Two major characteristics separate President Trump from other men to hold the office: He has no political experience, and he heavily relies on family members and a few long-time trusted advisers. One of the people the president leans on is White House counsel Donald F. McGahn, whose family has long ties to Donald J. Trump. As the Washington Post noted, McGahn is the nephew of Patrick ‘Paddy’ McGahn Jr., who once was Trump’s lawyer.

Patrick McGahn, who died in 2000, was more than a lawyer. He controlled the South Jersey Democratic machine and largely was credited with bringing casino gambling to Atlantic City. New Jersey state records show that he assisted Trump in the $1.1 million cash purchase of property from organized crime figures.

Mobsters and Parking

The Trump Organization in 1982 began construction on Harrah’s at Trump Plaza, an Atlantic City casino that later became the Trump Plaza. While Trump had the casino site, he did not have a place to park customers’ cars. Trump was interested in two potential site that he wanted to turn into parking.

In a book about Trump, investigative reporter Wayne Barrett, who died earlier this year, wrote that the site Trump eventually purchased was owned by two sons of organized crime figures: Salvatore “Salvie” Testa and Frank Narducci, Jr. They had paid $195,000 in 1977 for the property directly across the street from the Trump Plaza, and operated a nightclub on it.

Testa’s father, Philip “Chicken Man” Testa, was killed by a bomb – an act that was immortalized in the Bruce Springsteen song “Atlantic City” (“Well they blew up the chicken man in Philly last night now they blew up his house too”). Barrett alleged that Testa “headed Nicodemo “Nicky” Scarfo’s hit-man squad called the Young Executioners.” FBI reports state the Scarfo crime family at the time “dominated Atlantic City and Philadelphia.”

A Website about organized crime called Narducci Jr. a “Philly Wiseguy.” He was convicted of murder along with Scarfo and five other reported organized crime figures. Narducci’s father ironically was killed reportedly in retaliation for his role in the murder of Philip Testa.

Patrick McGahn’s Role

New Jersey state investigative records show that Trump paid $1.1 million for the site, after the title was transferred from Testa and Narducci to Patrick McGahn’s secretary and then to a Trump entity.

An investigative report on Trump’s license to operate Trump Plaza undertaken by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement states that Trump knew the property was owned by what the DGE called “Testa Group.”

The DGE report states: “Because [Trump] did not want to negotiate with those people directly, he instructed his attorney, Patrick T. McGahn, Jr., to deal with a broker and arrange for a cash deal. With respect to the property in question, by deed dated July 11, 1977, Jeanne’s Enterprises transferred the property to Frank J. Narducci Jr. and Salvatore A. Testa. By deed dated April 1, 1982, Narducci conveyed his interest in the property to Testa.”

The DGE reports that Trump “authorized McGahn to purchase the property . . . for such entity which [Trump] would thereafter designate in writing. [Trump] also requested that McGahn ensure that the property would be fully assignable.” Barrett alleged the other “entity” was McGahn’s secretary.

The closing was held on November 4, 1982 in McGahn’s law office. The DGE report states that the people who attended the closing included McGahn, Testa and his lawyer, and Chris Scarfo – “the son of Nicodemo Scarfo.” The DGE notes: “The $1,100,000 purchase price of the property was paid in cash.”


The author is a former Congressional investigator.

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