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Our sincere condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Angelo, Gordon & Co. VP Ronen Katz, who died in a tragic accident on Sunday (NY Post article).
If it were the early '90s, Donald Trump said he'd be shaky in front of a packed room of lenders-but that wasn't the case yesterday at the Real Estate Lenders Association's breakfast at the Yale Club. He says he's been fortunate the past three years, thanks to the success of The Apprentice and smart investing. (Luckily, his advice wasn't for everyone to get their own TV show.)
Donald Trump
It wasn't talk about The Donald's investments that entertained the crowd-it was his no-holds-barred commentary on the economy and US leadership. "This country has major problems," he says. "We're losing many entrepreneurs to other countries and China is just ripping us.... We'd have tremendous power over China if we had someone who knew how to negotiate." Throwing jabs at Obama,Bush, and the NYS government (but throwing in a kudos to Mayor Mike), he notes we suffer from a total lack of leadership, but this situation can be solved quickly with strong people. "I'm very pessimistic if we rely on stupidity," he adds. One particular problem is the state of infrastructure-we spend the time rebuilding in Afghanistan, but we can't even fix the Long Island Expressway.
Donald Trump and Eric Trump
Donald-whom we snapped with son Eric, EVP of development and acquisitions for The Trump Org.-didn't leave us without a few real estate tidbits. He talked about the success of his golf course acquisitions and redevelopments, including the "ugly duckling" that became the Trump National Golf Course Philadelphia. These work because of the branding, he says-now he's trying to buy three more courses to add to his portfolio. He looks upon the "relatively strong" NYC market favorably, and adds that he'd like to buy more in Manhattan, and he's actively bidding on assets right now. But one thing he'd like to fix is the old "Welcome To New York" sign at LaGuardia Airport-even four-year-old Barron Trump can create something better, he jokes.