US President Donald Trump’s father Fred Trump ordered an employee to “get rid of blacks” in an apartment block and to avoid renting out flats to African-Americans and Puerto Ricans, a newly released FBI dossier has claimed.
The potentially damaging allegations of racial discrimination date back to 1973 when Fred Trump was chairman of the Trump Management Company – and his son Donald was heavily involved in the family firm as its 27-year-old president.
They are contained within a 389-page dossier that has just been made public by the FBI – at a time when US President Donald Trump is already tweeting about how “classified information is illegally being given out” by the intelligence community “like candy”.
According to The Independent, the ex-Trump employee – who said he was fired after annoying Trump Senior by proposing changes that involved his company spending money – told an FBI special agent that in December 1973: “Fred Trump told me not to rent to blacks.
“He also wanted me to get rid of blacks that were in the building by telling them cheap housing was available for them [elsewhere] at only $500 down payment, which Trump would offer to pay himself.”
Elsewhere in the FBI dossier, a former doorman at a Trump property in Brooklyn claimed that a supervisor: “Told me that if a black person came to 2650 Ocean Parkway and inquired about an apartment for rent, and he 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.”
The dossier, which has just been published on the FBI’s freedom of information page, also contains allegations of black people being told no apartments were available for rent, while whites later sent to check on the same properties found they were available.
It appears to contain all the FBI’s documents relating to an investigation conducted between 1972 and 1974 into allegations that the Trump Management Company had discriminated against applicants for apartment rentals on account of their race.
Many of the documents, which are redacted in places, consist of interviews in which people connected to Trump properties insist they were unaware of any discrimination at all.
It was not immediately clear why the FBI had released the dossier at such a potentially sensitive time, but it will now remind the US public of what in the 1970s was one of the biggest federal housing discrimination suits ever brought.
In October 1973, the Civil Rights Division of the US Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the Trump Management Company, and Donald and Fred Trump, alleging that African-Americans and Puerto Ricans were systematically excluded from apartments.
In a press release the Justice Department accused the company – which owned 39 buildings, containing a total of more than 14,000 apartments – of violating civil rights laws by: “refusing to rent and negotiate rentals with blacks, requiring different rental terms and conditions because of race, and misrepresenting that apartments were not available.”
Donald Trump, then just five years out of business school, responded in typically pugnacious style, holding a news conference at the New York Hilton in December 1973 and railing against the “outrageous lies” of the US government.
The Trumps retained Roy Cohn, former aide to Senator Joseph McCarthy, to defend them and counter-claimed against the government, seeking $100 million in damages for defamation – with no success.
It was the first time Donald Trump had come to national prominence. He rejected all suggestions of racial discrimination and signed an affidavit saying: “I have never, nor has anyone in our organization ever, to the best of my knowledge, discriminated or shown bias in renting our apartments.”
Instead, he accused the US government of trying to force the family company to lease apartments to people on welfare, arguing that if that happened: “There would be a massive fleeing from the city of not only our tenants, but communities as a whole.”