Legendary singer Frank Sinatra told Donald Trump to “go f*ck himself” after the future president tried to stiff him in a contract negotiation, according to a former manager’s new book.
Sinatra’s former manager Eliot Weisman is releasing a new book later this month called “The Way It Was,” in which he recalls a contract negotiation that Trump got involved in and immediately made contentious, The New York Daily News reports.
Weisman writes that he had a deal with Trump Taj Mahal operator Mark Grossinger Etess shortly after the casino opened in 1990. But Etess died in a helicopter crash before the deal could be completed and Trump got involved.
Weisman writes that singer Paul Anka warned him while attending Etess’ funeral that Weisman was about to learn the meaning of “The Art of the Deal.”
Trump immediately kicked off the new negotiation by insisting that the money Sinatra was asking for was “a little too rich,” according to Weisman.
Trump also decided he would drop several acts that were part of the deal to get the price down. The other acts included Sammy Davis Jr., Sinatra’s longtime friend who had recently been diagnosed with cancer, and the duo Steve and Eydie.
“Who’s Steve and Eydie?” Trump reportedly asked Weisman.
Weisman writes that he got so angry that he attempted to choke Trump with his own tie. His son, who also attended the meeting, had to restrain him.
After the ill-fated meeting, Weisman called Sinatra to let him know what happened.
Sinatra told Weisman that he had two options. One was to tell Trump to “go f*ck himself.” The other was to give Sinatra Trump’s number so he could tell him to “go f*ck himself.”
The deal never together and Sinatra ended up playing at the Sands in Atlantic City instead. The Trump Taj Mahal went bankrupt a year later.
Weisman writes that Trump called him out of the blue when he was opening his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. Trump asked Weisman for an opening day act. Weisman offered comedian Don Rickles, as well as Steve and Eydie. Trump accepted his offer.
The anecdote is one of many examples of Trump’s belief that he is a great negotiator despite the fact so many of his deals backfire. You don’t need to look beyond his failed attempts to convince his own party to repeal and replace Obamacare to see it.
Trump opened the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City in 1990. He mostly funded the $1 billion construction with junk bonds that had a ridiculously high 14 percent interest. Within a year of the casino opening, the casino was $3 billion in debt and Trump was liable for $900 million. The casino filed for bankruptcy and Trump had to give up half his share of the casino and sell his yacht.
Another Trump casino, Trump Castle, went bankrupt the following year, in part because it had new competition from the Trump Taj Mahal. Trump Plaza and Casino went bankrupt at the same time after seeing an 80 percent drop in cash flow.
Trump’s Plaza Hotel in Manhattan went bankrupt that same year after its debt ballooned to $550 million. Trump was forced to give up 49 percent of the shares, his salary, and his say in day-to-day operations but insisted they let him keep his title as CEO.