Monday, December 28, 2015

What is it like to do business with Donald Trump?

Max Kraft, Investor, real estate entrepreneur, former hedge fund analyst, idealist
133.8k Views • Upvoted by Steve Waddington, CEO, Director, CIO, Engineering Manager.
During a college internship interview I was asked by a Credit Suisse real estate investment banker who my heroes in real estate were. I said Donald Trump.
He said Donald Trump is an awful person to look up to in business. In an earlier part of his career Donald took exceptional risks on real estate developments and acquisitions. Credit Suisse was a lender on at least one of those deals and this banker had business dealings with Donald Trump. When the deals went bad he said Donald took every opportunity to screw over lenders, contractors, and everyone involved by dragging out the process in bankruptcy court and bleeding the properties. This banker told me Donald is always willing to say and do anything imaginable to maximize his personal benefit without regard for ethics or anything else.

Steve PerryReading and thinking about this stuff for around 50 years.
17.7k Views • Upvoted by Steve Waddington, CEO, Director, CIO, Engineering Manager.
I have a good friend who was a VP of development with the Ramada hotel corporation who had negotiations with him in the early 90s.  He said that he was blustery, loud and pretentious, basically insufferable, he would negotiate like a bully over a lot of trivial issues, he would rage and pout and that in the end he and others would just roll over on some of those issues simply because they couldn't stand dealing with him.  I get the impression that he was someone who they tolerated as best that they could, and someone they preferred not to do business with.

10.1k Views • Upvoted by Vladimir Novakovski, Hedge funds, technology
Ivanka Trump interviewed me and hired me to work for Trump Org last year. My work was there was only 8 months, and it was project-based and not in New York. I met and interacted with Donald Trump several times during this period last year, before the announcement.
Donald Trump was very much "hands-on" during the construction process. He relied on Ivanka for interior design and delegated that to her about like any exec would delegate to a trusted department head - almost completely but with touch points at critical points.
As far as construction, he left that to us, as we were on schedule with our part, and concentrated entirely on the golf experience (which was his passion on this project). Also, he had greatly expanded the scope of part of the project (the Clubhouse) and spent a lot of his on-site time on that. I have personal knowledge that he paid all his bills, though for sure he negotiated And did not pay carte blanche. I know the construction execs for the company that went out of scope, at risk, and they got paid and are still working for the Trump Org. I dwell on this only because another Quoran reports that Trump behaves dIfferently In business.
He was the visionary for the project and strong about his vision, but I witnessed several instances, some of which were no small matters, where he listened to advice from others and changed his direction.
As to hotel operations, he left that almost completely to others, whom he trusted. I never saw anyone "fired", and certainly not by him. More on that below.
People who worked with him for a long time adored him and many had good storlies about him. He's very loyal to people on his team. He's busy all the time and all the information about not drinking is absolutely true. He's a fan of regular working people and came to the employee cantina to thank everyone. He regularly took time to talk one-on-one with staff, especially if he recognized them from previous visits.
Trump is not a blue blood and had detractors among the Palm Beach and Manhattan old money elite for all his life. He's been kept out of clubs and made fun of by elitist money-people who make fun of him in some of the ways the media makes fun of him now. I mention this because I saw something develop that might be relevant to the question.

The five-star hotel business is run by people who have been around these blue bloods and make their careers managing the hospitality needs of these types. (The rest of us are just there to make RevPAR). Meaning that there are people who know for sure that they know more about managing a five star resort than Trump does. The caricature of Trump would have him firing such people in a board room. But that isn't what happened. Trump worked with him and his team and made changes to support the expert. All was done quietly and professionally behind the scenes.
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