In 1973, school teacher Annette Gandy Fortt was told by an employee at Trump Management Company that there were no available rooms left and turned down twice.
In 1963, 10 years before Fortt’s incident, Nurse Maxine Brown’s application was turned away for the very same reason.
Now, the FBI has released a 389-page of records of a racial discrimination case in 1973 against President Donald Trump and his father, Fred, in an area of its website called the “Vault.”
The files recount dozens of interviews the feds conducted with Trump’s building tenants, employees and management to inquire whether they were treated with racial bias which made them harder (or even impossible) to rent Trump-branded apartments.
Many of the interviewees said they were not aware of any racial discrimination; there are however some records that show African American applicants were told there was no vacancy, yet when a white person went to inquire the same thing, they were offered leases.
A testimony from a former Trump Management employee, who was fired, stated Trump’s father told him “it was absolutely against the law to discriminate,” but later told him he “wanted 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.”
“Trump didn't tell me where this housing was located. He advised me not to rent to persons on welfare,” the employee said.
Another affidavit conducted with a former doorman at a Trump building in Brooklyn stated the man was told, “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.”
Phyllis Spiro, a white woman who went undercover in 1973 at a Trump property said a building’s superintendent admitted to her that “he followed a racially discriminatory rental policy at the direction of his superiors, and that there were only very few ‘colored’ tenants,” according to the report.
Spiro later said she and other activists found “a constant pattern and practice of discrimination” at Trump buildings.
The court documents also detail the experience of a husband and wife who rented properties, who said they had been told the Trump Management Co. “wanted to rent only to Jews and Executives’ and ‘discouraged rental to blacks.”
They also said that minorities were subjected to codes such as “No.9” for blacks and “C” for colored. The employees would use them to steers African American and Hispanics away from buildings occupied by mostly white tenants and direct them towards ones reserved for minorities.
The FBI also noted that many building managers were not aware they were supposed to have fair housing posters in their offices, as was required by the Department of Housing and Urban.
The investigation, which ran from 1972 to 1974, was one of the biggest discrimination cases brought during the era. In 1973, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division ultimately filed a lawsuit against the Trump Management Company.
The Trumps responded with a $100 million countersuit accusing the government of defamation and Trump, 27 years old at the time, held a press conference in which he called the allegations “such outrageous lies,” according to Washington Post.
The Trumps did not admit to racial discrimination or any other wrong doing but only said they wanted to filter out tenants who could not pay rent.
“What we didn’t do was rent to welfare cases, white or black," Trump wrote in a 1987 book.
Trump Management Company settled the litigation in 1975 with a consent decree which included a series of safeguards to ensure apartments were rented out without regard to race, religion, gender or nationality in the future.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: Wikimedia/ Reuters