Newsweek published this story under the headline of “Citizen Trump” on September 28, 1987. Newsweek is republishing the story.
Donald Trump, America’s brash billionaire, wants the land Harry Stein’s restaurant-equipment store stands on, and he wants it badly. It’s behind Trump Plaza, a hotel and casino in Atlantic City that on a good day drops roughly $ 2 million into its owner’s pocket. Where the Steins’ store now stands, Trump wants to build a huge wall and turn it into a waterfall—a $ 4 million touch. If he can buy out Harry Stein and knock down the building, the waterfall will look better. The Stein family has been in business in Atlantic City for more than 90 years; Harry and his son Bill sit alone with Trump in a windowless casino office. No lawyers, no bankers, no aides.
“I don’t really need your land,” Trump says, calmly and politely, “and, as you know, land prices aren’t nearly what they were a few years ago. And I’ll put up the wall anyway. Once we decide to build the wall, I will have zero interest in your building. So give me a number. All I want to know is if we have a deal.”
The Steins fidget. “We were looking for $ 200 a square foot.”
“Three years ago I’d have given it to you.”
“It will cost us $ 1.5 million to move.”
“But you’ll save a fortune in taxes. The price you’re asking is far above what I paid others. The alternative I have is to preclude you forever. Once I don’t buy it, I don’t believe the property will have any value. The gravy train is leaving the station.”
Trump tells the Steins to call his New York office in a week. He shakes hands and…
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