[Marxism] Donald, the deals and the mafia dons

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Aug 17 19:20:35 MDT 2017


The Australian, August 16, 2017 Wednesday
Donald, the deals and the mafia dons
By Cameron Stewart WASHINGTON

When Donald Trump was a fast-rising property developer in the early 
1980s, he decided to build his signature casino complex in -Atlantic 
City, New Jersey - a town where construction was ruled by the mob.

The problem for the brash New Yorker was that part of the land he wanted 
for his casino was owned by Salvie Testa and Frank Nar-ducci Jr, mafia 
hitmen known as the Young Executioners.

They worked for Atlantic City mob boss Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo. 
Even so, Trump did the deal, eventually buying the land for $US1.1 
million, about twice the market price for the 465sq m block that had 
sold five years earlier for $US195,000.

It is deals such as this that have long fuelled rumours of Trump's 
associations and connections with the mafia.

As The Australian reveals today, the NSW Police Board was so concerned 
about Trump's suspected mafia connections in -Atlantic City that, in 
1987, it recom-mended that Trump's bid to build the Darling Harbour 
casino be rejected.

"Atlantic City would be a dubious model for Sydney and, in our judgment, 
the Trump mafia connections should exclude the Kern/Trump consortium," 
the board concluded, according to NSW government cabinet minutes from 1987.

Trump has consistently denied his dealings with any suspected mobsters 
ever crossed the line. But he has admitted that almost everyone involved 
in building casinos in Atlantic City in the 1980s used mob-linked companies.

"You had contractors that were supposedly mob-oriented all over Atlantic 
City," he said once. "Every single casino company used the same 
companies." Trump has never been charged in relation to any 
mafia-related links, an outcome that some attrib-ute more to luck than 
ethics.

David Cay Johnston, who has written a book on the casino business and 
has covered Trump's business dealings for 27 years, told Politico 
Magazine: "Thanks in part to the laxity of New Jersey gaming 
investigators, Trump has never had to address his dealings with mobsters 
and swindlers head-on.

"Some of Trump's unsavoury connections have been followed by 
investigators and substantiated in court, some haven't. When confronte-d 
with evidence of such -associations, Trump has often claimed a faulty 
memory." By the late 80s, when Trump was bidding to build the casino at 
Darling Harbour, his business dealings in New York and Atlantic City had 
involved mafia-connect-ed companies.

In New York, Trump became a major customer of a concrete company 
controlled by mafia bosses Anthony "Fat Tony" Salerno and "Big Paul" 
Cast-ellano when he built the Trump Tower and Trump Plaza buildings. 
Salerno was head of the -Genoese crime family while Castellano was don 
of the Gambino crime family.

Wayne Barrett, the author of Trump: the Deals and the Downfall, wrote 
that Trump chose to purchase overpriced concrete from the 
mobster-controlled companies, perhaps to ensure there were no delays to 
the projects. "There was a certain amount of mob -association during 
(the -period which his) father and he were building which was very 
difficult to avoid in the New York construction world," Barrett wrote. 
"He (Trump) went out of his way not to avoid them, but to increase 
them." Writes Johnston: "Trump had no reason to personally fear Salerno- 
or Castellano, at least not once he agreed to pay inflated concrete- 
prices. What Trump -appeared to receive in return was union peace. That 
meant the project would never face costly construction or delivery 
delays." When Salerno was convicted and sent to prison, his indictment 
listed an $US8m concrete contract at Trump Plaza.

Barrett believes Trump met Salerno at the townhouse of Trump's former 
New York fixer, Roy Cohn, who had connections to the mob. Trump denies 
it, -although a staffer of Cohn told Barrett she was at the meeting.

"Instead of looking for the witnesses … the New Jersey Division of 
Gaming Enforcement took an easier path," Johnston writes. "They put 
Trump under oath and asked if he had ever attended such a meeting. Trump 
denied it. The inquiry ended." Trump has admitted the concrete company 
that helped build Trump Tower and Trump Plaza, S&A Concrete, was 
"supposedly associated with the mob", but it was chosen because it was good.

"Virtually every building that was built was built with these 
companies," Trump said in a 2015 -interview with The Wall Street 
Journal. "These guys were excellent contractors. They were phenomenal. 
They could do three floors a week in concrete. Nobody else in the world 
could do three floors a week." A New Jersey state commission's 1986 
report on organised crime said the Trump Plaza and Casino in Atlantic 
City was eventually built with the help of two construction companies 
controlled- by Scarfo and his nephew Philip "Crazy Phil" Leonetti.

Trump has never shaken off speculation about the extent of his dealings 
with the mafia and he was forced to deny his connections during the 
election campaign.

Johnston wrote last year: "No other candidate for the White House has 
anything close to Trump's record of repeated social and business 
dealings with mobsters, swindlers and other crooks." Trump rival Ted 
Cruz asked during the Republican primaries whether Trump's refusal to 
release his tax records was linked to his -alleged dealings with the 
mob. "There have been multiple media reports about Donald's business 
dealings with the mob," Cruz said. "Maybe his taxes show those business 
dealings are a lot more extensive than has ever been reported." The 
White House referred questions to the Trump Organisation, which did not 
respond.Cameron Stewart is The Australian's Washington correspondent and 
Sky News's US contributor








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