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‘No Vacancies’ for Blacks: How Donald Trump Got His Start, And Was First Accused Of Racism

August 28, 2016

Front page and above the fold in The New York Times is the must read Sunday newspaper account of Donald Trump’s troubling story of racism and his business.  Make the coffee and settle in for a powerful read.

  • As Donald J. Trump assumed an increasing role in his father’s business, the real estate company’s practice of turning away potential black tenants was painstakingly documented.
  • An investigation by The New York Times uncovered a long history of racial bias at his family’s properties, in New York and beyond.
  • Over the next decade, as Donald J. Trump assumed an increasingly prominent role in the business, the company’s practice of turning away potential black tenants was painstakingly documented by activists and organizations that viewed equal housing as the next frontier in the civil rights struggle.

    The Justice Department undertook its own investigation and, in 1973, sued Trump Management for discriminating against blacks. Both Fred Trump, the company’s chairman, and Donald Trump, its president, were named as defendants. It was front-page news, and for Donald, amounted to his debut in the public eye.

  • Looking back, Mr. Trump’s response to the lawsuit can be seen as presaging his handling of subsequent challenges, in business and in politics. Rather than quietly trying to settle — as another New York developer had done a couple of years earlier — he turned the lawsuit into a protracted battle, complete with angry denials, character assassination, charges that the government was trying to force him to rent to “welfare recipients” and a $100 million countersuit accusing the Justice Department of defamation.

    When it was over, Mr. Trump declared victory, emphasizing that the consent decree he ultimately signed did not include an admission of guilt.

    But an investigation by The New York Times — drawing on decades-old files from the New York City Commission on Human Rights, internal Justice Department records, court documents and interviews with tenants, civil rights activists and prosecutors — uncovered a long history  of racial bias at his family’s properties, in New York and beyond.

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