Donald Trump's Most Impressive Recent Business Deal Wasn't Even His Doing

The Trump National Doral
The Trump National Doral
Photo: Andreas Sandberg | WikiCommons

Turns out Donald Trump's most successful business move of the past decade wasn't Trump Steaks, Trump University, or the Miss Universe Pageant. Nope, not at all. According to personal financial documents Trump released yesterday, of his more than 150 business ventures, by far the biggest moneymaker was the Trump National Doral Miami Golf Resort. 

Yes, the West Miami-Dade golf club and hotelwas the crown jewel of Trump's business empire for the second year in a row (disclosures released in 2015 near the beginning of his presidential campaign also showed the resort as the biggest moneymaker). 

The resort generated $131,892,107 in revenue in the past year. That's up from the $49 million Trump said the club made in the previous filing. 

Apparently, Trump's bombastic campaign rhetoric and feud with both the resort's residential and corporate neighbors couldn't keep golfers away from the famous courses like the Blue Monster. 

Of course, Trump is running a campaign based on his supposed business acumen and famed dealmaking tactics, so maybe it's worth noting that Trump himself had little to do with his own company's best recent deal. 

Donald Trump's Most Impressive Recent Business Deal Wasn't Even His Doing

In fact, it's his daughter Ivanka Trump who is publicly credited with pursuing the purchase and renovation of the former Doral Golf Resort & Spa. 

“It was her deal,” Trump told Forbes in 2013

"The Doral deal also marks a growing role in the company by Mr. Trump's daughter Ivanka, one of his five children," the Wall Street Journal reported in 2011. "She was one of the lead negotiators with Paulson and Winthrop, according to people familiar with the matter."

The club was originally opened in 1963 by developer Alfred Kaskel but fell into financial trouble by the 2010s. The Trump Organization bought the property out of bankruptcy in 2012 for a reported $150 million and has reversed the resort's fortunes. That's quite a deal, considering Morgan Stanley had paid $500 million for the resort in 2007 and the real estate alone could be worth up to $1 billion. 

“I’m not sure Donald appreciates her enough,” a person with experience in negotiating with both Trumps told Forbes. “He’s kind of an old-school, seat-of-the-pants type of dealmaker. She’s the opposite: She’s done the work and put in the time. When she asks for something, she has all the research to back it up.”

In fact, the story goes that Ivanka negotiated the deal while nine months pregnant and closed it just five days after giving birth.

Sure, Donald Trump has made millions of deals of his own. That's something he certainly boasts about on the campaign trail, but perhaps it's worth keeping in mind that the deal that's currently making him the most money is one he didn't even make. 


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