Following a pattern of his questionable business practices over the last three decades, President Donald Trump’s fancy new hotel on Washington’s Pennsylvania Avenue owes at least more than $5 million in unpaid bills with at least three liens filed by contractors who want to be paid.
Unpaid bills, along with strong-arm attempts by the hotel to force negotiated lower payments on what is owed, is a long-term tactic by Trump to stiff those contracted to work on his projects.
AES Electrical of Laurel, Md., put 45 member staff members on 12-hour shifts for 50 consecutive days to get the lights, electrical and fire systems working on time for open on a day during Trump’s Presidential campaign last fall.
“We had people there well over 12 hours a day for weeks because they had a hard opening of Sept. 12 and you can’t open if the lights don’t work and the fire alarms don’t work and the fire marshal can’t inspect it,” Tim Miller, executive vice president of AES, told The Washington Post. “There is a lot of work that went into that hotel, and it didn’t happen by accident.”
The company finished its last-minute project in time for Trump to host a nationally-visible campaign event in the new hotel. The then-Presidential candidate ‘honored” three veterans on national television and bragged the hotel was built “under budget and ahead of schedule.”
On time perhaps but “under budget” means not paying for the hard work of others who turned the hotel into a campaign asset.
AES filed a mechanic’s lien for $2.1 million in unpaid bills just before Christmas.
The Trump Organization’s response: “In developments of this scale and complexity the filing of nominal liens at the conclusion of construction is not uncommon as part of the close out process,” a company representative said in an email response to questions about the lien.
Two other contractors filed liens against Trump for nonpayment on the Trump International project: Joseph J. Magnolia Inc., a Washington plumbing firm, is out $2.9 million and Northern Virginia contractor A&D Construction say Trump is refusing to pay a $79.,700 bill.
The three liens top $5 million in unpaid bills from the Trump International Hotel Project and sources say that is “just the tip of the iceberg” of what remains unpaid to other contractors and service companies.
Trump routinely stiffs those who he owes money. USA Today on June 9, 2016, reported more than 3,500 of lawsuit in three decades of unpaid obligations by businessman Trump, who claims he is “the most successful businessman ever.”
Several hundred of the suits come from small business operators who say they lost their businesses because of Trump’s failure to pay. Among those harmed were a dishwasher in Florida, a glass company in New Jersey plus a carpet company, plumbers, painters and dozens of workers for Trump companies who say he stiffed them on salaries and other promised payments.
Another others not payed? Real estate brokers who handled sales of his properties and law firms that handles claims over his unpaid bills.
Since 2005, the U.S. Department of Labor cited Trump’s companies 24 times for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act for failing to pay overtime or even minimum wage.
The actions in total paint a portrait of Trump’s sprawling organization frequently failing to pay small businesses and individuals, then sometimes tying them up in court and other negotiations for years. In some cases, the Trump teams financially overpower and outlast much smaller opponents, draining their resources. Some just give up the fight, or settle for less; some have ended up in bankruptcy or out of business altogether.
So much for the protector of the common American, a savior of workers and small business.
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