IN THE EARLY 1980s it was decided—by whom, and for what ultimate purpose, we can’t say for sure—that Donald John Trump would build a casino complex in Atlantic City, New Jersey—probably the most mobbed-up municipality in the state. Dealing with the mafia might have dissuaded some developers from pursuing a Boardwalk Empire, but not Trump. He was uniquely suited to forge ahead.
Donald’s father, the Queens real estate developer Fred Trump, had worked closely with Genovese-associated and -owned construction entities since building the Shore Haven development in 1947, when Donald was still in diapers (the first time around).
Fred was an early mob adopter, the underworld equivalent of an investor who bought shares of Coca-Cola stock in 1919. The timelines is important to remember here. Organized crime did not exist in any meaningful way in the United States until Prohibition. Born in 1905, Fred Trump was just two years younger than Meyer Lansky, the gangster who more or less invented money laundering. Thus, Donald Trump is second generation mobbed-up.
When Donald first ventured from Queens to the pizzazzier borough of Manhattan in the seventies, he entered into a joint business deal with “Big” Paul Castellano, head of the Gambino syndicate, and Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno, of the Genovese family he knew well through his father and their mutual lawyer Roy Cohn.
As part of this arrangement, Trump agreed to buy concrete from a company operated jointly by the two families—and pay a hefty premium for the privilege. Only then, with double mob approval, could he move forward with the Trump Tower and Trump Plaza projects. (Among Cohn’s other clients at the time was Rupert Murdoch, whom he introduced to Trump in the seventies; you would be hard pressed to find three more atrocious human beings). Read more..
I encourage everyone to read the State of New Jersey Department of Gaming Enforcement investigation report on the allegations against Donald John Trump in the Wayne Barrett book Trump: The Deals and the Downfall.
The late Bob Levinson was the FBI’s best Russian mob fighter. His Ivankov testimony is also essential reading.
The photo at the top is the Greek, from The Wire—the best show in the history of television.