We Bought 'Trump' Property —and Then Got Screwed

Donald licenses his name, developments fall through, buyers feel burned
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted May 13, 2011 11:11 AM CDT

(Newser) – Donald Trump's name is attached to luxury high-rises and buildings all over the world—but the expensive units aren't always what they seem. In an in-depth report on the Donald's real estate practices, the New York Times reports that in some cases, Trump has only licensed his name and was not involved in the development at all. And when three of these projects fell through, Trump pulled his name and kept his fees, while buyers lost millions—and 300 of them are suing Trump or his company. “When things got over-inflated in the world,” said Trump’s son, Donald Jr., "we removed ourselves from the ground-up development world, where we are risking a lot more.”

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And it seems to have paid off: Trump was paid $4 million plus a share of the profits to license his name to the Trump Tower Tampa and make two appearances of less than six hours each. A lawyer for Trump's company says that Trump's role was made clear in purchasing documents—though he admitted they could be tricky to understand without a lawyer's help; and the agreement Trump signed for the Tampa property actually specifies that the existence of the license agreement be kept confidential. "He is looking out for Donald Trump and the dollar,” said one retiree who lost $75,600 when the development fell through. (Read more Donald Trump stories.)

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