tv NBC Nightly News NBC April 19, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT
on our broadcast here tonight -- sound and fury. donald trump has attracted headlines and polling numbers early on. but now comes the scrutiny. and tonight we'll look further into the trump empire, and we find all that glitters under the trump name is not gold. texas tinderbox. bad fires on the run tonight in the lone star state. firefifighters have their hands full, and we'll take you to the fire line. setting the stage. a big change in the way doctors will diagnose alzheimer's. and tonight, how this news could affect a lot of american families. making a difference for friends and neighbors who are victims of a staggering natural disaster. also here tonight, why the plane carrying the first lady is
in the news. plane carrying the first lady is in the news. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television good evening. while it's early yet and there are no established candidates on the gop side, donald trump is running first or second in a lot of the early polls. he is among the best-known names in this country, in part because that name is all over the place, on everything from buildings to tv shows on this network. trump's message in large part is that he could do in government what he has done in business. and tonight we have a look at some of what he's done in business, including some who have reason to doubt that trump name. we begin tonight with the reporting of nbc news national investigative correspondent michael isikoff. ♪ living in america >> reporter: donald trump says he's a fantastically successful billionaire businessman and would make a good president. >> i have built a great company.
i've done a great job. i put a lot of people to work. >> reporter: but a closer look at trump's business records also shows high-profile bankruptcy filings, multimillion-dollar real estate deals that went sour, and a trail of ongoing lawsuits accusing trump of deceptive business practices. >> the only thing that's brilliant about donald trump is his ability to get publicity and to promote himself. in that way he's a contemporary p.t. barnum. >> i don't think i exaggerate any more than anybody else. and it's interesting. it then becomes successful and everybody says, oh, what a great salesman he is. he's the greatest salesman on earth. excuse me. don't i have to build it? don't i have to get the zoning? don't i have to get the financing? don't i have to do all these things? >> reporter: trump owns luxury properties all over the world and makes millions licensing consumer products. he's a brand name and a tough boss. trump rules on his hit show, "the apprentice," now in its 11th season on nbc. >> and gary, you're fired. >> reporter: but some critics say his own management should have gotten him fired.
trump hotels and casinos in atlantic city filed for bankruptcy protection three times. they've since emerged from bankruptcy, his name still on them. trump argues competition and rough market forces were responsible and others were in control. >> wait a second. you were chairman of the board. >> excuse me. >> you were chairman of the board. >> i was chairman, but i didn't run the company. i had nothing to do with running the company. management -- >> you were paid $2 million a year. >> excuse me. i didn't run the company. i'm just telling you. >> so what were you paid $2 million a year for? >> excuse me. because of my genius. okay? >> reporter: many of trump's real estate projects are actually owned by others, who license the right to use his name. consider trump tower tampa, a 52-story luxury condominium that trump personally showed up to endorse in 2005. >> i've had great luck in florida, or whatever you want to call it. you could call it luck. you can call it talent. >> reporter: the project looks spectacular but never got off the ground, resulting in a tangled web of lawsuits, including one by more than 30 condo buyers. >> donald trump left us high and dry.
>> reporter: elaine lucadano says she lost her $45,000 investment. >> the dream turned into a nightmare for us, unfortunately. the building was never built. mr. trump took off on us when times got tough. he misled us into thinking that he was a partner in this entire project when actually he was just a licensor. >> reporter: trump disputes the allegations, and in this deposition again blamed the market. >> to be honest with you, they were better off that the building wasn't built. >> don't make it like a big deal. they put down a deposit on a condominium unit -- >> and they lost it. >> excuse me. and they paid a lot of money for it because the market was good. had the building been built they would have never closed because the units would have been worth, like everything else in florida, nothing to do with me -- >> reporter: then there's trump university. no actual campus or degrees. but students, some of whom are now suing, plunked down up to $35,000 for seminars. >> we're going to teach you about business. we're going to teach you better than the business schools are
going to teach you. >> 97% approval rating from the people that went there. >> reporter: but last year new york state regulators demanded trump stop calling it a university. and he did. and the texas attorney general's office opened an investigation into possible deceptive trade practices. which was dropped after the school stopped doing business in the state. >> why did you call it a university? >> because we didn't know there was any rules or regulations about using the name university. we didn't -- >> you didn't check that out? >> i think probably they felt that we would have qualified. if we didn't qualify, that's fine. we changed the name. >> as you take a step back from all this, i mean, if somebody were to say what have you learned from your successes, what have you learned from your failures that are relevant to considering you as a possible president? >> well, first of all, my successes, and i think you will attest to this, have been vast. i don't even view myself as having failures, and i certainly learn from things that don't work out as well. >> reporter: i also pressed trump about the birther issue,
which has gotten him traction in the polls. brian, when i spoke to hawaiian officials, they said trump's charges that president obama is concealing information about his birth are ludicrous and that the records in state files are completely consistent with the certification of live birth that he's already released. i asked trump today if he thought hawaiian officials are lying, and he didn't answer the question. >> all this while he still says he's mulling an official run. michael isikoff, our national investigative correspondent, thanks. we have news from the world of aviation again tonight. just days after the transportation department promised to fix problems in this country's air traffic control towers, there are two high-profile incidents to report tonight. first, the first lady's aircraft, an air force modified 737, was forced to abort its landing and then circle around andrews air force base yesterday after a controller error brought the official white house aircraft too close to a giant lumbering c-17 cargo jet that
was landing in order in front of the first lady's plane. we should add, in the aviation business these are known as go-arounds. they're not entirely uncommon at busy airports. obviously less common on flights like this one. they're usually caused by a preponderance of caution combined with a miscalculation by pilots or the tower regarding air or ground speed. and a night shift controller in ohio has been suspended for watching a movie while on duty. he left his radio key open and was inadvertently transmitting a scene from a samuel l. jackson movie called "cleaner" to pilots passing overhead in the air space. after complaints that the controller couldn't be reached, an air force pilot got through on a military radio frequency. we have big news out of texas tonight. wildfires fed by dangerous dry conditions and now on the run in some places with nothing to stop them. and they're all over the state. from the oklahoma border to the houston area. nbc's janet shamlian is with us
tonight from the fire line in caddo, texas, west of fort worth. janet, good evening. >> reporter: brian, good evening. the fire in this region has doubled in size over the past 24 hours. and even with more help arriving from all over the country this is an uphill battle. unrelenting wildfires, the likes of which texas has never seen, are hungrily consuming the state. more than a million and a half acres so far, with no sign of slowing down. >> you don't ever want to see this. you know, this is like a once in every 50 years type thing, and you hope it never happens again. >> reporter: the fires have been growing in size and number for weeks. but today new complications. as temperatures hit the 90s and gusting winds kicked up significantly. >> with these strong winds and these warm temperatures that just adds up to just what a wildfire needs to really take off. >> reporter: the smoke can even be seen from space. the satellite image from a few days ago shows a number of hot
spots spread throughout west texas. on the ground you can see the extent of the inferno. dozens of houses and businesses have burned to the ground. hundreds more are threatened. >> nothing i can do about it. i was worried about where i was going to sleep tonight. >> reporter: evacuation centers are set up as the flames and smoke push closer to residential areas and are now making their way toward some of the lone star state's biggest cities. this blaze is now 70 miles from fort worth. smaller fires that flared over the weekend have merged into one. >> just very scary. and hope that god protects our homes. and if not, we've got the most important things out, which is our family and our animals. >> reporter: texas battles wildfires every year. but this spring the state is extremely dry, with no end in sight. >> the main factor causing these fires is the drought. and it's not just the garden variety drought. in some areas here in west texas it's an exceptional drought, which is like a category 5 hurricane. >> reporter: except this fire
storm will not be making a quick exit. the road behind me runs right through one of the biggest fires in the state right now. and it is just an hour outside of fort worth. with these tinderbox conditions firefighters, brian, believe they are simply outmanned here. >> janet shamlian on the fires in caddo, texas for us. janet, thanks for your reporting. overseas now to libya, where nato admitted today its air strikes are not enough to stop the daily assault on libya's third largest city, misrata, where the rebels there are desperately trying to hold on. nbc's stephanie gosk is in benghazi tonight with more on this siege going on in misrata. stephanie, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. well, nato says that the fighting over the last ten days in misrata has been intense. their most recent air strikes have destroyed dozens of tanks and armored vehicles, but commanders admit that gadhafi still has considerable strength on the ground. seven weeks under siege, and the
fighting is only getting worse. government forces are trying to beat down not just the rebel fighters but the people of misrata themselves. there is no safe way in or out by road. the deep water port is the city's only lifeline. ships dock daily, bringing in food, medicine, and sometimes weapons. waiting to get out, human cargo. there are an estimated 5,000 migrant workers of many nationalities stuck since the fighting began, living in dirty and dangerous conditions. >> we are praying for god so that they can take us back to our country. >> reporter: when the opportunity comes to leave, there is a crush to get on board. no one wants to be left behind. this ferry boat chartered by a humanitarian group is evacuating migrant workers and the seriously injured. one man brings what is left of the rocket that shattered his friend's leg.
a rebel fighter hurt in battle. unlike 9-year-old mohammed, who was struck in the face by shrapnel while playing outside. >> this is what happens when you randomly bomb a city with innocent people. >> reporter: on board the boat doctors do what they can in cramped, unsanitary conditions. until they arrive at the port in benghazi. the trip took them 24 hours. they were in rough seas. there was very little painkiller. it's hard to imagine that they are the lucky ones. with the evacuees now in relative safety the boat loads up again, ready to return despite the danger to the fiercest battleground in libya's civil war. hoping to end the military stalemate, the british government is sending military advisers here to benghazi to help the rebels organize their army. they were careful to point out, brian, that they will not be arming them and they will not be participating in any military activities. >> nbc's stephanie gosk in benghazi. we'll watch that latest
development in this story. stephanie, thanks. and in cuba something happened today the u.s. has been waiting for for more than half a century. that would be ten u.s. presidents ago. this was the first day since 1959 that fidel castro, now 84 years of age, was not in power in any way. he made a surprise appearance at the communist party congress in havana in a blue track suit. he got huge applause. but he's resigned from his leadership post. the last vestige of his power since handing over leadership to his brother raul back in '06. nbc's jim miklaszewski is breaking the news tonight that the pentagon under intense pressure is giving in. it's moving bradley manning, the army private suspected of giving the classified data to wikileaks, from the marine corps brig at quantico, virginia to the army prison at fort leavenworth in kansas. this is more than just a change of venue. at quantico manning has been held in maximum security 23 hours a day in an isolated cell,
treated in ways that critics said amounted to torture. at leavenworth he'll be placed in a new medium security facility with much more freedom and contact with other inmates. when we come back here tonight, major changes in the way doctors diagnose alzheimer's. will it lead to new ways of treating the devastating illness? and later, total strangers making a difference for people whose lives were blown apart by this weekend's tornadoes.
for the first time in almost three decades the guidelines that doctors use to diagnose alzheimer's disease are changing. and this now means more than 10 million people in this country could be impacted by the disease. that's almost doubled. as we've been reporting over the years, alzheimer's is a devastating public health and private family problem. nearly 15 million americans provide care for a loved one suffering from alzheimer's. an american will develop symptoms every 69 seconds on
average. and among those 65 and over, a staggering 1 in 8 americans now has alzheimer's. our report from our chief science correspondent robert bazell. >> last year we talked a little bit about your forgetfulness -- >> reporter: the new guidelines recognize alzheimer's as a disease that unfolds over years, probably decades. >> one. >> reporter: and they identify 5 million americans like kippy reeder as having a prealzheimer's condition called mild cognitive impairment, or mci. the guidelines spell out three stages of alzheimer's. first come changes in the brain with no symptoms. no one knows how many people are affected. mci is the second stage, where people lose some memory but can still function. the third stage is full-blown alzheimer's, with major memory loss, which afflicts 5.4 million. >> so that part of the brain's not working very well. >> reporter: experts like dr. ronald peterson of the mayo
clinic say the new guidelines will have little direct benefit for patients now but should lead to better treatments in the future. >> what we need are the drugs that really go after the underlying disease mechanism itself. >> we're going to put the blocks together to -- >> reporter: to understand the disease and find those drugs, the mayo clinic has been studying older people over years. >> finished. >> now i have four words for you to try to remember. >> reporter: they undergo memory tests. >> i didn't remember any of them. >> reporter: together with brain scans, blood tests, and taps of their spinal fluid. >> the goal with these scans and many other measurements is to determine exactly what happens in the body as a person progresses from normal memory to mild impairment to full-blown alzheimer's disease. >> reporter: none of these tests can yet identify people in the early non-symptomatic state, but the scientists hope eventually some will. >> we're applying sort of the state-of-the-art technology for the prediction and diagnosis of alzheimer's disease. >> reporter: and the hope is it will eventually lead to drugs to stop the disease before it robs the memory. robert bazell, nbc news,
new york state health officials reversed themselves tonight and backed off a list of summer camp activities they first said present a significant risk of injury and should have subject to regulation. some of them were pretty obvious. archery, which is dicey. arts and crafts involving nail guns. again, dicey. and horseshoes, which after all features flying hunks of metal. but the rest of the endangered sports bordered on the absolutely ridiculous. tag in all forms, capture the flag, red rover, and wiffle ball. again, because they supposedly
represented a significant risk of injury. this whole movement, as you may know, started when they outlawed dodgeball. grete waitz has died. she was the runner from norway who won the new york city marathon nine times. she was also a silver medalist at the '84 olympics in l.a. she was a former schoolteacher in oslo. she died after a six-year battle with cancer. grete waitz was just 57 years old. and as "the new york times" put it this morning, new york had its fiorello laguardia, chicago had its daleys, baltimore had william donald schaefer. well, william donald schaefer has died. and while he was also the governor of maryland, he'll go down as one of the great big city mayors of the past 100 years. he was born in baltimore, went to baltimore city college and the university of baltimore law school. a world war ii vet, his motto in office became "do it now." he transformed baltimore. he cleaned it up, sometimes by hand. he built it up to include harbor place, camden yards, and the aquarium.
finally tonight, our "making a difference" report. once again there's been a natural disaster in the u.s., and once again people have stepped up to help without being asked. nbc's kerry sanders reports tonight from the tornado damage zone in north carolina. >> oh, my baby. >> reporter: for some the tornado stole everything. but in the chaos this disaster delivered something unexpected. >> it means so much to have you here. >> reporter: for so many here it's not the water -- >> we're going to drop off another case of water. >> reporter: -- or the food. >> i have an apple pie and a blueberry cobbler, and we brought some clothes and we came to find out what more we could do to help. >> oh. >> reporter: it's those hugs. >> hey, buddy. >> how are you doing? >> how are you doing? >> i'm doing fine.
>> reporter: hugs and prayers. >> lord, in this mess we just praise you anyway. >> reporter: patrolling bertie county's 721 square miles again today, jamie crumpler. >> we're just checking to see if you need anything, any water or -- >> we're good. >> -- paper products, snacks. >> reporter: and jake simmons. >> it doesn't matter who they are. long as they get something. >> reporter: they were strangers until the tornadoes threw them together. >> right now they need and they need shelter and they need to know that people care. >> reporter: and now they're the front-line soldiers in an army of volunteers. what started with just a few has now turned into 100. 400 meals prepared for lunch and then another 400 for dinner. jake simmons is a chicken farmer who says if she were a victim she knows others would step up. >> they would be doing the same thing for me. >> you know that? >> i know that for a fact. >> even though these are all strangers. >> we're all strangers. >> and yet? >> and yet we're here to help.
>> reporter: to help with something as little as a comforting word, that no one here is alone. >> thank you. >> i love you. >> i love you. >> reporter: kerry sanders, nbc news, bertie county, north carolina. >> and that's our broadcast for this tuesday night back in new york. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. and we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. and we hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com big whangs changes in the city's biggest sewer system and why it could cost you more money. a job fair and why it's a sign of the times. a dial into parking the a twist on paying for your parking spot in san francisco.