Carl Icahn destroys industry giants, helps debilitate the Midwest

The Trump Timeline

Sources linked at end of page.


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Throughout the ’80s, Carl Icahn, a corporate moneymaker from New York and friend of Donald Trump, bought out companies and ran them to the ground for profit.

Sometime in August 1985, Icahn becomes the new owner of Trans World Airlines, one of the pillars of St. Louis’s economy. He leaves New York to take over the company, turns the company private, pockets nearly $500 million, then breaks it down and sells its assets.

Icahn leaves the company in 1993, and it’s forced into bankruptcy just two years later. The economy of St. Louis (and Missouri, for that matter) has never been the same.

In 1984, TWA’s parent company, which owned Hilton and Century 21, cut the airline loose, a broken-winged bird helpless before the pounce of the ultimate corporate predator: Carl Icahn…

“It became more and more apparent that Carl was not interested in growing the airline but in using TWA as a financial vehicle to acquire wealth for himself,” Darnall says.

In 1988, Icahn took what many consider the first step toward the airline’s demise: He took TWA private. Icahn received $469 million in the deal, and TWA got something a little less attractive: $540 million in debt…

St. Louis Magazine

This and similar stunts against Texaco, RJR Nabisco, and Phillips Petroleum make Icahn one of the original elites known as “corporate raiders.” His actions led the way for other New York City corporate elites to infiltrate Midwest businesses and sell their parts for financial gain. Before these corporate raiders came in to destroy the midwest, there was little different between the economies or cost of living in New York and states like Missouri.

Icahn’s history with Donald Trump stretches decades, but his work as an adviser to the president in 2017 and helping construct Trump’s cabinet of billionaires like Steven Mnuchin, Betsy DeVos, and Wilbur Ross might have repercussions that last even longer.


Hiding In Plain Sight by Sarah Kendzior, p. 29-30

Photo: CNBC—NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images, TIME

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