(CBS) — The man now eyeing the White House once had his eyes set on another place: Gary, Indiana.
Republican Nominee Donald Trump gambled and won a coveted casino license in Gary. But as CBS 2 Investigator Brad Edwards asks, did he make Gary great again?
When he rolled into Gary in 1993, Trump said, “I believe you will be seeing a facility the likes of which you’ve never seen.”
Trump’s pitch to the Indiana Gaming Commission then: If he got his riverboat casino license, said he’d deliver a 15-story hotel with crystal chandeliers, opulent decor, the whole nine yards, he describes.
“We’re going to do something that’s so good and so magnificent and so successful that a lot of people are going to be working,” he said then.
Karen Freeman Wilson is now the mayor of Gary. She says she remembers the announcement.
Trump got in, made a profit, and got out, and was able to use that money to make a comeback.
One of those promises was that he was going to remodel the Sheraton Hotel.
While pushing for a license in September 1994, Trump told the commission, “I look at your former hotel, the Sheraton, right opposite of City Hall…” later saying, “…it really looks like hell…”
Then saying, “I think we’ll build it, yes, we will. I think it’s important for Gary,” he said.
And by May of 1996, Trump had won his license for a riverboat casino.
But badly in debt in Atlantic City, Trump sold his Indiana operation for $253 million in 2005. In 2009 the buyer went bankrupt.
As for the rendering of a hotel Trump promised to build in Gary, became something different in real life.
“You know certainly we don’t expect a Trump Tower, but we don’t expect a Super 8 either,” Freeman Wilson said, comparing what he built in Gary instead to a Super 8 Hotel chain.
Bookings at the now-named Majestic Star Hotel, start at less than $70 a night. “In my harshest estimation, he made his money off the backs of Gary residents,” Freeman Wilson said.
As for Trump’s promise to re-do the Sheraton, it didn’t happen. The building languished for another 20 years.
“We got a big hole next door [to City Hall], not because he tore it down, but because I tore it down,” the mayor of Gary said.
The Trump campaign did not return repeated messages seeking comment.