Two African American women faced racial discrimination while applying for an apartment — by none other than Donald Trump’s father, Fred.
Annette Gandy Fortt and Maxine Brown both applied for New York apartments owned by the Trump management — and despite having impressive credentials were turned down based on the color of their skins, according to NBC News. According to both the plaintiffs, a young Donald Trump was in the company of his father when the decisions were made and very aware of the company’s racist policies.
In 1973, Fortt, then a New York City school teacher, was told by the super at the Trump’s apartment block that there were no available units left and was turned down twice. Fortt then reported the issue to the New York City Human Rights Commission, which sent a white person with a similar resume to apply for the apartment. The person was accepted immediately and the civil rights group brought a racial discrimination lawsuit against the Trump Management.
However, Fortt’s case wasn’t the only time Trump Management rejected an applicant based on their race.
In 1963, 10 years before Fortt applied for housing, Brown claims she suffered through a similar experience.
"I was turned away because of my color," said Brown, who is now 86.
Brown’s resume was considered by rental agent, Stanley Weibowitz, who thought her qualifications as a nurse were “beautiful” and suitable for the company. Yet she was still turned down because Trump’s father told him they “don't rent to the N-word. Put it in a drawer and forget about it.”
"Donald Trump was right alongside his father when I was instructed to do that,” he said.
He added that Donald Trump “shook his head, in, uh, that's the way it's supposed to be. Agreeing with his father.”
Brown also filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission and was offered an apartment after the hearing.
Sheila Hoyt-Morse, a tester who worked for the commission also spoke against the Trump organization. She said that she was always accepted when she would go to apartments black people were turned away from. She talked about an occasion in 1970 when a black man was refused housing even though the Trump-owned apartment had a vacancy sign on the window.
Soon after the allegations, Trump’s spokeswoman Hope Hicks said there “was no merit” to the claims.
“This suit was brought as part of a nationwide inquiry against a number of companies, and the matter was ultimately settled without any finding of liability and without any admission of wrongdoing whatsoever,” she said.
However, Fortt said she has kept papers from her case for more than 42 years and would not have spoke out if not for the fact that trump had brushed off the accusations that resurfaced during his election campaign.
"I think it's important that history not be erased," she said.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Jonathan Ernst