Questions About Trump Casinos’ Taxes, Hard Rock Buys Miami Stadium Naming Rights

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NYT Investigates Connection Between Trump Casinos’ Tax Burden Being Lifted and NJ Gov. Christie

According to an investigation published this week in The New York Times, by the early 2010s current Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump‘s casinos owed nearly $30 million in back taxes, with the state of New Jersey having battled in court for six years in an attempt to collect what was owed. However, in December 2011 the state agreed to a settlement that saw it collect just $5 million of what had been owed.

The NYT suggests a connection between the tax burden being reduced and Governor Chris Christiehaving taken office a year before, noting how after he had “the tone of the litigation shifted” before the settlement was reached. Noting that while legal experts agree tax authorities will sometimes settle in order to avoid prolonged litigation and possible non-payment, “the steep discount granted to the Trump casinos and the relationship between the two men raise inevitable questions about special treatment.”

Christie was himself a candidate for president, vying against Trump for the Republican nomination. After dropping out of the race, Christie became an outspoken supporter of Trump, including speaking in favor of his candidacy at the Republican National Convention in July.

“The refusal by Mr. Trump… to release his personal income tax returns has become a growing issue in the campaign,” the NYT continues, noting how the candidate has “boasted of his success in lowering his tax burden as a businessmen, declaring last year in an interview on Fox News that only ‘a stupid person, a really stupid person, is paying a lot of taxes.'”

“Public records do not create a clear picture of how the agreement was reached,” the article pointedly notes before describing in detail Trump’s casinos’ bankruptcy cases.

Trump’s involvement in Atlantic City casinos dates back several decades. The Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino that operated from 1984 to 2014 before closing. In 1985 another casino opened,Trump’s Castle, renamed Trump Marina in 1997 and ultimately sold in 2001. Trump additionally took over ownership of the Resorts Casino Hotel in 1987, which was taken over by lenders in 2010.

Meanwhile the long-embattled Trump Taj Mahal that first opened in 1990 announced earlier this month that it will be closing in early September following the Labor Day Weekend. That property is currently owned by billionaire Carl Icahn who helped Trump Entertainment Resorts emerge from bankruptcy court protection earlier this year by making the company a subsidiary of Icahn Enterprises.

For more on the curious story of Trump’s casinos’ New Jersey taxes, check out the NYT’s feature.