A brief history of Trump’s small-time swindles

President Trump has long claimed to be a fierce defender of the “forgotten” American. In his unsettlingly dark inauguration address, for example, Trump declared: “The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now. … And I will fight for you with every breath in my body, and I will never, ever let you down.”

But Trump has long made a career of letting down just these sorts of Americans.

Despite his fiery rally rhetoric and over-the-top working-class bluster, Trump’s hypocrisy on this score has always been gobsmackingly obvious, since in his former life as a real estate tycoon he left a long trail of small businesses and independent contractors feeling bilked or burned.

Granted, fights between developers and contractors over payments are not uncommon in the construction and real estate business. But consultants and lawyers in the industry say that Trump’s tactics — like using last-minute excuses to either refuse payment or renegotiate terms — were especially cutthroat and petty.

Let’s take a brief (and hardly comprehensive) tour of some of the Americans left burned by the president.

1. Trump’s personal driver

This is the latest entry in Trump’s ledger: Noel Cintron, 59, says he worked as a chauffeur for Trump and his family for 25 years. On top of a mammoth unpaid overtime bill — 3,300 hours in the last six years — Cintron says he only got a raise twice after 2003: to $68,000 in 2006, and then to $75,000 in 2010. The second bump came with a requirement that Cintron give up his health benefits. All told, Cintron is suing Trump for at least $350,000 in damages.

2. A Philadelphia cabinet maker

Edward Friel Jr. owned a family business that harked back to the 1940s. During the Atlantic City boom four decades later, he landed a $400,000 contract to make slot machines, bars, desks, and other furniture for Harrah’s at Trump Plaza. But Trump refused to pay the final bill of around $84,000. Friel’s son suspected that Trump also used his clout in the industry to block the company from getting other Atlantic City contracts. Friel had to file for bankruptcy a few years later.

3. A paint seller and event workers in Florida

After putting in long hours for a special event at Trump National Doral, a Miami resort, 48 servers had to sue for unpaid overtime. The settlements averaged around $800 per worker, but went as high as $3,000 in one case. On top of that, a paint shop owner named Juan Carlos Enriquez also sued Trump’s business, claiming he never got the final payment for a paint shipment to the same resort. In 2017, after a three-year legal fight, a court found in Enriquez’s favor, and ordered Trump’s company to pay the final $32,000, plus $300,000 in legal fees.

4. A drapery business in Las Vegas

Back in 2007, Larry Walters got an order for over $700,000 …read more

Source:: The Week – Business


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