomination.

As I said in the last note. I smell bullshit and it seems to be emanating from your direction.

John Henry

rcommal said...

Heights?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/09/18/people-only-care-about-how-tall-the-2016-candidates-are-so-here/

JSD said...

In trouble with who? Trump says he owns Mar-a-Largo Club and its worth $200,000,000. I’ve been there, it’s nice. Does he own it? Yes. Is it worth $200,000,000 (net of debt)? Who knows? But to the best of his knowledge, it is. You are confusing an FEC report with a “Financial Statement”. There is no risk or penalty in being optimistic on the value. Only in failing to disclose he has a financial interest in Mar-a-Largo.

If Trump wants to say he's worth 10 billion, that’s fine. But remember that’s just his opinion. In a world of Clintonian liars, it’s the parsing of what is being said that is everything.

Beldar said...

traditionalguy, the "everybody else goes bankrupt" line is also a lie.

I live in Houston. When I'm flying home from elsewhere and I fly over the west side of Houston, along the west side of Loop 610, I see what's commonly referred to as the "Galleria area" -- one of the world most wonderful mixed-use neighborhoods, home to some of the best shopping and dining anywhere, home to tens of thousands of good jobs, beautiful buildings and landscaping, the very best our city has to offer. The downtown skyline boasts several Hines buildings, three of which I've had the pleasure of working in at various times in my legal career. They define what "Class A space" means.

I had the privilege of representing the man whose vision that reflects. He's a real estate developer named Gerald Hines, and he's one of the world's premiere creators of communities. He's a philanthropist, too, although he doesn't very often put his name on things.

That is the example of the kind of man who Trump pretends to be. But Donald Trump isn't fit to lick the soles of Gerald Hines' feet.

You know nothing about the business world if you think Trump is representative of it. You're being fooled on a spectacular level -- and I'm convinced that you want to be fooled. Congratulations, then: You've made yourself into the Club of Trump Suckers. The door prize is a toupee made of rodent hair.

Beldar said...

Oh by the way: Both a liquidation and a reorganization are "bankruptcies." In both, the debtor is insolvent -- by definition, unable to pay its obligations as they come due. Yes, there have been assets mortgaged to back Trump's promises, and some of those assets had enough value that they could be stripped off and re-packaged and handed over to Trump's creditors for them to run as ongoing businesses, without Trump's involvement. That's how Carl Icahn, notorious corporate raider and bottom-fisher, came to own Trump's New Jersey casino properties.

But that's not a win of any sort for Donald Trump. His investments in his bankrupt companies have been wiped out. Of course, he learned from his first wave of bankruptcies that he'd been too generous in making personal guarantees. Since then, it's mostly other investors' money that he's squandered. But Donald Trump has wiped out multiple fortunes and left a trail of economic devastation behind him that runs into the tens of billions of dollars. He's been a regular engine of economic destruction.

Nowadays almost his entire empire consists of businesses owned and controlled by others, to whom he licenses the "Trump Brand" and from whom he gets royalties. If you look at his disclosures, almost all of his net worth is speculative -- fantasized, really -- attendant to the "Trump Brand."

This amounts to "I'm a billionaire because people think I'm a billionaire."

He's a grand phony. Anyone who's still falling for this deserves the sucker hat they're wearing. But you could still take it off, if you'll only open your eyes and wise up.

Beldar said...

@ aReasonableMan, who wrote: "Terrible business men do not end up billionaires."

Oh yes they do, when their daddy hands them the fortune!

That's what Trump's dad did. And his daddy had to continue propping him up even after that, e.g., through the illegal $3.5M casino chip scam.

My goodness, you're among the most gullible people on the internet.

Beldar said...

@ Prof. A: Thanks, and you're right that Cruz could, and I don't know why he hasn't. My guess is that he's still trying to avoid alienating Trump fans whom he wants to pick up after Trump drops or is forced from the race. We'll see today whether that's going to happen before the winner-take-all primaries start. But if it doesn't, no one has any choice about whether to continue holding fire against Trump, even if it makes the suckers who've bought into his spiel feel like the suckers they are.

Donald Trump can't stop being a con man, but the suckers can walk away before they get fleeced. Once they cast a vote for Trump, though, they'll be written into history as permanent suckers.

Beldar said...

@ tangoman, who wrote: "I suspect that what you're missing is the fact that the threat of suit and the letter itself are merely props used by Trump to drive a message about Cruz being a liar."

Even if it's an empty threat, one Trump never intends to make good on -- and I agree with you, this was that, exactly! -- why would you hire a lawyer to make it who's so spectacularly clueless about the very most basic parts of the legal threat being made?

You see the fact that Trump has hired a stupid lawyer to make a stupid litigation threat to be a plus for Donald Trump? My goodness, that's twisted and foolish.

My clients get the benefit of my resume and track record when they hire me; it comes as part of the package. Sometimes they hire me specifically because of my resume and track record, e.g., when I've beaten the other side in a previous trial, or when I've won a similar case.

But your threat of litigation has no more force that the credibility of the lawyer making it. Trump picked a lawyer who's almost certainly one of his regular counsel -- his firm does real estate law in Manhattan, and this guy supposedly is the head of their litigation practice -- but who, in making this sort of threat, has no inherent credibility. And he certainly had none left after anyone read this ridiculous excuse of a letter.

Trump! He's going to win by losing, the successor doctrine to leading from behind!

Joe said...

Jeff, your math is off by a factor of twenty. Based on actual stock market performance, had Trump followed your advice, his net worth would be about $300 million today. Not bad, but nowhere close to what he's actually worth.

Beldar said...

One last salvo, traditionalguy, since you repeated here Trump's lie about how lenders want to do his deals and don't require personal guarantees.

Trump has to pay junk-bond interest rates because his credit is so bad. Are there lenders who're willing to lend money at spectacularly high rates, if there's some collateral that can be seized when the loan defaults? Oh yes. That's exactly what has led to each of his waves of bankruptcy! Trump's never able to make good on his wildly overoptimistic business plans, so he can never service the debt load, so his companies default and they're forced to either file for bankruptcy themselves or be forced into it through an involuntary filing by a creditor.

But let's look at one specific project, if you'd like. Trump had already taken his empire through Chapter 11 a couple or three times when he was negotiating the financing for what's now the Trump International Hotel in Chicago. There's no doubt that it's a premiere property with real value, so of course it's possible to borrow money against it, even before it was built.

But the lenders insisted that Trump sign a personal $40M guarantee of his companies' debts. Why? Why bother? The total debt on the project was close to a billion, and a $40M guarantee wouldn't come remotely close to covering that kind of default. So why'd they insist?

Because they made a mistake: They thought that if Trump had at least $40M of personal skin in the game, that might deter him from taking this project, too, into either outright insolvency or restructuring negotiations driven by that prospect.

Sure enough, Trump's companies defaulted, so the lenders called on Trump to honor his $40M personal guarantee.

Of course, he didn't. He sued. He claimed "act of God." I don't know, maybe he couldn't come up with the cash -- he's notoriously cash-poor by the standards of the people who're investing at this level. In any event, these lenders learned to their dismay that you can't shame the shameless.

Trump managed to stall things until the economy improved enough that he could sell off most of the little bit of personal equity he had in the project to get the litigation settled after years of stalling. The lenders finally gave up on trying to ever get Donald Trump to keep his word. But they'll never touch Donald Trump again, I assure you of that, and he couldn't put together a new project like that if his life depended on it.

AReasonableMan said...

Beldar said...
yes they do, when their daddy hands them the fortune!


I find this kind of class envy very disturbing.

Beldar said...

I don't envy the class of people who -- just to pick one example -- finds it necessary to break the law by making a secret $3.5M loan to my kid's failing casino by buying chips that never touch a gambling table.

I don't envy Bernie Maidoff either, even though he was very, very rich for a time.

I wrote above about someone I admire, someone who's the kind of real estate developer who brings value to the world.

But Trump is a cancer. I don't envy cancer.

Mike said...

Althouse: Still, if someone is lying about you and you do nothing...

Are you aware that the commercial in question consisted entirely of clips of Trump publicly stating views 180 degrees out of phase with his current stances? He won't sue! He'd be a fool to open up himself to deposition by Cruz.

Beldar said...

This is probably the best media account I've run across that summarizes Trump's four waves of corporate bankruptcies (1991, 1992, 2004 and 2009).

In his 2004 filing, for example, it wasn't just one deal, or one company. Here's the list of Trump companies that it involved from day one (a list that was later expanded as more companies tumbled into the abyss and were joined):

1. THCR/LP Corporation
2. Trump Plaza Associates
3. Trump Marina Associates, L.P.
4. Trump Indiana Realty, LLC
5. Trump Indiana Casino Management, LLC
6. THCR Management Holdings, LLC
7. THCR Management Services, LLC
8. THCR Enterprises, LLC
9. THCR Enterprises, Inc.
10. Trump Internet Casino, LLC
11. Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Development Company, LLC
12. Trump Atlantic City Associates
13. Trump Casino Holdings, LLC
14. Trump Casino Funding, Inc.
15. Trump Atlantic City Funding, Inc.
16. Trump Marina, Inc.
17. Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Holdings, L.P.
18. Trump Atlantic City Holding, Inc.
19. Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, Inc.
20. THCR Holding Corp.
21. Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Funding, Inc.
22. Trump Plaza Funding, Inc.
23. Trump Atlantic City Funding II, Inc.
24. Trump Atlantic City Funding III, Inc
25. Trump Atlantic City Corporation
26. Trump Taj Mahal Associates
27. Trump Indiana, Inc.
28. THCR Ventures, Inc.

Beldar said...

Trump's list of unsecured creditors who got screwed over in the 2004 bankruptcy is too long to repeat here. It's a list that filled 1904 pages, with a dozen or so separate listings on every single page.

Every one of those is a person or company who relied on Donald Trump, who risked money or extended credit, and who ended up with less than $0.01 on the dollar.

You guys have no clue how much economic devastation this SOB has inflicted on hardworking Americans.

AReasonableMan said...

Trump wins SC.

Todd Roberson said...

Beldar is a lawyer ... Who apparently has countless hours on his hands to write 2000 word ripostes.

Most layers work by the hour. Curious.