For the fourth time in 14 years, casino companies owned by Donald J. Trump, the businessman turned pop-culture icon, have filed for bankruptcy.
This time, Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts Inc. is buried under $1.8 billion in IOUs.
But despite the resounding flop, Trump is keeping his title as chairman and chief executive.
And the filing won't drastically hurt Trump's personal wealth, which is estimated at $2.6 billion by Forbes magazine, making him America's 74th-richest person.
Trump, the tireless self-promoter now seen by millions on the NBC hit show, The Apprentice, said he doesn't see bankruptcy as a stigma or defeat, but as an opportunity to fix the finances of the money-losing company.
"This represents less than 1 percent of my net worth," Trump said yesterday. "It doesn't mean much financially from my personal standpoint but I think it's going to be very important in the future. I think it's going to be a great company."
Officials for the publicly held company had been negotiating with creditors since this summer to work out agreeable terms.
On Sunday, Trump Hotels and more than 27 related holding companies officially made their Chapter 11 filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Camden, N.J.
The properties included the Taj Mahal and Trump Plaza in Atlantic City.
A Chapter 11 filing allows a company to keep operating and protects it from creditors while managers work out a plan to pay off debts.
As part of a deal worked out with creditors in October, Trump will put in $71.4 million of his own money into the company.
Trump will also get the former site of the World's Fair in Atlantic City and a 25 percent stake in the Miss Universe pageant, but Trump's ownership stake will be cut to 27 percent from 56 percent.
The bankruptcy may not be the end of Trump's problems.
Analysts point to rising competition from inside Atlantic City such as the Borgata Hotel & Casino, and the spread of gambling to nearby Connecticut and New York.
"Trump made the mistake of over-leveraging and under-investing in his properties," Egan said.
Trump himself was unbowed.
"There's more competition, but we have the hottest brand in the business. I'm the biggest developer in New York. My show is the hottest show in television," Trump said.
"I think it's going to be terrific. Call me in a year, and I'll show you I'm right."
Newsday is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.