Trump Still a Chump

Ask anyone in America to name a successful businessman, and odds are, you would hear "Donald Trump." His insipid but successful reality show The Apprentice may have fooled a TV nation that's easily distracted by bright, shiny things, but Donald J. Trump the business -- Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts (NYSE: DJT  ) -- isn't fooling anyone capable of third-grade math.

Last quarter, the company lost $1.63 per share. That's a much bigger loss than last year's negative $1.09, and it's almost as much as the value of one share -- $1.80 as of close on Friday. This, while General Electric's (NYSE: GE  ) network is brazenly hawking The Donald's latest books on financial success.

"Reality TV" my ascot. Hey NBC, how about putting Trumpster's real numbers up on the tube? I won't hold my breath. After all, the real reality is that America's billionaire CEO du jour operates a farcical, wealth-killing, penny-stock empire. Who wants to apprentice for a phony like that?

Here's the truth: Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts is failing on all fronts. While competitors like Boyd Gaming (NYSE: BYD  ) , Harrah's Entertainment (NYSE: HET  ) , Mandalay Resort Group, (NYSE: MBG  ) , and Caesars Entertainment (NYSE: CZR  ) rake in record sales and earnings, Trump's properties posted revenue declines.

For his part, the intractable president and CEO did his shameless best to spin the results vis-à-vis the TV show. "The success of The Apprentice has generated significant exposure for our company's largest asset, the Trump Taj Mahal," he claimed, but the ailing joint actually took in 5% less than last year's Q1. If those are the wages of success, I think Trump should run from the sequel.

But that's not his style. The Donald may not generate any shareholder value, but he pays himself well -- between $1.5 million and $6 million a year, lately. Fellow Fool Rick Munarriz was willing to give the Donald a thumbs up on the assumption that his show offers a modicum of business education to its viewers.

I can't be that charitable. He looks like a deadbeat to me. Extravagant living funded by borrowing, defaulting, and groveling for more is already too common in this country. Why should we celebrate a CEO whose eponymous corporation epitomizes that financial folly?

Talk The Donald in the Fool's Trump's Apprentice discussion board.

Fool contributor Seth Jayson thinks NBC ought to take its cameras to the next meeting between The Donald and his creditors. He has no stake in any firm mentioned above. View his Fool profile here.


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