Donald Trump, presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has been sued at least 60 times by individuals and businesses who accuse him of failing to pay for work done at his various properties, according to two published reports.
USA Today also reported, citing data from the Department of Labor, that two of Trump’s now-defunct businesses were cited 24 times beginning in 2005 for failing to pay overtime or minimum wage. The cases were settled when the companies — the Trump Plaza in Atlantic City and Trump Mortgage LLC — agreed to pay back wages.
The paper also reported that more than 200 liens have been filed against Trump or his businesses by contractors and employees dating back to the 1980s. The claimants include curtain makers, chandelier shops, cabinet makers and even Trump’s lawyers who represented him in prior cases.
Trump told USA Today that he only withheld payment from contractors if he wasn’t pleased with their work.
“Let’s say that they do a job that’s not good, or a job that they didn’t finish, or a job that was way late. I’ll deduct from their contract, absolutely,” Trump said. “That’s what the country should be doing.”
The USA Today report cited one case involving a 1990 project at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, during which New Jersey regulators found that Trump had failed to pay at least 253 subcontractors in full or on time.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, former Trump Plaza president Jack O’Connell said Trump made withholding payment a part of his business strategy.
“Part of how he did business as a philosophy was to negotiate the best price he could,” O’Connell said. “And then when it came time to pay the bills,” Trump would say “‘I’m going to pay you but I’m going to pay you 75% of what we agreed to.'”
O’Connell added that Trump Plaza executives used to pay vendors in full despite their boss’s orders, saying “it used to infuriate him.”
More recently, USA Today reported that the management company behind Trump National Doral Miami settled with 48 servers who sued for unpaid overtime after working a 10-day Passover event. The average settlement for each worker was $800.
Also last month, a Florida judge ordered that the resort be foreclosed on and sold to pay a painter more than $30,000 for his work as part of a Doral renovation more than two years ago. In that case, the manager of the contractor behind the renovation testified that the painter was not paid because Trump had “already paid enough.”
In his ruling, the judge noted that Trump’s attorneys “visibly winced, began breathing heavily, and attempted to make eye contact” with the witness. Those attorneys have since filed a motion to delay the sale.