Sitting here the other day in the library of his house with 40 rooms, 11 fireplaces, four pianos, a wine cellar, a movie theater and an elevator, Marvin Roffman talked about the time Donald Trump tried to destroy him for telling the truth.
"Brutal," said Roffman, 76, wearing loafers, khaki shorts and a pink polo, his elaborate gardens and the sixth hole of the Kings Creek Country Club golf course visible through the windows.
"I'm telling you," he said. "Trump is a brutal guy."
This was March of 1990. Roffman was a veteran securities analyst. He had focused on the gaming industry in Atlantic City since the first casinos opened in 1978. He knew the market as well as anyone and had watched closely as Trump made a typically bold entrance with Trump Plaza and Trump's Castle in 1984 and 1985. Now the New York real estate tycoon was about to open his third casino, by far his biggest, most lavish and most shakily financed one yet, the Trump Taj Mahal. Roffman was skeptical. He told a reporter from the Wall Street Journal the Taj would fail.
What happened next was straight out of Trump 101. The "people I don't take too seriously," he had written in 1987 in The Art of the Deal, "are the critics—except when they stand in the way of my projects." Roffman was in the way. Trump bombarded him with invective, threatened to sue his employer, demanded his firing and then publicly assailed him some more. The fact that Roffman's assessment was grounded in reality—that he would prove to be right—didn't stop Trump from attacking Roffman. It was the reason for it.
Labels: Donald Trump