Bangkok Post

Mary Trump sues pres­i­dent, fam­ily for fraud

- ALAN FEUER U.S. News · US Politics · Gossip · Politics · Donald Trump · U.S. Supreme Court · Manhattan · New York City · York City F.C. · New York · Squeeze · Donald Trump, Jr. · Executive Office of the President of the United States · White House · White House Press Secretary · Trump family · Brooklyn · Mary Anne MacLeod · Maryanne Trump Barry · Fred Trump · Kayleigh McEnany · Robert Trump · Drake Hotel

>>In her best-sell­ing mem­oir, Mary Trump, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s niece, told a fam­ily story that de­tailed the ways in which she claims that her rel­a­tives — the pres­i­dent among them — tricked, bul­lied and ul­ti­mately cheated her out of an in­her­i­tance worth tens of mil­lions of dol­lars.

On Thurs­day, more than two months af­ter the book was pub­lished and a lit­tle more than one month be­fore the elec­tion, she told her story again — this time in a law­suit. The suit, filed in state Supreme Court in Man­hat­tan, ac­cused Mr Trump, his sis­ter Maryanne Trump Barry and their brother Robert, who died in Au­gust, of fraud and civil con­spir­acy. It seeks to re­cover the mil­lions of dol­lars that Mary Trump claims to have lost.

In its first sen­tence, the law­suit says that, for the Trumps, “fraud was not just the fam­ily busi­ness — it was a way of life”. Be­gin­ning in the 1980s, the suit con­tends, the pres­i­dent and his sib­lings took con­trol of the New York City real es­tate em­pire their fa­ther, Fred Trump Sr, had built and “ex­ploited it to en­rich them­selves” to the detri­ment of ev­ery­one around them.

Mary Trump, 55, claims to be one of her fam­ily’s victims. Her suit de­scribes a plot against her, bro­ken cin­e­mat­i­cally into three sep­a­rate acts: “The Grift”, “The De­valu­ing” and “The Squeeze-Out”.

It re­counts a nar­ra­tive that be­gan in 1981, when her fa­ther, Fred Trump Jr, un­ex­pect­edly died, leaving her, at age 16, with a valu­able mi­nor­ity stake in the fam­ily em­pire. The story ends nearly 40 years later, when she says she learned that the pres­i­dent and his sib­lings “used their po­si­tion of power to con her into sign­ing her in­ter­ests away”.

The White House has pre­vi­ously cast doubt on her book, which con­tains sim­i­lar al­le­ga­tions, and has said the mem­oir was “in Ms Trump’s own fi­nan­cial in­ter­est”.

On Thurs­day, Kayleigh McE­nany, the White House press sec­re­tary, de­fended the pres­i­dent at a news con­fer­ence, say­ing: “The only fraud com­mit­ted there was Mary Trump record­ing one of her rel­a­tives. She has re­ally dis­cred­ited her­self.”

Lawyers for the pres­i­dent and Robert Trump did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment. Trump Barry also did not re­turn a tele­phone call from a re­porter.

In a state­ment is­sued by her lawyer, Roberta Ka­plan, Mary Trump said her fam­ily had be­trayed her by “work­ing to­gether in se­cret to steal from me” and by “con­ning me into giv­ing ev­ery­thing away for a frac­tion of its true value”.

“I am bring­ing this case,” she added, “to hold them ac­count­able and to re­cover what is right­fully mine”.

When Fred Trump Jr, the pres­i­dent’s older brother, died from an al­co­hol-in­duced heart at­tack in the early 1980s, he left Mary Trump, his daugh­ter, a prof­itable port­fo­lio that in­cluded a stake in nearly 1.8 mil­lion square feet of prime Trump fam­ily real es­tate in Brook­lyn and a por­tion of a group of prop­erty part­ner­ships known as the Mid­land As­so­ciates Group.

Be­cause she was a teenager at the time and had only a “cur­sory knowl­edge” of the value of her hold­ings, the port­fo­lio was over­seen by the pres­i­dent and his sib­lings, who, the law­suit says, had a fidu­ciary re­spon­si­bil­ity to look af­ter her in­ter­ests.

In­stead, the suit main­tains, her aunt and un­cles em­barked on “a com­plex scheme” to siphon money away from her by, among other things, tak­ing “ex­or­bi­tant man­age­ment fees, con­sult­ing fees, and salaries” from the com­pa­nies she had a stake in and by is­su­ing loans to them­selves from busi­nesses she con­trolled that “in­cluded no terms of re­pay­ment”.

At the same time, the suit con­tends, the pres­i­dent and his sib­lings worked with a “friendly ap­praiser” to “grossly un­der­state the value of Mary’s in­ter­ests”, even as they “fos­tered the im­pres­sion that ev­ery­thing was OK”.

In 1999, when Fred Trump Sr died and his will was to be ex­e­cuted Mr Trump, his brother and sis­ter sought to gain con­trol of Mary Trump’s por­tion of the em­pire, ac­cord­ing to the suit.

That Oc­to­ber, for ex­am­ple, Robert Trump met her in the Drake Ho­tel in mid­town Man­hat­tan and threat­ened that he and his sib­lings would “bank­rupt” Mid­land, the part­ner­ship group she had a stake in, if she did not com­ply with their de­mands, the law­suit says. The suit quotes Robert Trump as telling his niece that the move to de­stroy the com­pany was de­signed to leave her fi­nan­cially li­able for debts she could not af­ford.

Ini­tially re­fus­ing to give in to her fam­ily, Mary Trump and her brother, Fred Trump III, contested Fred Trump Sr’s will in March 2000, say­ing it was not fair to them. But ac­cord­ing to the law­suit, her aunt and un­cles “ratch­eted up the pres­sure”.

At Trump Barry’s sug­ges­tion, the suit con­tends, the fam­ily cut off health in­sur­ance pay­ments to Mary Trump and her brother — “an act of un­fath­omable cru­elty” be­cause one of Fred Trump III’s chil­dren had cere­bral palsy and re­quired round-the-clock nurs­ing care.

Fi­nally, as Mary Trump’s le­gal fees be­gan to mount, Mr Trump and his sib­lings “ex­ploited the op­por­tu­nity” and tried to “squeeze Mary out of her in­ter­ests al­to­gether”, the suit main­tains. They told her they would not set­tle the pro­bate case or re­in­state her health­care un­less she re­lin­quished her stake in Mid­land and her Brook­lyn real es­tate hold­ings, ac­cord­ing to the suit.

Even then, it goes on, they pro­vided her with in­ac­cu­rate fi­nan­cial state­ments and “val­u­a­tions rid­dled with de­lib­er­ate false­hoods” in an ef­fort to drive down the amount they had to pay her. The Trump fam­ily “not only de­lib­er­ately de­frauded Mary out of what was right­fully hers, they also kept her in the dark about it — un­til now”.

Mary Trump’s book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Fam­ily Cre­ated the World’s Most Dan­ger­ous Man”, sold more than one mil­lion copies in its first week de­spite a lengthy ef­fort led by Robert Trump to stop its pub­li­ca­tion. A clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist, she has since be­come a fix­ture on the talk-show cir­cuit, de­scrib­ing her fam­ily’s in­ter­nal dy­nam­ics and fiercely crit­i­cis­ing the pres­i­dent.

 ??  ?? IT’S A SIZZLER: Mary Trump’s best-sell­ing book about US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump at a book store in July.
IT’S A SIZZLER: Mary Trump’s best-sell­ing book about US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump at a book store in July.

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