Donald Trump had a long relationship with a reputed New Jersey mobster, who gambled at the real estate billionaire's Atlantic City casino, flew on Trump's helicopter, and partied on his yacht, the gangster's daughter reportedly claims.
Trump has denied having a personal relationship with Robert LiButti, who was banned in 1991 from New Jersey casinos for his ties to the late Mafia boss John Gotti, Michael Isikoff, chief investigative correspondent at Yahoo News reports
That same year, Trump's hotel casino in Atlantic City, the Trump Plaza, was fined $200,000 by New Jersey regulators for violating anti-discrimination laws involving complaints linked to LiButti's racist behavior inside the casino.
Trump wasn't held personally liable for the discrimination violations, and there's no indication he was ever questioned in the 1991 investigation, Isikoff notes.
"I have heard he is a high roller, but if he was standing here in front of me, I wouldn't know what he looked like," Trump told the Philadelphia Inquirer in February 1991
But Edith Creamer, the daughter of the late LiButti, who died in 2014, refutes that.
"He's a liar," she told Yahoo News in the course of two telephone interviews.
"Of course he knew him. I flew in the [Trump] helicopter with [Trump's then wife] Ivana and the kids. My dad flew it up and down [to Atlantic City]. My 35th birthday party was at the Plaza and Donald was there. After the party, we went on his boat, his big yacht. I like Trump, but it pisses me off that he denies knowing my father. That hurts me."
Yet she said she's still a Trump supporter in his White House bid.
"I'm voting for Trump," she tells Yahoo News. "He'll change the world — I think we need that."
And she tells Yahoo News her father felt the same, saying about Trump's consideration in 2011 of running for the White House, that her father declared: "I'm going to vote for the SOB."
"During the years I very successfully ran the casino business, I knew many high rollers," Trump replies to Yahoo News. "I assume Mr. LiButti was one of them, but I don't recognize the name."
But Isikoff reports Creamer's account appears to be backed up by a 1991 book written by John O'Donnell, the former president of the Trump Plaza casino — including a failed deal for Trump to buy a horse from LiButti.
"Mr. Trump never owned a racehorse," Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in an email. "He vaguely remembers someone naming a racehorse after him."
Isikoff also reports it obtained a full transcript of a Sept. 4, 1990 undercover New Jersey State Police tape of a conversation between LiButti and Trump's top Atlantic City executive, Edward Tracy. In the wired conversation, LiButti brags about his relationship with Trump, offers him advice about his then-affair with Marla Maples, and claims Trump once covered LiButti's $350,000 gambling loss at the casino — a claim Trump denies.
Ultimately, LiButti was tried and convicted in 1994 for tax fraud in what federal prosecutors described as the largest case of federal income tax evasion in New Jersey history, and was sentenced to five years in prison.
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