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Last night at Jue Lan Club, the Chinese restaurant inside of the former Limelight, we went upstairs to check out the club kids wallpaper and ended up ducking into the private dining room, where there’s a gallery of Tina Paul’s nightlife photos. Who should we find there but Donald Trump. Obviously not the real Donald Trump– he’s been busy crafting his inaugural address (from a receptionist’s desk?). No, this was a photo of The Donald at the opening of Club USA, congratulating owner Peter Gatien and his right-hand-man John Carmen. The snap was taken in 1992, about 11 years before the, um, deporation force sent Gatien back to Canada for tax evasion. (Yes, sometimes our friends across the northern border break the law.)

In 1992, newly divorced Trump was a man on the prowl. He made appearances at Limelight, the Episcopalian church turned drug den better known as Slimelight. The China Club was his “Monday-night nest,” according to a Newsday item from that year. It’s where a woman says she was groped by Trump in the early ’90s. The year 1992 was also when Trump allegedly groped a woman at Mar-a-Lago and joked of a schoolgirl that he’d be “dating her in 10 years.”

As you can imagine, the opening of Club USA was pretty eventful. Here’s how New York magazine described Trump’s appearance on the scene:

She takes her right breast out first. Barbara Dare, a porn star with spiky blonde hair and a curvy body barely contained by a black catsuit, stands on the stage at Club USA lasciviously licking her lips. Two thousand people writhe on the dance floor nearby, but Dare doesn’t care. She peels the right side of the catsuit from her shoulder and starts caressing herself. First with her hands; then, slowly, with her tongue. Next comes the left breast, glowing red, green, and blue as spotlights slide down Dare’s naked flesh. And she isn’t even being paid. Walking through the club, seemingly oblivious to the artery-jarring deep-house music and the Club Kids clad only in white BVD briefs, his Zen-like calm unshaken by the one-named male models baring their washboard stomachs or by the bodacious Barbara Dare, is Peter Gatien. At 39, Gatien is the most powerful nightclub owner in the city: He controls Limelight, Palladium, the Tunnel, and, as of this raucous opening night in mid-December, Club USA, an $8-million funhouse at 218 West 47th Street, just off Times Square.

As Gatien strands quietly at the side of the velvet-roped entrance, the fabulous, the ex-fabulous, and the habitual seekers of an open bar parade by: Lady Kier Kirby. Jock Soto. Peter Frampton. Spike Lee. Robin Byrd. Pedro Almodovar. Not one stops to shake Gatien’s hand.

Then Donald Trump arrives, without a date but with two bodyguards. Trump poses for the swarming paparazzi, then charges over to Gatien.

“Peter! Congratulations on the club!” Trump says. “I’m giving you good comments over here with the TV people; didja hear that?” Gaiten nods and thanks him politely as the photographers shout for a picture of the two moguls.

“I guess I’ve made it now,” Gatien says as Trump leaves for the VIP room. “Been photographed with Donald Trump.” He lets out a small laugh. “In the eights I said, ‘This guy must be a genius.’ Buying things was easy. Running things– now that’s hard.”

To put things in context, by 1992, Trump was said to be $900 million in debt; by the end of the year, he had filed for bankruptcy twice (once for the Taj Mahal and the other for the Trump Plaza Hotel, which had lost $550 million). So it’s doubtful Gatien still considered him a genius.

But whatever. Now he’s President!

Correction: A previous version of this post misidentified the photographer of the Trump photo.