Donald Trump is one of today’s best examples of a success story. Driven, focused and unrelenting, he seems to surmount even the most impossible business odds. So how did the “Donald” get to where he is today?His story is more interesting than you think.
The Young Trump
Donald John Trump was born on June 14, 1946 in Queens to Frederick Trump, a builder and real estate developer and his wife Mary MacLeod Trump whom he married in 1936.
As a young boy Donald Trump was an energetic and assertive child and his worried parents sent him to the New York Military Academy at 13, hoping the school would channel his energy in a more positive manner. The school’s discipline did do him good and Trump went on to earn academic honors and even played in the varsity football and baseball teams, the latter of which he captained in 1964.
After graduating from NYMA he attended Fordham University but only spent two years there before transferring to the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania were he graduated in 1968 with a degree in Economics.
Early business life
Trump joined his father’s company, the Elizabeth Trump & Son, which built middle-class rental housing in the Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island boroughs in New York. He wanted to expand the company and was able to persuade his father to be more liberal in the loans based on the equity in the Trump apartment complexes. In 1971 he moved to Manhattan where he was able to familiarize himself with influential people. By then he had realized this was a place where he could build his dreams.
After the Pennsylvania Central Railroad declared bankruptcy, Trump got a lead on a lot at the railroad yards on the west side but when it proved unfeasible for apartments he promoted the site as the location for a city convention center. He offered to forego a fee if the center would be named after his family but the city turned it down.
In 1974 Trump acquired one of Pennsylvania Central’s oldest hotels, The Commodore, which was not earning money at the time but strategically located next to Grand Central Station.The following year he signed a partnership with Hyatt Hotel Corp. which did not have a presence in the area. He then completely renovated the building and it successfully opened as the Grand Hyatt in 1980.
But the building that would bring him to the attention of the world had yet to rise. A year earlier in 1979 he had leased a site on Fifth Avenue, which was to be the future site of Trump Tower. The 58-story building opened in 1982 and impressed visitors with its six-story atrium lined with pink marble and an 80-foot waterfall.
Trump wanted in on the casino scene and already got his gambling license as early as 1977. He bought property in Atlantic City and got a partnership offered by Holiday Inns Corp. which operated Harrah’s Casino.In 1982 a Harrah’s Casino opened at the Trump Plaza but Trump later brought out Holiday Inn in 1986 and renamed the it the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino.He was not idle in Atlantic City either, where he bought a Hilton casino hotel and later the Taj Mahal.
He never planned to stop development in New York. In 1985 he bought a 76 acres on the west side of Manhattan to build a complex to be called Television City, upon which was to rise a mall, a riverfront park and a dozen skyscrapers. Opposition by the local community delayed the construction of the project.Always wary for any opportunity, Trump also set his eyes south and built a condominium project in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Much later in 2000, a state appeals court ruled that Trump had the right to finish an 856-foot-tall condominium after an interest group sued the city, claiming that it was violating zoning laws by allowing Trump to build over everything else in the neighborhood. New York has since revised the zoning laws to allow such projects.
But all his success might not have come to pass. In 1990 the real estate market declined and the value of income of Trump’s empire was drastically decreased. His own net worth was cut down by almost two-thirds from $1.7 billion to $500 million. Only a massive infusion of loans kept it from collapsing, and just when everybody had counted him out Trump brought his company back, coming close to worth $2 billion in 1997.
Personal life of “The Donald”
His personal life was almost as watched as his business life. He married thrice and divorced twice. He was first married to Ivana but then later divorced. He married again this time to actress Marla Maples who gave him a daughter before they married in 1993. In1997 he filed for divorce from her which was finalized in 1999.In January 2005 Trump married model Melania Knauss.
One of Trump’s more colorful friends is World Wrestling Federation Chairman Vince McMahon. Trump often guested on wrestling specials where they would make bets.The most famous one was where they each picked a wrestler to fight for them and the winner would shave the loser’s head. Trump got to keep his hair.
Another famous character he was associated with was controversial boxer “Iron” Mike Tyson. At one time Trump acted as his financial adviser and even hosted his fight against Michael Spinks in Atlantic City.
In 2004 Trump also starred in the NBC reality series The Apprentice which quickly became a hit. Contestants were often dismissed from the show with his trademark line “you’re fired.”
Trump is also called, though maybe never in his presence, “The Donald”, a nickname adopted by the media after his first wife Ivana called him that during an interview.After rumors spread that his fear of germs stops him from shaking other people’s hands, Trump debunked this by shaking hands repeatedly during a visit to New Hampshire in April 2011, calling it a “rumor that enemies say.”
Trump for president?
On October 1999, Trump said he formed a committee to look into his decision whether or not to seek the Reform Party’s nomination for the 2000 presidential elections.
In 2012 he again publicly announced he was considering running for president again, but by this time his reputation has been tarnished by his association with the “Birther movement” a group that still believes President Barack Obama was not born in the US, he later backed out but is still a staunch critic of the President.
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