Enemies in High Places
Bankrolling the Seminoles’ quest for a Las Vegas-style casino was future President Donald J.
Trump, who had just offloaded his casino, the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, to billionaire
corporate raider Carl Icahn.
Trump was struggling to compete against his tribal rivals.
Trump retained Greenberg Traurig, a powerful lobbying/law firm, as tribal counsel.
A self-style “gateway to Israel,” Greenberg Traurig was correspondence address for the Council
of Energy Resource Tribes, which represents trillions of dollars worth of oil, minerals, and
natural resources in Indian Country.
Abramoff’s lobbying rivals controlled powerful tribal gaming regulatory authorities like the
National Indian Gaming Commission.
The Lobbying Campaign
Trump Hotel & Casino Resorts “cut its largest check” to the Republican Party of Florida for
$50,000 to secure state permission for the Seminoles to pursue Las Vegas style gambling in
Jim Allen, a former Trump Properties and casino executive from Atlantic City, was appointed
Chairman of Hard Rock International and CEO of Seminole Gaming while Abramoff was
wading into Florida’s shark-infested waters.
Trump unsuccessfully lobbied Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, among others, to legalize casino gambling