Trump’d and skunked

By David McKee ~ May 18th, 2011 @ 10:56 am

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Having predicted from Moment One that Donald Trump‘s TV ratings stunt masquerading as a presidential campaign was a traveshamockery and nothing less, please forgive me if I take one more victory lap, courtesy of Lawrence O’Donnell. The MSNBC pundit, who also knows his way around showbiz, was among those not fooled by The Trumpster’s cap-and-bells act, which seems to have the typically Trumpian purpose of fattening his teevee deal. (The relevant O’Donnell material is in the first few minutes, involving the NBC-TV upfronts.) That skeptical camp wouldn’t include Treasure %*@%ing Island owner Phil Ruffin, Trump’d twice over. He comped Trump a venue and endorsed the “candidacy” in the pages of the Los Angeles Times. If you see Ruffin down at the track, don’t take any racing tips from him.

Then again … at a time when people are cashing out of the Las Vegas real estate market at enormous losses, Ruffin’s trying to flip a 9.5-bathroom mansion at a $10 million markup. Shrewd or simply audacious? Everything about this palace screams, Grand! (Not least the industrial-size kitchen.) It should be, considering that it used to be the crib of the Sultan of Brunei‘s brother. Ruffin’s purchase was recorded on April 29 and he had the mini-Xanadu back on the market within a fortnight. Even at $15 million (plus tax), that’s a big bet on Vegas real estate making a rip-roaring comeback.

If Ruffin fetches that $25 million, it will help him recoup 300 grand that went down the tubes in an attempt to loosen gambling rules at Florida dog tracks, turning them into de facto casinos. Also left high and dry by the adjournment of the Florida Lege was Sheldon Adelson, who poured $135,000 (and a free Venelazzo room night) into wooing Gov. Rick Scott (R) and lawmakers with his vision of multi-billion-dollar resorts, spread around the Sunshine State inside state-created protectorates. Unfortunately for both Ruffin and Adelson, lawmakers were too busy chipping away at other personal freedoms to bring either measure to an up-or-down vote.

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