Trump Plaza opens in Atlantic City thanks to Philadelphia mob

The Trump Timeline

Sources linked at end of page.


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Donald Trump and Harrah’s opens as “Harrah’s at Trump Plaza.” The name is changed to “Trump Plaza” five months later to avoid confusion with other Harrah’s properties.

The hotel and casino complex contains 614 rooms, seven restaurants, a health club, a 750-seat showroom and, of course, a casino. The Plaza is also home to two nightclubs, Liquid Bar and Jezebel’s.

Part of the property was purchased for twice the market rate from Philadelphia mobster Salvatore Testa, and construction was facilitated by two companies controlled by leaders of the Philadelphia mob family. Testa, whose nickname is “The Crowned Prince of the Philadelphia Mob,” earned his reputation as the mob’s hitman.

Trump’s first casino becomes frequented by organized crime figures, which suggests his undercover deal with the FBI was never finalized. Trump is even caught using the casino to funnel money to a Gambino crime family member.

Trump buys Harrah’s stake in the property in May 1986 after two years of low performance.

External Sources

The New York Times (Archived)

The Smoking Gun (Archived)

Salvatore Testa, Archived

Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino, Archived

Photo: William Warby

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