Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s casino ventures in Atlantic City have been connected to the mafia. The shocking revelations of the faux-billionaire businessman’s connections were discovered by the Wall Street Journal.
In the 1980s when Trump was struggling to get his casino business of the ground, the FBI became involved in his dealings. Trump had a business partner named Kenneth Shapiro who the FBI identified as an “agent of the Philadelphia mob.” Shapiro owned some of the land where Trump was attempting to build his casino, and Shapiro worked for known gangster Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo. The same plot of land was also partially owned by Daniel Sullivan, a union leader with friends in the mafria. It turns out Sullivan was later turned as an FBI informant.
While Trump acknowledged that what the FBI was saying was likely true he turned a blind eye to the criminal connections and said in a 1982 regulatory meeting, “They are not bad people from what I see.”
After the construction of Trump’s casinos his ties to the mob were not over, as his venue became the favorite place for the mafioso type to frequent. Robert LiButti was a New York gangster and top confidant of famed NY crime boss John Gotti. Over the course of three years from 1986 to 1989 LiButti lost $11 million in Trump’s casinos. Trump denies having any personal connection to LiButti saying he had, “nothing to do with him.” However, the head of Trump’s casino, Jack O’Donnell, recalls the relationship between the two quite differently. O’Donnell said, “It isn’t like Trump saw LiButti once or twice. He spent time with him, saw him multiple times.”
The depths of Trump’s dealings, and what special accommodations he made to the mobsters to be able to build on their land, are not fully known. One can suspect Trump sealed the deal with more than a Whitman’s Sampler.