Saturday, June 11, 2016

Donald "Deadbeat" Trump does not pay his bills ...

... at least not some of them. There are damning investigations appearing in national news outlets about the thousands of bills Trump's companies did not pay. They contract for the work, refuse to pay or offer a fraction of what is owed, drag the small contractors into costly legal actions, and the small guys get burned.

Paul Waldman at the Washington Post/Plum Line features the report by USA Today reporter Steve Reilly as does Steve Benen (MSNBC/Maddowblog) and AZBlueMeanie at Blog for Arizona. The Wall Street Journal also reports on Deadbeat Donald's deadly effect on small businesses.

Paul Waldman writes:

Steve Reilly dives into Donald Trump’s legal record, and finds a guy who doesn’t pay his bills:

At least 60 lawsuits, along with hundreds of liens, judgments, and other government filings reviewed by the USA TODAY NETWORK, document people who have accused Trump and his businesses of failing to pay them for their work. Among them: a dishwasher in Florida. A glass company in New Jersey. A carpet company. A plumber. Painters. Forty-eight waiters. Dozens of bartenders and other hourly workers at his resorts and clubs, coast to coast. Real estate brokers who sold his properties. And, ironically, several law firms that once represented him in these suits and others.

Trump’s companies have also been cited for 24 violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act since 2005 for failing to pay overtime or minimum wage, according to U.S. Department of Labor data. That includes 21 citations against the defunct Trump Plaza in Atlantic City and three against the also out-of-business Trump Mortgage LLC in New York. Both cases were resolved by the companies agreeing to pay back wages.

In addition to the lawsuits, the review found more than 200 mechanic’s liens — filed by contractors and employees against Trump, his companies or his properties claiming they were owed money for their work — since the 1980s. The liens range from a $75,000 claim by a Plainview, N.Y., air conditioning and heating company to a $1 million claim from the president of a New York City real estate banking firm.

On just one project, Trump’s Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, records released by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission in 1990 show that at least 253 subcontractors weren’t paid in full or on time, including workers who installed walls, chandeliers and plumbing.

Here's the story on that from the USA Today report.

... in1990, as Trump neared the opening of his third Atlantic City casino, he was once again attempting to pay contractors less than he owed. In casino commission records of an audit, it was revealed that Trump’s companies owed a total of $69.5 million to 253 subcontractors on the Taj Mahal project. Some already had sued Trump, the state audit said; others were negotiating with Trump to try to recover what they could. The companies and their hundreds of workers had installed walls, chandeliers, plumbing, lighting and even the casino’s trademark minarets.

One of the builders was Marty Rosenberg, vice president of Atlantic Plate Glass Co., who said he was owed about $1.5 million for work at the Taj Mahal. When it became clear Trump was not going to pay in full, Rosenberg took on an informal leadership role, representing about 100 to 150 contractors in negotiations with Trump.

Rosenberg’s mission: with Trump offering as little as 30 cents on the dollar to some of the contractors, Rosenberg wanted to get as much as he could for the small businesses, most staffed by younger tradesmen with modest incomes and often families to support.

“Yes, there were a lot of other companies," he said of those Trump left waiting to get paid. "Yes, some did not survive."

Rosenberg said his company was among the lucky ones. He had to delay paying his own suppliers to the project. The negotiations led to him eventually getting about 70 cents on the dollar for his work, and he was able to pay all of his suppliers in full.

Steve Benen blasts Trump's record.

This really is brutal. It’s hard to say whether this news will be overshadowed by the institutional Democratic support Hillary Clinton has picked up over the last day or so, but by some measures, these Trump revelations are absolutely devastating.

Keep in mind, Trump has picked up voter support over the last year in part by touting his private-sector successes. These new reports suggest his business background may actually be the most controversial aspect of Trump’s life.

It’s easy to see the ads: Deadbeat Donald claims to be a successful billionaire, but he doesn’t pay his bills and has repeatedly stiffed small-business owners. How in the world will he respond?

The USA Today reporter observes:

Donald Trump casts himself as a protector of workers and jobs, but a USA TODAY NETWORK investigation found hundreds of people – carpenters, dishwashers, painters, even his own lawyers – who say he didn’t pay them for their work.

and Paul Waldman concludes:

The whole story paints a picture of someone who, if he has the opportunity to screw some little guy out of a few bucks, won’t let it pass him by.

I guess that's one of the Republican values that Trump represents. And that is one angle that I hope will get a lot of play in the general election.

Steve Benen adds this:

Postscript: Keep in mind, at one point last year Donald Trump had 16 rivals for the Republican nomination, not one of whom did any real opposition research on him. Any of the GOP campaigns could’ve tracked down this information and put it to use during the primaries, but they just didn’t have their act together.

So The USA Today reporter has done the heavy lift on Deadbeat Donald. Now it is up to the Clinton campaign and supporting groups to do the ads that the other 16 Republican candidates could have done but did not. Surely Clinton and Elizabeth Warren and President Obama will run with this one.

Afterthought from Scriber: It's time to connect the dots. What other bills does Trump not pay? Like his taxes, maybe? The Clinton camp or one of their allies really does have to force Trump's tax returns into the open.

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