1970s Trump housing discrimination records made public
Posted On: Feb 18, 2017
The FBI made available 389 pages from a 1970s investigation of racial discrimination accusations against Trump Management Company, a real-estate business linked to President Donald Trump at the time.
A civil-rights lawsuit brought by the Justice Department against Donald Trump and his father Fred Trump in 1973 claimed that African-Americans and Puerto Ricans were prevented from renting apartments from Trump.
The heavily redacted records of dozens of tenants and employees of Trump Management Company provided an overwhelming amount of information on the matter, however, one statement from a rental supervisor stood out:
"I asked Fred Trump what his policy was regarding minorities and he said it was absolutely against the law to discriminate. At a later time ... Fred Trump told me not to rent to blacks. He also wanted me to get rid of the blacks that were in the building by telling them cheap housing was available for them at only $500 down payment, which Trump would offer to pay himself. Trump didn't tell me where this housing was located."
He also gave this account after a colleague received a black couple's application:
"I thought the black couple would be judged acceptable as tenants based on [employment and weekly salary]. However, [redacted] just told me they're blacks and and that's that. I believe that [redacted] and others working at the rental office used a code on the top of the front page of the application to distinguish blacks from whites."
In a separate report from The Washington Post, the government alleged that Trump employees marked minority applicants with codes, such as “No. 9” or “C” for “colored.”
(A man removes letters from the awning of the former Trump Place in New York, Nov. 16, 2016. Donald Trump's name is being stripped off three luxury apartment buildings after hundreds of tenants signed a petition saying they were embarrassed to live in a place associated with Trump.Seth Wenig/AP)
Another interview from a former doorman of a Trump building in Brooklyn provided the following account:
"[Redacted] told me that if a black person came to 2650 Ocean Parkway and inquired about an apartment for rent, and he, that is [redacted] was not there at the time, that I should tell him that the rent was twice as much as it really was, in order that he could not afford the apartment."
Although some of the allegations were damning, the majority of those interviewed in the investigation said they were unaware of discrimination, according to Politico.
Trump eventually filed a $100 million countersuit, accusing the government of defamation, alleging that they were saying “such outrageous lies.” Trump said that although the company wanted to avoid renting to welfare applicants, he'd never discriminated based on race.
In 1975, Trump agreed to a consent decree, whereby no admission of wrongdoing would be given, however, his management company was ordered to take out ads telling ethnic minorities that they were welcome to seek housing at Trump properties.