Kris McCormick and his mother Erla. Photo by Colin Graf

A Sarnia, Ontario, woman and her disabled son are appealing to the provinces Human Rights Tribunal to force a local agency to pay him more than the 46 cents [$0.35 USD] an hour hes been earning for his work. Erla McCormick says that rate–23 times lower than Ontarios minimum wage of $10.79 an hour–is what her son Kris has earned at a workshop for adults with intellectual disabilities over the past ten years.

I cant start my car for that, so how is he expected to make a life that way? she said in an interview with VICE.

Kris, a soft-spoken 38-year-old, helps make crates, cremation boxes, surveyors stakes, and similar items at Wawanosh Enterprises, a special workshop run by the local agency that supports adults like Kris and their families, his mother explained. A recent paycheck gave Kris $12 for 28 hours he spent at the workshop, run by Community Living Sarnia-Lambton.

The idea that paying 46 cents an hour because someone has a disability is a clear violation of the [Ontario Human Rights] Code, said Toronto lawyer Mindy Noble, who launched the application to the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal for the McCormicks. The McCormicks are asking for $25,000 [$19,000 USD] for damages to Kriss dignity, and for him to be paid minimum wage in the future, Noble told VICE.

The Tribunal will hear the case, only the second of its kind in the province, next March in Sarnia.

In 2014, Nobles group, the Human Rights Legal Support Centre of Toronto, helped a developmentally delayed woman from St. Catharines, Ontario get a judgement for over $180,000 [$136,000 USD] in back wages and damages. The tribunal found that the woman, Terri-Lynn Garrie, was discriminated against at her job in a packaging plant. She earned only $1.25 an hour, while others without disabilities doing the same job alongside her earned minimum wage. However, Garrie has not collected a cent so far because the company closed, and her employers declared personal bankruptcy, Noble says.

Community Living is defending its payment program, saying it is not a workplace.

The Wawanosh workshop in Sarnia is a day support program for people with disabilities like Kris, and isnt like a workplace, said John Hagens, executive director of the Community Living agency. His clients spend some of their time with sewing or woodworking tasks, and the products are sold to help fund the program, he says. But they also have valuable social time they might not get otherwise during their days at Wawanosh, and work only when they want to, he added. The money is not a wage, but rather an honorarium, paid no matter how many hours the clients work, Hagens says.

Wawanosh Enterprise. Photo by Colin Graf

Erla McCormick agrees the service is a respite for parents and caregivers, and clients dont work all day long, but she feels they should be paid minimum wage during the time they are actually making items that will be sold.

Paying minimum wage is not an expense thats going to break [Community Living], she said. If Kris isnt doing paid labor at the workshop, his mother wants to know why he gets a pay stub, a T4 slip each year, and why EI contributions are deducted from his meager checks?

Its not like hes ever going to be able to collect employment insurance when hes contributing so little every two weeks, she said.

Hagens was quoted earlier this year saying the agency makes $100,000-$150,000 [$76,000-$114,000 USD] from sales of the products annually, though he declined to confirm that to VICE, saying, I dont see any point in that [question].

Hagens declined to comment on the specifics of Kris McCormicks case, saying his agency will address all questions when the hearing is held next year.

Kris has never had a raise during the ten years hes been attending the Wawanosh center, Erla says, even though she has approached the agency at least three times. They just say theyre working on it, but nothing ever happens, she said.

Surprisingly, the senior brass in the Community Living network are sympathetic to the McCormicks. The days of sheltered workshops such as Wawanosh are coming to a fitting end, according to Michael Bach, executive vice-president of the Canadian Association for Community Living. Its time to move beyond the workshop idea and to get disabled adults into the regular workforce, he argued. While he wont criticize the Sarnia agency, Bach told me in an interview from his Toronto office that were pushing to get [sheltered workshops] closed.

That segregation option is a hangover from the 1960s, he said. In those days, no one really believed adults with intellectual disabilities would take part in the labor market, he explained, but today our vision is one of inclusion.

A copy of McCormicks T4

Trying to get real employment for those with disabilities is the focus of an ambitious program the CACL has recently launched called Ready, Willing, and Able (RWA). Workers with the new plan are reaching out to businesses in 20 locations across Canada to see if they can employ Community Living clients. The RWA plan began as a pilot project in the York Region north of Toronto and in Peterborough in 2013-14, and a larger version of the program has been running now for over a year, reaching out to the leadership of national chains across Canada such as Costco, Home Depot, and Travelodge.

In the last year, around 400 clients of Community Living or with the Canadian Autism Spectrum Association have found full or part-time jobs through the program, according to Don Gallant, national director of RWA. Home Depot is hiring clients with both groups in 39 stores in major Canadian cities, and the Value Village chain is hiring in 20 stores across Canada, he said. The owners of Travelodge motels will add jobs for developmentally disabled people in over 30 places, he added.

Yet both Gallant and Bach admit theres a long way to go. Bach estimates up to 45,000 Canadians are attending day programs similar to the Wawanosh workshop in Sarnia and sees Erla and Kris McCormicks appeal to the Human Rights Tribunal as a positive step.

People are saying there is something wrong and they need to question the system, he said. He said he hopes the outcome of the case will require everyone to find a new path.

Still, there will need to be a transition time from workshop to real work.

We dont just want to close the door, shut out the lights, and say no one can come back (to the workshops), he said.

However, the Ready, Willing, and Able program hasnt come to Sarnia, and Erla McCormick says the local agency is doing a poor job of helping her son find stable employment. For three years I havent heard from Community Living about helping Kris find work.

Hes taken his resumes out himself, she told me during a meeting at her home. When Kris had an interview with a local restaurant, his mother asked for an agency worker to go with him.

His speech isnt 100 percent, you know, she said.

No worker even returned her phone call, and when Kris went back for the interview he was told the job was filled.

Its not as if Kris cant work. His frustrated mother goes down a long list of her sons previous experience: janitor, restaurant dishwasher, auto shop worker, farm laborer, compost site laborer.

Still, Community Living found Kris his latest job carrying an outdoor advertising sign for an oil change shop only after the family launched the human rights complaint, his mother said.

Hagens said his staff are doing their best to get adults like Kris into the workforce, adding that he believes they are doing so with a fair bit of success. He said the agency is placing nearly 20 people in permanent jobs each year in Sarnia.

Erla McCormick says work is more than just the key to financial independence for disabled adults. It also helps them become full members of society, she said.

Since Kris started his recent sign-carrying job, hes a changed guy, she said. Hes more comfortable about doing many things in life, and likes to take his Mom out for dinner, and even buy her a lottery ticket occasionally.

I just want Kris to feel good about himself.

Follow Colin Graf on Twitter.

When Quick pointed the quote out to Trump later in the debate, he still did not acknowledge it. But he also appeared to soften his stance on H1B visa expansion.

Im in favor of people coming into this country legally, he said.

And you know what? They can have it any way you want. You can call it visas, you can call it work permits, you can call it anything you want.

By the time we published this article, however, the language on the website is unchanged.

Trump also promises to bring jobs and manufacturing back to the US from countries such as Mexico. But in at least one instance Wednesday night, he overstated the problem.

You probably saw Nabisco is leaving Chicago with one of their biggest plants, and theyre moving it to Mexico, Trump said.

Except thats not happening, according to Irene Rosenfeld, the CEO of Nabiscos parent company, Mondelez International.

My most sane message to Mr. Trump is to get your facts straight, Rosenfeld told CNBC Wednesday.

While the company has said it is moving some 300 jobs from the Chicago area to Mexico, the plant is not closing. In fact, Rosenfeld said, the company is investing $170 million in capital improvements at facilities in New Jersey, Virginia, and Illinois.

Trump also again defended the four bankruptcy filings by his casino companies in Atlantic City, New Jersey, as smart business.

Ive used (the bankruptcy laws) to my advantage as a businessman, for my family, for myself, he said, but noted, I never filed for bankruptcy.

While it is true that Trump has never filed for personal bankruptcy, the Fact Patrol examined court documents dating to the first filing, by Trumps Taj Mahal casino in 1991. In three of the four filings, Trump was either the sole shareholder or lone board member. That meant he personally signed each of the filings, and the board resolutions were in his name. Only the fourth bankruptcy, by Trump Entertainment Resorts in 2009, is not in his name. By that point, Trump was no longer a majority owner of the company.

In that respect, Trumps bankruptcies may indeed have been shrewd business moves. They allowed him to extricate himself from his ill-fated bet on Atlantic City in the late 1980s, ultimately transferring the risk to lenders, investors, contractors and other creditors.

Very few states require adequate financial literacy coursework for high school graduation, according to a new report by the Champlain College Center for Financial Literacy. Just five states get an A, with Utah leading the pack with an A+, while 12 states have no financial literacy requirement at all.

The state of Utah should be commended for its efforts, the report states, singling out the Beehive state above the rest. Utah requires that all high school students take a half-year course exclusively dedicated to personal finance topics, and students are required to take an endof-course assessment examination created and administered by the state. The state requires that educators teaching this course obtain a specific endorsement in general financial literacy that includes coursework on financial planning, credit and investing, and consumer, personal and family economics. The state also provides its educators with tools, resources and many professional development opportunities. General financial literacy is a funded mandate in Utah.

But beneath the grades on high school curriculum, it seems there may be good reason for the states pushing financial literacy courses to be doing so. The five states that got A grades from the report have much higher personal bankruptcy rates than the others with lower grades, according to FDIC data, as collected by ValuePenguin.

The A group had 4.5 bankruptcies per 100,000 people in 2014, compared to 2.6 in the B group, 3.0 in the C group, 1.2 in the D group, and 2.0 in the F group.

In short, the two strongest groups on bankruptcy performance got the worst grades, while the As on financial literacy went to a group that, on average, nearly quadrupled the D groups bankruptcy rate.

The best performing state in the A group was Virginia, at 2.78, fell just above the national average. The worst performers in the A group were Tennesse at 6.2 and Alabama at 5.4. Utah, which earned an A+ on financial literacy, took fourth place on bankruptcy, with 4.8.

Three of the five worst performing bankruptcy states got As on the financial literacy score, and the other two got Bs.

Of ten worst bankruptcy performers, only one got worse than a C on financial literacy education. That was Wisconsin, which got an F.

If the urgency in financial literacy education is driven by bad performance on the ground, then the real oddity here is the Badger State, which wins the prize for least self aware.


Brook Highland resident Brad Botes has a message for folks who stereotype bankruptcy filers as mostly poor, minority or those with bad spending habits who just want to get out of debt.

Botes, who has been practicing with the Bond amp; Botes bankruptcy practice just off Lakeshore Drive for over 25 years, said bankruptcy doesn’t discriminate based on race or economics: It can strike anyone.

Botes, whose firm has offices in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, said his clients have included business owners and doctors with million dollar homes, downsized workers on the verge of losing their homes, and middle-income individuals trapped by high medical bills.

In an interview, Botes talked about some of his past cases and shared information on a new Alabama law allowing bankruptcy filers to protect more of their assets.

Botes has a bankruptcy blog on his law firm’s website,

Q: What are some of the biggest misconceptions and myths about bankruptcy?

A: Certainly everybody has in their mind who the stereotypical bankruptcy filer is until they get into money problems of their own. Most folks think that I represent deadbeats, they often make racial associations or associations based upon income. I’m here to tell you there is no stereotypical debtor. The people that come to me for help are members of my church, parents of my kid’s friends and typical people from our community. Nobody is immune from financial problems. I’ve represented surgeons, attorneys and many people involved in the real estate and home building industry over the last seven to eight years in the Birmingham area.

People who months before were living in half-million to million-dollar homes and making six-figure incomes have come to me for help. Too many people in our society today live from paycheck to paycheck, even those people making a significant amount of money. They don’t have a rainy day fund, and it takes just a little bit to push somebody over the edge into bankruptcy.

Q: I understand bankruptcy filers in Alabama today have seen a major development. Tell me about it.

A: Significantly, the state of Alabama in June 2015 for the first time in over 30 years increased the amount of property you can keep when you file bankruptcy. It was $3,000 worth of personal property; it is now $7,500. It was $5,000 in equity in a homestead; it is now $15,000. That’s $30,000 of equity in a homestead for a married couple or $15,000 of personal property for a married couple.

If someone’s been having money problems, with this change in exemptions in the state of Alabama, this is big and a good time to talk to a lawyer and see if money problems can be addressed. Things have gotten significantly better for people who have money problems in Alabama. If you are having financial problems and have been putting off talking to an attorney, now is the time to do so.

Q: What are some of the most common reasons for bankruptcies?

A: Medical bills, loss of employment and divorce are the leading causes of bankruptcy. Medical debt is the biggest reason people file personal bankruptcy. If you get sick or injured and don’t have good medical insurance, you can be overwhelmed with debt very quickly.

One of the most humbling experiences I had as a bankruptcy attorney was when a particular client came into my office for help. He was in his 50s, had worked hard, done everything right. Worked at a factory his entire adult life, provided for his wife and had a pension guaranteed by that employer. And then the factory shut down and the pension went away.

This gentleman had to take a job at a gas station just to support his wife. One day on the job he fell over and had a heart attack. He was rushed to a local hospital and thank God he survived. But his health insurance had gone away and the hospital that had treated him sued him for over $100,000. The man, a proud man in his late 50s, broke down in my office because he had to seek bankruptcy protection. Thank God he survived and thank God we were able to get that debt out from under him so that he could go on with his life.

Q: It has been 10 years since the Bankruptcy Reform Act was passed. It was designed to make it more difficult to file bankruptcy. How has it impacted the bankruptcy industry

A: We have seen a recent reduction in filings, but this has nothing to do with the change in the law. It has more to do with the fact that people are without work. If you don’t have a job, often there is no reason to file bankruptcy. If a creditor cannot garnish your wages, you don’t have much of a reason to file bankruptcy. Now as the economy is ramping back up and people are going back to work and beginning to amass assets again, it’s important to make sure that you deal with debt that may have accumulated in the past.

The CNN Reality Check team looked at this during the September GOP debate. Heres what he said then:

I never went bankrupt by the way, as you know. Everybody knows. Out of hundreds of companies, hundreds of deals, Ive used the law four times. Made a tremendous thing. Im in business. I did a very good job. But I will say this: People are very, very impressed with what Ive done, the business people.

RELATED: Everything you want to know about Donald Trumps bankruptcies

Trump has never filed for personal bankruptcy. But he has filed four business bankruptcies, which says makes Trump the top filer in recent decades. All of them were centered on casinos he used to own in Atlantic City. They were all Chapter 11 restructurings, which lets a company stay in business while shedding debt it owes to banks, employees and suppliers.

VERDICT: True, but misleading

Marco Rubio

Reality Check: Marco Rubio on missed votes

River Square Center, the popular restaurant and retail complex at Franklin Avenue and University Parks Drive anchored by Spice Village and Ninfa’s, changed hands at a foreclosure sale Tuesday, with the former owner’s lender bidding $5.23 million to take possession of the property.

A bidder who would not identify himself offered $3 million for the center but was outbid by the holder of the note on River Square.

Jonathan Garza, an agent with Weichert Realtors in Waco, confirmed after the sale on the steps of the McLennan County Courthouse that he represents the man who made the $3 million bid. That bidder also remains interested in acquiring the 20-year-old center that helped spur development downtown, Garza said.

“My client is local, and he is interested in acquiring River Square,” Garza said. “He would like to see it have a local owner.”

SWB River Square Partners, which owned the center since 2008, had been working to avoid the foreclosure sale, but a deal in the works reportedly fell through last Thursday, said Frank Cromwell, who managed the property for SWB but said after the sale he does not know his status.

“I have not been contacted by anyone yet,” Cromwell said. “There are a lot of rumors flying around.”

He said the 80,000-square-foot-plus center is performing well, with only a 1,879-square-foot space now vacant.

“Loan payments were current, and the note was being paid,” Cromwell said.

He said he did not want to comment further.

The lender that bought the property Tuesday, reportedly affiliated with JPMorgan Chase, declared its $6.9 million loan to SWB in default early last month and posted the center for foreclosure.

Though SWB had been making timely payments since emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2014, the terms of the loan agreement gave the lender the right to terminate if a partner declared personal bankruptcy.

Former SWB River Square partner David Wallace, of Sugar Land, declared personal bankruptcy this spring for debts of up to $50 million but exited the partnership by summer. That left Stonehenge Companies, headed by Kevin Matocha, of Houston, as general partner.

Wallace and partner Costa Bajjali were chosen by the city of Waco as downtown “master developers” in 2006 to develop city-owned properties around City Hall, which is right across Franklin Avenue from River Square Center. But that agreement later was canceled.

Launching point

River Square, which includes Diamondback’s, Cricket’s and other retail and office tenants, served as the launching point for much of what has transpired downtown since the 1990s. Businessman Randy Roberts and developer Mike Clark created it from abandoned warehouses.

This is the third time the center has been in foreclosure proceedings since Clark sold it to SWB River Square in 2008. The firm went into bankruptcy in late 2013 and 2014.

Jennifer Wilson, owner of Spice Village, said she is not necessarily disappointed by Tuesday’s sale, “but I haven’t got my head wrapped around what might happen now. I have heard that some offers are on the table, but I’m not sure of all the details of who is going to do what. Everybody is tight-lipped.”

River Square is doing well, Wilson said, “but after 20 years, it could use a little bit of attention — landscaping, painting and roof repairs.”

“It would make a great investment for someone, and I would like to see a local person own it,” Wilson said.

Warren Seay, an attorney representing the lender, and Patrick Hughes, an attorney representing SWB, did not return phone calls seeking comment Tuesday.

River Square Center, a signature property of downtown Waco’s 1990s turnaround, is set for a foreclosure sale Tuesday on the McLennan County Courthouse steps.

SWB River Square Partners, which has owned the restaurant and retail center since 2008, is working to avoid the foreclosure sale, SWB officials said last week in a statement to the Tribune-Herald.

“We remain in communication with the lender; are working toward a sale of the project to ensure payment of all obligations; and will continue to work to make this a smooth transition that will operate to the best interests of all concerned,” the statement said.

The lender, a JPMorgan Chase subsidiary, declared its $6.9 million loan in default early last month. Warren Seay, a substitute trustee appointed by the company, could not be reached last week for explanation.

SWB officials have been current on their payments since emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2014, and the property has performed well, said the property manager, Frank Cromwell. But he said the terms of the loan agreement gave the lender the right to terminate if a partner declared personal bankruptcy.

Former SWB River Square partner David Wallace, of Sugar Land, declared personal bankruptcy this spring for debts of up to $50 million but exited the partnership by summer. That left Stonehenge Companies, headed by Kevin Matocha, of Houston, as general partner.

Wallace and partner Costa Bajjali were selected by the city of Waco as downtown “master developers” in 2006 to develop city-owned properties around City Hall, but that agreement later was canceled.

gt; MORE: Downtown Waco insulated from financial woes of ex-developer

gt; IN DEPTH: Downtown Waco developers vanish, leaving behind debt and confusion

River Square, which includes Diamondback’s, Cricket’s, Spice Village and other retail and office tenants, helped pioneer downtown redevelopment in the early 1990s when developer Mike Clark created it out of abandoned warehouses.

This is the third time the center has been in foreclosure proceedings since Clark sold it to SWB River Square in 2008. The firm went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in late 2013 and 2014.

Jennifer Wilson, owner of Spice Village, said she hopes the current foreclosure threat can be averted. She has had her store at the complex since 1997 and has a lease until 2019.

“I stay in constant contact with (property manager) Frank Cromwell, because my business is very important to that location,” she said. “They have assured me that things are going to work out in a positive manner. I have lots of concerns about what’s going to take place — what does this mean? — but he’s assured me not to worry.”

Wilson said she hopes once the dust settles, whoever owns the property will make investments in it and improve landscaping, painting and maintenance.

“I think there is so much potential with the building and with the property itself, and a little TLC goes a long way,” she said. “Business is great, downtown Waco is booming, and having been here as long as we have, it’s great to start seeing so many new things. I’m trying to remain optimistic.”

Todays Donald Trump news: The war between Donald Trump and Latino groups is heating up with his forthcoming appearance on NBCs Saturday Night Live. An advocacy group for Latinos has raised the stakes by offering a $5,000 cash reward to anyone in the audience who stands up and calls the Republican presidential candidate a racist during the show. The prominent Latino advocacy group Deport Racism PAC has been unsuccessful with their efforts, among many other groups, to convince NBC and Saturday Night Live to cancel Trumps appearance on their show. Many say giving Trump the honor of hosting endorses his views and comments on immigrants: Latino Post

Protesters from Hispanic groups say they will march the roughly half-mile from Trump Tower to 30 Rockefeller Center at 6 pm ET on Saturday, ahead of Trumps appearance on Saturday Night Live, the National Hispanic Media Coalition announced on Thursday. The planned march follows a rally on Wednesday and the delivery of a petition with 522,080 signatures to NBC/Universal, demanding Trump be swapped out for another host. Saturday Night Live is not a news program, it is a cultural touchstone. Providing such a platform for somebody who so clearly holds false and disparaging opinions of so many segments of this country is a dangerous proposition that legitimizes Trumps hateful views and rewards his hate speech, NHMC president and CEO Alex Nogales said in a statement announcing the protest: Entertainment Weekly

Republican presidential candidates Trump and Ben Carson will soon be protected by the agency that protects President Obama. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has authorized United States Secret Service protection for the two GOP candidates, according to a statement released today by the Department of Homeland Security. As prescribed by statute, authorization for Secret Service protection for presidential candidates is determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security after consultation with a congressional advisory committee composed of the Speaker of the House, the House Minority Leader, the Senate Majority Leader, the Senate Minority Leader, and an additional member selected by the Committee, the statement read. Trump and Carson first requested protection from the Secret Service in October: ABC News

Trump weighed in for the first time on the controversy surrounding Carsons claims about his tumultuous childhood, which the former pediatric neurosurgeon says was the result of various violent episodes. The Carson story is either a total fabrication or, if true, even worse-trying to hit mother over the head with a hammer or stabbing friend! Trump tweeted Thursday night. Trumps tweet comes after a CNN investigation which found no evidence to prove that many of Carsons specific claims actually occurred, namely that he once attempted to stab someone and, in another instance, attacked his mother with a hammer: MediaIte

Sen. Marco Rubio hit back against Trumps criticism of his finances in the presidential race, calling it hypocrisy because of the real estate magnates bankruptcy record. I find it ironic that the only person running for president thats ever declared a bankruptcy, four times in the last 25 years, is attacking anyone on finances, Rubio (R-Fla.) said Thursday in New Hampshire, according to video from ABC News. Its Rubios most direct barb at the GOP primary front-runner, who has taken a number of shots at his financial record over the past few weeks. Trump businesses have filed for bankruptcy on four separate occasions; the billionaire businessman has repeatedly defended that record and noted he never filed for personal bankruptcy. Rubio has been criticized for facing foreclosure and dipping into a personal retirement account early, but also for his use of a state party charge card while he served as the state House Speaker. He is a disaster with his credit cards, Trump said Tuesday during a press conference about his new book. He has a very bad record of finances: The Hill

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With a net worth in the billions of dollars, you would never have guessed it. But, lo and behold, Donald Trump has filed his businesses for bankruptcy four times since 1991. Was this a mistake? Did the billionaire Trump make a fatal error that caused his corporations to collapse? Just the opposite, in fact. Trump says that every bankruptcy filing was strategic. He even goes further to expand his strategy to the business community, in saying that every high-level business man should take advantageous of the laws, including the laws of bankruptcy. To understand Trumps decisions, we fist must understand the full situation behind his actions.

While Trumps businesses have filed for bankruptcy (on his behalf, of course,) Trump himself has never filed for personal bankruptcy. From 1991 onward, four of his businesses have filed for Chapter 11 restructuring. For a more in depth look at Trumps bankruptcies, take a look at a review of his bankruptcies. On a high level, here is how the Chapter 11 filings turned out:

1. Trump Taj Mahal, 1991

Trump had initially financed the establishment by selling north of $1 billion of junk bonds, with a promised return of 14 percent interest. When the economy tanked, the Trumpt Taj Mahal was over $3 billion in dept. What Trump then did, to make amends with his lenders, was giving up half of his ownership state and selling his plane and yacht.

2. Plaza Hotel, 1992

In 1988, Trump put in $390 million for the Plaza Hotel in New York. Four years later he found himself in the middle of a difficult divorce, and filed the Chapter 11 for a second time. In doing so, Trump forfeited 49-percent of his ownership to Citibank and removed his salary. In the next three years, Trump sold the Hotel to pay off his creditors.

3. Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts, 2004

Trump Casino Resorts and Hotels began initially as a holding company for Gary, Ind, and the Trump Plaza. In 1995, when it went public, it also acquired the Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Marina, and the Trump 29 casino. Trump then gave up 20 percent of his ownership, and put $72 million into the company from his own pocket.

What then, were the factors that enabled Trump to create his fortune?

Trumps father has created a massive real estate company worth $200 million by the time he passed away in 1974. The money was split between each of his five children. Trump received roughly $40 million. A mere eight years later, Trump had an estimated net worth of $200 million. Today, Trumps net worth hovers around $3billion.

Here is the interesting part. Rather than go off and become and tycoon entrepreneur, had Trump merely invested his fathers money into a regular index fund like the SP 500, he would have roughly the same amount that he has today. In other words, Trumps personal investments would have been better off placed in the stock market.

Here are a few things we can take away from Trumps story:

Never over-leverage your business. Never take out large loans to develop an entity, because you could fail to repay your creditors.

Dont assume that Trumps chapter 11 filings set a precedent. In fact, in the last couple of decades, only 5% of large companies have filed for even one bankruptcy, much less four bankruptcies.

Focus on your personal brand. Despite his mistakes in investment, Trump is a celebrity and a brand. Trump has earned money for his name and fame.
Spread your name and your greatness. Trump has created his own leverage by building up his brand, and convincing people of his high net worth.

The race for Kennett Township Supervisor just got more interesting. Recently, a local small business owner shared with the Kennett Area Democrats some disturbing information about Republican Candidate Ted Moxon.

It was alleged that Mr. Moxon had filed for personal bankruptcy in November of 2004. After an extensive search through public records, it was confirmed that Mr. Moxon had filed under Chapter 7 in US Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. For filings, visit and

The documents revealed that Mr. Moxon filed on Nov. 5, 2004. This event on its own is not necessarily condemning, but it is troubling. In addition, the bankruptcy schedules he filed reflect that Mr. Moxon co-mingled his business (Image Tech) and personal finances. His business practices left local businesses, banks and government creditors on the hook for $2,547,009.76.

Official documents revealed that an unsecured Small Business Administration (SBA) loan to Mr. Moxon’s company Image Tech was discharged for $652,357.14. SBA loans are made by commercial banks but are guaranteed by the Federal government. Taxpayers were left responsible for the federal government’s guaranty.

Mr. Moxon has run an aggressive campaign based on his business acumen, devotion to transparency and fiscal responsibility. It would seem that the reality is somewhat different.

Pat Muller
Pennsbury Township
member of Kennett Area Democrats

(5 votes, average: 4.20 out of 5)