Save for the few months when Chris Christie was running against Donald Trump, the two have had a notoriously close relationship—many were surprised when Trump did not pick Christie as his vice presidential running mate.
This relationship, which began in 2002, apparently aided Trump enormously six years ago when Christie was elected governor of New Jersey.
The New York Times has uncovered that in 2010, before Christie became governor, Trump owed almost $30 million in back taxes to the state for his Taj Mahal casino resort. His company had not paid taxes from 2002 to 2006, he had filed twice for bankruptcy, and the state had tenaciously been hounding him:
“The state had doggedly pursued the matter through two of the casinos’ bankruptcy cases and even accused the company led by Mr. Trump of filing false reports with state casino regulators about the amount of taxes it had paid.”
However, when Christie took office in 2011, the state conveniently agreed to a settlement and reduced this number to just $5 million—a mere 16 percent of what Trump originally owed.
Christie claims he was completely unaware of the situation. His spokesperson, Brian Murray, stated that, “The governor had not been aware of the tax dispute and, therefore, could not comment on the terms of the settlement.”
However, as former attorney of New Jersey (and Trump’s friend), Christie undoubtedly knew what was occurring. He also appointed the new attorney general in 2011, Paula T. Dow, who oversaw the settlement.
Although settlements are not unusual to “avoid the costs and risks of further litigation… the steep discount granted to the Trump casinos and the relationship between the two men raise inevitable questions about special treatment,” according to the Times.
While Trump’s casino received this miraculous good fortune, numerous other casinos in Atlantic City have been forced to shut down since then (including Trump’s Taj Mahal, which did not manage to survive and will close down in September 2016). According to New Jersey 101.5, “Atlantic City has struggled mightily in recent years after four casinos closed, causing a severe drop in the city tax base.”
Not all casino owners had cushy ties to the New Jersey governor, affording them tax forgiveness—only Trump had special circumstances.
Corruption such as this is precisely why Trump’s claims of being anti-establishment and against the system are nonsense; he used the system to his benefit when necessary, and he has demonstrated no qualms about doing so again in the future.
Banner Image Credit: Reuters