NEW YORK–(ENEWSPF)–October 25, 2016. Today, Hillary for America is releasing a new video with Senator Tim Kaine and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton that tells the story of Mae Brown Wiggins. Mae, a registered nurse, was denied housing in Trump’s apartment building based on the color of her skin. At the time, Congresswoman Norton was head of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, which investigated the discrimination on the Trump properties and whose work helped the Department of Justice hold the Trumps accountable.
DONALD TRUMP’S HISTORY OF HOUSING DISCRIMINATION
At the first presidential debate, Trump admitted he was sued for housing discrimination saying, “we settled… it was very easy.” For black families trying to find a home, there was nothing “easy” about it.
Trump’s real estate company had a disturbing practice of marking applications from black families with the letter “‘C’, for ‘Colored.” This troubling anecdote dates back to the early 1970s, when Trump was President of his dad’s real estate company and the family business was sued by the Justice Department for refusing to rent apartments to African Americans in New York City and Virginia. The lawsuit unearthed a disturbing pattern among employees of Trump’s real estate company, who appeared to systematically deny applications to aspiring black renters.
Recent reports shine new light on these serious allegations and the painful anecdotes that accompanied them, including:
A Trump building superintendent testified that he was instructed to flag applications from black families with a “C”, and doormen were told to tell black applicants that no apartments were available: Los Angeles Times: “One doorman reported to investigators that he was told to tell black visitors that no apartments were available; a building superintendent in Queens said he was told to attach a paper to applications from blacks with a letter ‘C,’ for ‘colored.’”
A Trump building manager told the New York Times what happened when he asked Trump’s father what to do with a black couple’s application: “Stanley Leibowitz, the rental agent, talked to his boss, Fred C. Trump. ‘I asked him what to do and he says, ‘Take the application and put it in a drawer and leave it there,’’ Mr. Leibowitz, now 88, recalled in an interview.”
We’ve since learned that Donald was in the room when discrimination took place, and that the N-word was used in Trump offices: New York Daily News: “Donald Trump’s father once used the N-word when rejecting a black tenant’s application to rent a Trump apartment in Queens, a retired building manager told the Daily News. And the now-GOP nominee was standing right next to his father Fred when it happened and did not react.”
Black families made up a tiny percentage of renters in Trump-owned buildings: Washington Post: “Other rental agents employed by the Trumps told the FBI that only 1 percent of tenants at the Trump-run Ocean Terrace Apartments were black, and that there were no black tenants at Lincoln Shore Apartments.”
These and other allegations formed the basis for the lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice in 1973. Trump would fight the charges for years before agreeing to a consent decree that required the company to do more outreach in black communities. But Trump would violate that decree just years later.
Daily Beast: “The DOJ and the Trumps were back in court again, with the government charging that the real estate company wasn’t complying with the agreed terms in the consent decree…’racially discriminatory conduct by Trump agents has occurred with such frequency that it has created a substantial impediment to the full enjoyment of equal opportunity.’”
Despite Trump’s claim that many companies were sued for discrimination when he was, the truth is that Fred and Donald Trump’s disregard for the law was so egregious that the case made against them was “one of the strongest” the Justice Department had ever brought under the Fair Housing Act.
Washington Post: “On several levels, Trump’s debate answer was misleading. This was not a case brought against many real estate firms; it was brought against Trump and his father…. While Trump touts there was no admission of guilt, that’s rather typical in these sorts of settlements. The Justice Department simply wanted to get the Trumps to agree to rent to African American tenants — which they failed to do even after agreeing to settle the case. Four Pinocchios.”
And today, new reporting revealed Trump’s company was sued yet again, in 1982, for racial discrimination. Again the Trumps agreed to a consent decree and settled with the plaintiffs.
Mother Jones: “[Just] as the Trumps’ standoff with the Justice Department was winding down, their real estate business was hit by a group of similar lawsuits for again allegedly discriminating against black New Yorkers looking for apartments. In April 1982, the Open Housing Center, a fair housing advocacy outfit, filed class action lawsuits against several landlords and real estate brokers on behalf of nine African Americans who had been denied apartments in Queens.