Hey Don­ald, I want my $49 do­na­tion back

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - Dana Mil­bank is syn­di­cated by The Wash­ing­ton Post Writ­ers Group. Dana Mil­bank Colum­nist

Colum­nist Dana Mil­bank says he, like many oth­ers, has been cheated by the GOP pres­i­den­tial can­di­date.

When The Wash­ing­ton Post’s Matea Gold re­ported this week that the Trump cam­paign is con­test­ing $767,000 that its poll­ster Tony Fabrizio says he is owed, I could feel the Repub­li­can con­sul­tant’s pain.

Fabrizio was just the lat­est on a long list of peo­ple stiffed by Don­ald Trump. And now you can add one more to that list: me. I want my $49 back.

I know. We had all been warned that Trump doesn’t make good on his com­mit­ments. Scores of times as busi­ness­man and can­di­date he has re­fused to pay, or de­liver, what he owes. Heck, he’s even be­ing sued on be­half of USA Free­dom Kids, the three pre­teen girls who danced be­fore one of his ral­lies in pa­tri­otic cos­tumes.

So I should have had my eyes wide open when I saw Trump’s video last week of­fer­ing to put my name on a brass plaque on a wall in Trump Tower, for a con­tri­bu­tion of only $49. “The wall has only space for 2,000 more sup­port­ers. Con­trib­ute to­day,” he said, show­ing the “very spe­cial” wall.

As one of the loud­est Trump crit­ics, I thought it would be ex­quis­ite to have my name en­graved as part of the “se­lect group” on Trump’s wall. I clicked through and au­tho­rized the $49 charge to my credit card.

And then, noth­ing. No ac­knowl­edg­ment. No re­sponse. No word about any wall with my name on it. I checked my spam fil­ter: noth­ing. I checked my Visa state­ment: The charge had gone through.

Stiffed! And at great per­sonal risk. Post em­ploy­ees aren’t sup­posed to do­nate to cam­paigns, and in 16 years I hadn’t — un­til the lure of Trump’s wall got me. We don’t want a con­tri­bu­tion to cre­ate the ap­pear­ance that we’re in the tank for a can­di­date, even if, in the case of Trump and me, the prob­a­bil­ity of cre­at­ing such an im­pres­sion is fairly low. My ed­i­tors gave me the prover­bial 40 lashes for my $49.

But those welts are noth­ing com­pared with the in­juries Trump al­legedly has done to those who have done busi­ness with him.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tion by USA To­day ear­lier this year found 60 law­suits and hun­dreds of liens, judg­ments and other gov­ern­ment fil­ings in­volv­ing peo­ple who have ac­cused Trump and his busi­nesses of fail­ing to pay them. The ag­grieved in­clude 48 wait­ers, dozens of bar­tenders and hourly work­ers, real es­tate bro­kers, a glass com­pany, a car­pet com­pany, painters — even law firms that de­fended him against charges that he stiffed those he owed. The pa­per found 24 vi­o­la­tions of la­bor law for fail­ing to pay over­time or the min­i­mum wage, and liens filed by more than 200 con­trac­tors and em­ploy­ees who pro­vided plumb­ing, elec­tri­cal and HVAC work and the like.

At the first de­bate, Hil­lary Clin­ton sin­gled out in the au­di­ence an ar­chi­tect Trump had stiffed and said she’d met “dish­wash­ers, painters, ar­chi­tects, glass in­stall­ers, mar­ble in­stall­ers, drap­ery in­stall­ers ... who you re­fused to pay when they fin­ished the work that you asked them to do.”

Trump re­sponded that “maybe he didn’t do a good job and I was un­sat­is­fied with his work, which our coun­try should do, too.”

Ap­par­ently, Trump’s be­lief that he can’t get good help these days ex­tends to his own cam­paign, which is dis­put­ing the $767,000 that Fabrizio, the poll­ster, says he’s owed. (The cam­paign says it doesn’t dis­pute the en­tire amount.) Fed­eral Elec­tion Com­mis­sion records also in­di­cate the Trump cam­paign has yet to pay Michael Ca­puto, a for­mer com­mu­ni­ca­tions ad­viser.

Fabrizio and Ca­puto are big boys. But what about the three lit­tle girls who danced at a Trump rally in Jan­uary, be­com­ing a vi­ral sen­sa­tion? The fa­ther of one of them filed suit against the Trump cam­paign two months ago, say­ing the cam­paign didn’t make good on its prom­ise to let them sell CDs at a Trump event and then had them travel, at their own ex­pense, from Florida to a Trump event in Iowa be­fore can­cel­ing their ap­pear­ance.

“I’m not look­ing to do bat­tle with the Trump cam­paign,” the dad, Jeff Popick, told the Post’s Philip Bump, “but I have to show my girls that this is the right thing.”

And now I stand with Popick, Fabrizio and hun­dreds of oth­ers in de­mand­ing from Trump what is ours. I wrote to Trump spokes­woman Hope Hicks on Wed­nes­day and asked whether she could tell me where I could find my name on the Trump Tower donor wall, or re­fund my $49. She in­di­cated she was look­ing into it, but noth­ing hap­pened.

I bet Trump isn’t even build­ing that wall — and I paid for it!

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