Vail Daily letter: The real Trump
September 21, 2016
Steve Lamontagne's letter (published Tuesday) proclaims a blind and almost messianic belief in the strength, purity and goodness of Donald Trump. To that portion of his letter, I reply.
Mr. Lamontagne's assertions are based purely on Trump's own self-proclamations and, as reported in major news media such as The New York Times and the Washington Post, outright lies. His pitch is that he is a tough guy who will put all our problems in a box and everything with be just fine. Let's look at some hard truths concerning the character of this man:
1. He was sued in 1973 by the Department of Justice for civil rights violations. When he began managing his father's Trump Village in Brooklyn (a complex of several thousand apartments) Trump directed his staff to mark any rent applications from African Americans with a "C" (a latter-day scarlet letter) in order that they be rejected. He settled for a huge fine and a discontinuance of the practice.
2. Until comparatively recently, Trump was a Democrat (a necessity in order to play in the New York real estate market). In his first major Manhattan venture (reconstruction of the Commodore Hotel in central Manhattan), he secured (via political influence) a 40-year $325 million tax abatement. He went on to secure a myriad of tax abatements for subsequent projects, which tax breaks today total $885 million. He enriched himself at the expense of the public treasury.
3. Trump has been involved in over 3,000 lawsuits during his career. I think this is some evidence of his vindictive streak, to be understated about it.
4. When his New Jersey casinos failed, and even for many years before that, he left a trail many small business people unpaid for their hard work. Recently, a $30 million tax assessment asserted by the state of New Jersey arising from Trump's casino operations was magically settled for $1.5 million (did Chris Christie have anything to do with this?).
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5. Trump ran a modeling agency, where he brought in foreign women to work (possibly illegally), housed them in cramped quarters and took most of their earnings. This is presently under investigation. What a sweet man!
6. Trump's overseas dealings involve Eastern European oligarchs with government connections; some of these people, the CIA reports, are involved in illegal activities. In a recent Newsweek article, it was concluded that his overseas dealings could compromise our national security. A case in point is Turkey, where Trump is despised by president Erdogan (Turkish bases are crucial to US military operations in the Mideast).
7. Did Mr. Lamontagne ever stop to wonder why Trump won't release his tax returns? As a practicing tax attorney, I can speak with authority; and while I will not speculate about the contents, I am sure those returns will easily undermine Mr. Lamontagne's wholesome, all-American view of Mr. Trump.
8. Mr. Trump used funds from his Trump Foundation to make a $25,000 donation to the PAC for the attorney general of Florida; magically, her investigation of Trump university was closed. And, I might add, such use of funds is contrary to the terms of the foundation's tax exemption. Laws seem to be made for everyone but Trump.
I could go on for pages, but the editors most likely wouldn't publish such a tome. I trust a few example here in will suffice; and I can only guess that the monsters that he might appoint to the Supreme Court. The point is the Trump views everyone as a "mark" for his shady dealings, and if he should be elected in November, he will have over 300 million "marks" to defraud.
David M. Stern