Credit where credit is due

Trump Taj Mahal Casino Atlantic City,NJ

Whereas Washington Post opinionista Chris Cilizza is, well, not intellectually up to the task, the Post’s investigative reporters have been doing strong work on Trump’s foundation and his businesses:

Sullivan said he had given the owner $325,000 for a share of the property, and he told Stowe he planned to buy it outright, in partnership with two others. One was Kenneth Shapiro, a man later publicly identified by authorities as a financier and agent in Atlantic City for a Philadelphia mobster named Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo.

Trump also happened to be interested in the property for the location for his first casino. In April, Trump’s lawyer contacted Shapiro and soon entered into lease negotiations with him, Sullivan and their partner, even though they did not yet have title to the property.

On June 26, the three partners closed on the property sale, paying about $2.7 million. Just days later, Trump signed off on a 98-year lease with the partners that could cost him tens of millions. The transaction was one of several Trump had to make to cobble together parcels of land for the casino.

The deal put Trump in contact with a mob associate, who would later play a central role in a mob scheme to secretly influence Atlantic City’s mayor. And it also put him close to an FBI informant whose shady past would imperil Trump’s casino plans.

One of the biggest scandals, as spelled out in “The Making of Donald Trump,” David Cay Johnston’s latest book, is how the NJ Casino Commission, which was supposed to protect the casinos from organized crime, repeatedly ignored Trump’s known mob connections in favor of firing low-level employees for minor infractions.