Trump Loses Indiana Casino Case
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Two businessmen who sued Donald Trump and Trump Indiana for breach of contract in a dispute over a riverboat casino were awarded $1.3 million by a federal jury early today.
Trump Indiana, which owns the Trump Casino riverboat in Gary, was ordered to pay the damages. Trump himself was not found to be at fault.
William Mays, the owner of Mays Chemical Co., and attorney Buddy Yosha claimed Trump used their local prominence in winning an Indiana gambling license for the casino, then denied them revenue.
Yosha and Mays each were awarded $667,062 for claims concerning Trump Indiana. Defense attorneys said the men had wanted more than $30 million.
``I think we came up quite good on this,″ Trump said today. ``We’re very satisfied. As you know, I was totally exonerated personally, and they got no interest in the casino.″
``It is clear the jury didn’t buy their story,″ said Richard Huser, an attorney from Trump.
Trump had testified that he never had a contract with the men. He said he was wary when the plaintiffs’ names appeared on his application for the gaming license, identifying them as potential investors.
Trump’s organization used Mays and Yosha as minority-stake owners on their proposals to the Indiana Gaming Commission in order to be approved for the riverboat license, their attorney said.
But just because their names appeared on the application, Trump said, it did not mean they had an agreement. And the plaintiffs did not lose money because they didn’t invest anything in the riverboat, Trump said.
The men were planning to fund their stakes through a promissory note. Six other Indiana investors involved in the casino dispute settled before trial.
Trump has defended his Indiana operations, saying his casino and a new, $18 million, 300-room hotel has helped revitalize Gary’s economy.
``Everybody had this perception of Gary as not being the greatest place in the world,″ he said. ``It was certainly a challenge. We built an incredible oasis.″