“If you’re gonna deal with Donald Trump, whatever you contracted for, you are not gonna be paid that amount.”
These are the words of Paul Friel, whose father, Edward, was a contractor for Trump’s Plaza casino — and who was refused final payment because of his “inferior” work. What’s bizarre is the fact that Trump invited Friel to work on other projects in the future.
When Friel slammed the Trump organization with a lawsuit, the boorish mogul made sure he would no longer find any work in Atlantic City. The Edward Friel Co. never recovered from the setback.
The Friel family was just one of many who were stiffed by Trump under the guise of “inferior work” or some such other excuse.
In casino commission records of an audit, it was revealed Trump’s companies owed $69.5 million to 253 subcontractors on his Taj Mahal casino. Some had filed lawsuits against him but many others tried renegotiation with Trump to salvage whatever they could.
One of them was Marty Rosenberg, the then-vice president of Atlantic Plate and Glass Co. who said he was owed $1.5 million for his work on Taj Mahal. When Trump refused to pay in full, he had to delay his own suppliers to the project. The renegotiations led to him eventually getting 70 percent of what he was owed and he was at least able to pay back his suppliers.
However, architect Andrew Tesoro was not so lucky. His small business was hired to design a clubhouse for the Trump National Golf Club and he was owed $140,000 in payments.
The real estate mogul called him to the clubhouse once it was finished and “bullied” him into accepting only $50,000 — a little more than one-third of what he was owed. Tesoro, who did not want to file an expensive lawsuit, agreed to the amount, but it wasn’t paid either.
When he went to meet Trump, he was told he would get only $25,000.
“Mr. Trump’s attorney said if I were to sue the Trump organization, I would probably get that money, but he made very clear to me that it was his job to make sure that it took me so long and so much money that I was probably wise to accept this very meager sum of money at the end of the day, which I did,” Tesoro said. “It almost put me out of business. I made virtually zero money for a couple of years and lived on meager savings that were supposed to be for my son to go to school to keep from folding.”
Many contractors retrenched and even went bankrupt after dealing with Trump.
“I have no animosity toward Donald Trump,” Rosenberg said in an interview. “As the president of the United States, he scares the death out of me.”
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Yuri Gripas