As Donald Trump pretends self-righteousness that his campaign is self-funded which we know is false; reports once read Trump using his casino to lure big money into Senate campaign.
Trump Lures Big Money To A Small N.j. Election
July 16, 1998|By TOM CONDON; Courant Columnist
William L. “Bill” Gormley, a Republican state senator from Atlantic City, was a college classmate (Notre Dame, ’68). I saw him at a reunion last month.
It turns out he faced a primary challenge last year. To my surprise, he said his opponent received thousands in campaign contributions from Connecticut.
Why, I wondered, would anyone here possibly care about a seemingly minor state primary in southern New Jersey?The answer is, they don’t. They do care about someone with an interest in the primary, one Donald Trump. Gormley’s primary offers an insight into how the big boys play hardball.Gormley, a veteran legislator often mentioned as a gubernatorial candidate, had coexisted with Trump for years. But a couple of years ago, Gormley decided to try to bring gaming entrepreneur Steve Wynn back to Atlantic City. Wynn agreed to build a casino complex if the city would make roadway improvements in the Marina district.Trump dislikes Wynn, doesn’t want him back in town and bitterly opposed the road improvements. Out of no where, a cop named Don Hurley, brother of a local pro-Trump talk show host, rose to challenge Gormley.Hurley was less than a year into his first elective office, president of the city’s Police Benevolent Association. Neophyte or not, money started arriving by the truckload, from New England to Florida.His campaign received contributions totaling $8,850 from eight people connected to the Hartford law firm of Murtha Cullina Richter and Pinney, three contributions worth $5,400 from the Waterbury firm of Drubner, Hartley, O’Connor and Mengacci, and three more adding up to $4,800 from the Farmington firm of Levy & Droney, P.C. The three firms were on hefty retainer when Trump was trying to build a Bridgeport casino in 1995.Hurley raised more than $351,000, from lawyers, lobbyists, insurance agencies and consultants. The figure is about what a Congressional race cost the last time around. Although a third of the contributions were filed without occupations or addresses, a violation of New Jersey law, The Press of Atlantic City was able to establish that most of the contributions that could be traced came from people who did, or had done, business with Trump.It’s illegal for New Jersey casinos or their top executives to contribute to legislative elections. But their lawyers or consultants can contribute, and often do. If Trump ordered the contributions, he’d be in trouble. But as Dave McQuade of Murtha Cullina and John Droney of Levy & Droney told me, Trump never spoke to them about Hurley or the primary.I’m certain that’s true. Trump didn’t get to be Trump by being stupid. The beauty of it is that he doesn’t have to. He’s Trump. People do what he wants.But Hurley, his putative tiger, wasn’t quite up to the chore. Gormley and I played rugby together, and when he put on his fearsone game face, he was tough. He buried Hurley, 10,930 to 4,858, and went on to win the general election.Some who lose elections become statesmen, but not Hurley. He was voted out as PBA president and relegated to the midnight shift. This week, the New Jersey election law enforcement commission filed a complaint against him for failing to provide names and addresses of a third of his contributors. The commission recommends a $14,000 fine. Let’s see who contributes.
3161/3104 “25,000 Annual Contributions Limit” case – 9 individuals – [3/17/93] $56,900 Total
Harold Simmons (TX) $19,800
Donald Trump (NY) $15,000
Dwayne and Dorothy Andreas (IL) $8,000
Henry Kravis (NY) $8,000