Robert LiButti‘s alleged ties to President Donald Trump made headlines during the 2016 Presidential election campaign. Trump has repeatedly denied ever knowing the high rolling racehorse broker with ties to the mob, but one thing cannot be disputed: LiButti was clearly one of New Jersey’s most notorious gamblers.
The Trump/LiButti Connection
LiButti gambled millions of dollars at the Trump Plaza casino in Atlantic City in the 1980s. Although President Trump denies knowing the man, he did confirm LiButti’s reputation as a well-know high-stakes gambler.
“During the years I very successfully ran the casino business, I knew many high rollers,” read a statement issued to Yahoo News by Trump during the 2016 campaign. “I assume Mr. LiButti was one of them, but I don’t recognize the name.”
LiButti’s daughter, Edith Creamer, finds that hard to believe. In fact, she claims her father regularly flew in Trump’s helicopter to the casino, where he often gambled millions shooting dice.
“Of course he knew him,” she told Yahoo News. “I flew in the helicopter with Ivana and the kids. My dad flew it up and down. 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.”
Reputation for racism and sexism
LiButti’s often rude behavior as a customer at Trump Plaza is certainly well documented. LiButti reportedly developed a reputation for making racist and sexist remarks about African-Americans and female dealers at Trump Plaza. The casino’s alleged response was to remove the dealers, and when some of those dealers complained, the New Jersey Casino Control Commission launched an investigation.
In 1991, the commission ultimately levied a $200,000 fine against Trump Plaza for violating state anti-discrimination laws. In fact, the commission found LiButti berated African-Americans and women using racist slurs and obscene references to women. In the end, the commission said Trump Plaza’s response was to keep African-Americans and female employees away from his betting tables in order to hold on to his substantial business.
Even back then, Trump, who likely had little to do with the day-to-day operations of the casino, its dealings with high rollers, and knowledge of the investigation, denied knowing LiButti.
“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.
LiButti’s reputation as a Trump Plaza whale was also well documented in the David Cay Johnston book, The Making of Donald Trump.
Trump Plaza’s best customer
According to Johnston, Trump gave LiButti lavish gifts to court his business and even tried to seduce his adult daughter. Johnston claims LiButti threatened to cut off Trump’s balls if he didn’t leave his daughter alone. Trump reportedly complied.
Regardless, Johnston claims Trump continued to pull out all of the stops to reward LiButti for gambling millions at Trump Plaza tables. “To keep LiButti’s lucrative business, Trump Plaza extended every privilege its best customer could imagine,” Johnston wrote in The Making of Donald Trump.
Apparently, Trump Plaza gave LiButti nine luxury cars, including three Ferraris, three Rolls-Royces, two Bentleys and a Mercedes, just for gambling there. News of this landed the casino in hot water with the New Jersey Casino Control Commission again. An investigation ensued and Trump Plaza was ultimately fined $450,000.
Mob ties and the final straw
It also caused LiButti some difficulty. During the investigation, LiButti was caught on tape referring to Gambino crime family leader John Gotti Jr. as his boss.
LiButti would later claim he was just postering, but in the end, he was banned from all New Jersey casinos over his alleged ties to organized crime.
LiButti was born in Union City, NJ. In 2014, he was living in Allendale, NJ when he passed away at the age of 82. LiButti’s obituary said he was a self-employed thoroughbred race horse broker, but ultimately, he will be remembered as one of New Jersey’s most notorious gamblers.
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