Before Donald Trump was the 45th President Of The United States, he was known as a real estate mogul. During this time, Trump has fended off many real-estate related lawsuits varying from failure to pay workers to housing discrimination. The latest legal challenge is from former tenants who say Trump and his family manipulated the cost of apartment improvements to raise their rents.
The lawsuit alleges that the Trumps illegally raised rents by inflating the costs of apartment improvements. Under New York law, a landlord may increase rents if significant upgrades are made. The plot revolves around inflating the cost of improvements by using All County Building Supply to create doctored invoices reflecting inflated costs of improvements and resold items such as stoves and refrigerators to themselves for more money than they were worth. In doing so, the lawsuit alleges that the Trumps had the license to increase rents higher than they would have been able to had they paid fair prices to make such improvements.
The lawsuit also alleges that All County Building Supply was created by Trump and his cousin John Walter for the express purpose of creating the invoices and keep the profits.
If the plaintiffs prevail, Trump and the other defendants could owe “many millions” in compensation and damages, said lawyer Jerrold S. Parker, representing the tenants. The suit alleges that current and former tenants from at least 14,000 apartments were overcharged. “This is a massive fraud spanning 28 years, victimizing several hundred thousand tenants in Trump regulated apartments and needs to be addressed,” Parker said in a statement. “These regulated tenants, many of whom struggle just to pay the rent and put food on the table, must be made whole for the money that was unlawfully and unknowingly taken from them by the Trump family for their own personal gain.”
A spokeswoman for the Trump family dismissed the lawsuit as “completely frivolous.”