RICHARD "SKIP" BRONSON
THE WAR AT THE SHORE
DONALD TRUMP, STEVE WYNN, AND THE EPIC BATTLE TO SAVE ATLANTIC CITY
by Richard "Skip" Bronson
"What an amazing backstage look into the world of casinos, moguls and politics. The Trump vs. Wynn struggle over Atlantic City is fascinating and Skip Bronson tells it in a unique way.”—Peter Morton, Chairman & Founder Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and Hard Rock Cafes
“The War at the Shore is not only a crash course in casino development, it’s a primer to getting things done as a business person—through creative problem solving, fierce tenacity, and simple hard work. This is a great story of titans, power and ego, and that never goes out of style.”—Millard "Mickey" Drexler, Chairman and CEO, J. Crew Group
"My whole life has been filled with larger-than-life characters, in boardrooms and on the gridiron. With Trump and Wynn, Skip Bronson nails the drama and muscle of a Super Bowl Sunday. This book is a manual of strategy and tactics, smeared with sweat and blood. I loved it.” —Steve Tisch, film producer and Chairman of the New York Giants
In what would become a titanic battle of money, brains and guile, two of real estate’s most dynamic personalities—Donald Trump and Steve Wynn—squared off over the revitalization of Atlantic City. Commanding the war room for Wynn during the bloody five-year battle was Richard “Skip” Bronson, one of the gaming industry's most-accomplished and canny developers. This renowned closer would remain at the helm through every momentous clash, navigating the clever ploys, dirty politics and backroom double-dealing of the ever-escalating conflict. At stake was nothing less than the reinvention of the deteriorating East Coast gambling Mecca. It was a singular opportunity to bring an economic revival to the deteriorating resort town. Oh, and there was the potential to make billions of dollars in the process.
THE WAR AT THE SHORE: Donald Trump, Steve Wynn, and the Epic Battle to Save Atlantic City (The Overlook Press; June 2012; $26.00) is Skip Bronson’s lively, no-holds-barred—and often very funny—account of a power struggle that became front page news. A self-made real estate developer, Bronson approached casino magnate Steve
Wynn with an audacious proposal: to bring gaming to Bronson’s hometown of Hartford, Connecticut, with an eye toward breathing life back into that moribund city. Bronson’s first foray into the complicated process of introducing gambling to a place where it has been verboten was an eye-opener. Frustrated by the failure of the Connecticut project,
Bronson was ready to return to building shopping malls and skyscrapers. But Wynn requested he take on a new mission.
Atlantic City, New Jersey, had long struggled to improve its reputation as a destination merely for day-tripper gamblers who came and went on chartered buses. Wynn, the man who reinvented Las Vegas with his preeminent resorts, had departed the city years before, leaving the lion’s share of the casino business in the hands of Donald Trump. Trump had a different modus operandi; his casinos didn’t offer the amenities that made Wynn properties legendary. So, Wynn’s decision to return to Atlantic City with a world-class resort, sparked his rival’s ire. And putting the indefatigable Skip Bronson in charge of the project was Trump’s worst nightmare.
For the next five years, the famously tenacious Trump and his ally, Bally’s chief Arthur Goldberg, would engage in a relentless crusade to bring down Wynn’s dream. Skip Bronson was in the direct line of fire, and his colorful re-creation of this long-running series of blood baths takes readers into the heat of battle. As Wynn’s Mirage Resorts negotiated to develop the H-Tract, a barren parcel of land north of the city, Trump also became interested in the long-neglected, toxic waste dump that had been up for grabs for years. When the powers that be selected Mirage’s proposal for a casino resort over Trump’s plans for a golf course, Trump didn’t take it lying down. With accustomed acumen, he threw every conceivable legal obstacle in Bronson’s path, many of them obvious stall tactics meant to wear down his opponent. When the need arose to build a new tunnel and road to the site, Trump rallied local residents to oppose the highway on a grass roots level.
Trump was not the only well-armed adversary that Bronson had to face. As he exchanged ever-intensifying blows with an array of duplicitous politicians, local agitators, and blatantly grasping special interests, Bronson steered through the mire that comes with doing business in New Jersey, truly a modern-day Boardwalk Empire. It proved to be a non-stop ride where nothing could be predicted.
With tragi-comic relish, THE WAR AT THE SHORE speeds toward its dramatic—and unexpected outcome—as Bronson gives readers a privileged view of what goes on behind closed doors, and paints a candid portrait of big business as conducted by two extremely successful and different icons. With a cinematic eye for the outrageous and the absurd, he offers a true tale of the way deals are made and promises are broken in order to deliver a dream.
About the Author
Richard D. “Skip” Bronson is the Chairman and Founder of U.S. Digital Gaming (USDG) and the Chairman of The Bronson Companies. USDG is the first and only American company with a technology and regulatory system to operate legalized online gambling as it emerges. The Bronson Companies is a real estate development company that specializes in gaming, retail and entertainment properties. For over thirty years, Bronson has been one of the nation’s leading commercial real estate developers with involvement in more than 100 projects, including casino hotels, shopping centers, and office buildings. In addition to his connection to numerous charitable organizations, Bronson serves on the Board of Directors of Starwood Property Trust. He lives in Beverly Hills, California, with his wife, celebrated photographer Edie Baskin.