Last night, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes highlighted Donald Trump’s long record of ripping off small business owners and failing to pay his bills. This week, Trump’s company was hit with its 23rd lien for failing to pay nearly a quarter of a million dollars owed to a construction company. Trump also faces nearly $300,000 in legal fees after a two year trial for failing to pay a Florida small business owner the $34,000 he was owed.
So much for the Art of the Deal…
Donald Trump: We have many, many properties in Florida. In Miami, where we have great, great developments, we own Doral, which is one of the great places in the world. I think it’s the greatest resort or just about. I bought it and had a choice. I said we could I said we can do that ‘a’ job, the ‘b’ job, the ‘c’ job, or the ‘d’ job. We could even do the ‘f’ job and that was leaving it alone. But, we blew it up and we did the ‘a+’ job and we did the right thing.
Chris Hayes: We did the right thing. That was Donald Trump speaking in Florida yesterday about his purchase and renovation of the historic Doral golf club in Miami, a course that has hosted PGA events for the past 55 years. There are a whole slew of people who say Trump didn’t do the right thing when it comes to the golf course. Especially, contractors who say they got stiffed by Trump. According to the Miami Herald on Tuesday, the Trump golf club was hit with its 23rd lien by a construction firm who said they are still owed, still, over $200,000 by Trump’s company. That’s after filings from 22 other contractors and subcontractors claiming Trump’s company failed to pay their contracts in full. Trump’s business attorney told the Herald, “on a project of this magnitude with hundreds of contractors, 20 liens isn’t a big deal. It’s a complicated project, and what’s important is the fact things are getting paid.”
Now, that makes it seem like Trump is trying to settle up, perhaps they just can’t write checks fast enough. But, here is what the process has looked like for just one of those 23 contractors. Alright, Trump had a $200,000 deal with The Paint Spot, a local, independently owned, small business in Miami. After the renovation of Doral, The Paint Spot said it was still waiting for Trump’s company to pay the final $34,000 from the paint contract. The owner, Juan Carlos Enriquez, sued and spent more than two years in court. According to court testimony, the manager of the general contractor for the Doral renovation admitted the decision was made not to pay The Paint Spot because Trump “already paid enough.” Okay, so this past May, Miami Dade Circuit Judge Jorge Cueto ruled in favor of Enriquez ordering Trump’s company to pay the paint shop or the Trump golf course would be foreclosed. Judge Cueto even filed the paperwork for a 9 a.m. foreclosure sale of the golf club in June.
A week later more bad news for team Trump. PGA announced it was pulling its tournament from the Doral golf course saying it couldn’t find a sponsor. Now Trump eventually fought off foreclosure by placing the $34,000 he owed in escrow, but it doesn’t end there. The judge ruled last month that Trump’s company would have to compensate the paint shop for its legal fees, to the tune of $300,000. Last week, Trump’s lawyers filed an appeal. Again, this is the story of just one of the 23 contractors from one of Donald Trump’s properties. And in this one case, Trump risked foreclosure of the property he bought for 150 million dollars, in order to withhold $34,000 from a small, local paint shop. For the guy who makes the best deals, Trump is now facing nearly $300,000 in legal fees, more than the entire original contract with the Miami paint supplier.