Trump’s three-decade old habit of stiffing employees comes to light

USA Today published a feature on Thursday highlighting examples from “hundreds” of documents obtained by the news outlet of cases where Donald Trump failed to pay subcontractors, real-estate agents, lawyers and service workers while employed by one of the New York billionaire’s companies.

As also reported by USA Today on June 2, Trump has been named in over 3,500 lawsuits since the 1980s, 1,300 in which he was a defendant.

Documents reviewed by the organization most recently include property and mechanic’s liens as well as lawsuits, 60 involving allegations of non-payment for services rendered.

A report in 1990 by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, for example, shows that more than 250 subcontractors that helped build Trump’s Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City were shorted by $69.5 million. 

More recently, the company that manages Trump’s Doral golf resort in Miami settled with 48 food and drink servers for not being paid overtime wages after putting in 20 hour work days over a period of a week and a half.

Also in May, a Florida judge ordered foreclosure on the same Doral property after a painting subcontractor sued Trump’s company for the $30,000 owed since over two years ago.  Trump’s lawyers filed a motion appealing the order, and the subcontractor still hasn’t been paid.

In 2013, Trump International Reality broker Rana Williams filed suit for being shorted by over $735,000 in commission payments on two deals brokered in 2009 and 2013.

“There were instances where a sizable commission would come in and we would be waiting for payment and it wouldn’t come,” said Williams in sworn testimony two years ago. “That was both for myself and for some of the agents.”

In a corresponding interview for the piece, Trump responded to the accusations with the following:

“Let’s say that they do a job that’s not good, or a job that they didn’t finish, or a job that was way late. I’ll deduct from their contract, absolutely. That’s what the country should be doing.”

Despite Trump’s claim, the real-estate developer has asked subcontractors to be rehired for work that in the past he said was not worthy of payment.

In 1984, for example, after a Philadelphia cabinetry company was stiffed out of over $80,000 for the building of slot machine bases, desks and bars in Trump’s Plaza Casino at Atlantic City, Trump said in a meeting with contractors that the cabinet-maker would be hired for work in the future but wouldn’t be paid in full what was already done.

In response to that specific incident, Trump only said, “Was the work bad? Was it bad work? . . . Well, see here’s the thing. You’re talking about, what, 30 years ago?”


[USA Today] [Photo courtesy Getty Images/New York Daily News Archive]