In 1973, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division filed a lawsuit against Trump Management Company, Donald Trump, and his dad Fred Trump for systemically preventing Black and Puerto Rican people from renting apartments from them.
The Bureau’s FOIA website has now published hundreds of pages from that investigation, which includes interviews with former tenants and management. The Trumps settled the litigation with the FBI in 1975.
Part of the terms of that settlement said the Trumps didn’t have to admit any wrongdoing, but it doesn’t take a lot to see the racism present in the case. For example, this 1974 statement from a doorman at a Trump building in Brooklyn:
“While employed in this capacity I was supervised by an individual known to me as [redacted] who was employed by Trump Management Corporation as superintendent at 265037 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn, New York.
[Redacted] told me that if a black person came to 265037 Ocean Parkway and inquired about an apartment for rent, and he, that is, [redacted] was not there at the time, that I should tell him that the rent was twice as much as it really was, in order that he could not afford the apartment.”
However, one employee told investigators that he or she had been specifically directed by the elder Trump to screen applicants and not “rent to blacks” and to steer them to other buildings.
“I asked Fred Trump what his policy was regarding minorities and he said it was absolutely against the law to discriminate. At a later time during my two weeks at [one Trump building], Fred Trump told me not to rent to blacks,” said the unnamed employee, who was eventually fired.
“[Trump] also wanted me to get rid of the blacks that were in the building by telling them cheap housing was available for them at only $500 down payment, which Trump would offer to pay himself. Trump didn’t tell me where this housing was located,” he said.
The employee also noted that he or she thought that the rental office often wrote codes on the top of rental applications to distinguish between black and white applicants.
If you’re not a rich, white, male you’re probably not going to enjoy this Presidency, folks.