Fred Trump

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This article is about the real estate developer. For his father, see Frederick Trump.
Fred Trump
Fred Trump.png
Born Frederick Christ Trump
(1905-10-11)October 11, 1905
Bronx, New York City, U.S.
Died June 25, 1999(1999-06-25) (aged 93)
New Hyde Park, New York
Cause of death Pneumonia
Resting place Lutheran All Faiths Cemetery
Queens, New York
Occupation Founder (1920) of
Elizabeth Trump & Son Co.
Net worth Increase $250–$300 million (1999)
Spouse(s) Mary Anne MacLeod Trump
(m. 1936–1999; his death)
Children 2 daughters, 3 sons
Maryanne, Frederick Jr., Elizabeth, Donald, Robert.
Parent(s) Frederick Trump and
Elizabeth Christ Trump
Relatives John G. Trump (brother)
Trump family portrait, 1915; from left to right: Fred, his father Frederick, sister Elizabeth, mother Elizabeth Christ, and brother John

Frederick Christ "Fred" Trump (October 11, 1905 – June 25, 1999) was a German-American real estate developer and philanthropist, and the father of Donald Trump, a businessman who was elected President of the United States on November 8, 2016. He also had a daughter Maryanne, who became an attorney and was appointed as a judge to the United States Court of Appeals.

Trump's development company built and managed single-family houses in Queens, barracks and garden apartments for U.S. Navy personnel near major shipyards along the East Coast, and more than 27,000 apartments in New York City.

During his business career, Trump was investigated by a U.S. Senate committee (1954) for profiteering from public contracts, was investigated by the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division (1973) for civil rights violations — and was the subject of criticism by his tenant Woody Guthrie, who became a noted folk singer.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Born in the Bronx, New York City,[3] Trump was one of three children of German immigrants Elizabeth (née Christ) and Frederick Trump. He had a younger brother John and sister Elizabeth Trump Walters (1904–1961). His father Frederick Trump, originally named Friedrich Trumpf, had immigrated to New York City in 1885 from the small German town of Kallstadt, Palatinate (by then part of the Kingdom of Bavaria). He returned to Kallstadt and married Elisabeth Christ, a much younger neighbor, in 1902.[4] Friedrich Trump's name was recorded as Trumpf on the passenger list of his ship when he first immigrated to the USA.[5] The Boston Globe said that the family had changed the spelling from the ancestral Drumpf, sometime during the Thirty Years' War (1618–48).[6]

Although both of Trump's parents were born in Germany, for decades after World War II Trump told friends and family that his family was of Swedish origin. According to his nephew John Walter, "He had a lot of Jewish tenants and it wasn't a good thing to be German in those days."[7]

Trump's father died when he was 13.[7] Shortly after, he started his first job as a "horse's helper", carrying lumber to construction sites after school.[8]

1927 Klan riot arrest[edit]

On Memorial Day in 1927, the Ku Klux Klan marched in the Queens borough of New York City, to protest that "Native-born Protestant Americans" were being "assaulted by Roman Catholic police of New York City."[9] Fred Trump was one of seven men who were arrested that day "on a charge of refusing to disperse from a parade when ordered to do so."[9] One article on the riot, written in the Long Island Daily Press, said that all seven arrestees were wearing Klan attire. In 2016 Vice magazine speculated that Trump may have been a member of the KKK, which had gone through a revival in urban areas after 1915.[10] Vice had investigated earlier newspaper clippings and found Trump was the only person arrested who was not charged with any crime leading to their speculation that he also could have been a bystander.

When asked about the issue in September 2015 by the New York Times in 2015, Donald Trump denied that his father had been arrested, or that he was in the KKK.[11] He also disputed the residency of his father as claimed in the original report (175-24 Devonshire Road, Jamaica). In February 2016, The Washington Post reported that U.S. Census records confirm that Fred Trump resided at that address at the time of his arrest.[9][10]


Trump became a carpenter and took classes in reading blueprints.[8] In 1920, at age 15, Fred Trump went into business with his mother in construction and real estate development, forming Elizabeth Trump & Son. His mother Elizabeth Christ Trump was an active partner, signing the checks since he was under 21 and not yet an adult.[7] With an $800 loan from his mother, Trump built his first house in Woodhaven in 1923 and sold it for $7,000.[8] In 1927 when Fred was 22, E. Trump & Son was formally incorporated.[12]

In the late 1920s, Trump began building single-family houses in Queens, which were sold for $3,990 each. By the mid-1930s in the middle of the Great Depression, he helped pioneer the concept of supermarkets with the Trump Market in Woodhaven, which advertised "Serve Yourself and Save!", becoming an instant hit. After only a year Trump sold it to the King Kullen supermarket chain.[8]

During World War II, Trump built barracks and garden apartments for U.S. Navy personnel near major shipyards along the East Coast, including Chester, Pennsylvania, Newport News, Virginia, and Norfolk, Virginia. After the war he expanded into middle-income housing for the families of returning veterans, building Shore Haven in Bensonhurst in 1949, and Beach Haven near Coney Island in 1950 (a total of 2,700 apartments). In 1963–1964, he built Trump Village, an apartment complex in Coney Island, for US$70 million.[8]

In 1954 Trump was investigated by a U.S. Senate committee for profiteering from public contracts, including overstating his Beach Haven building charges by US$3.7 million.[2] In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee in 1954, William F. McKenna, appointed to investigate "scandals" within the FHA, cited Fred C. Trump and his partner William Tomasello as examples of how profits were made by builders using the FHA. McKenna said the two paid $34,200 for a piece of land which they rented to their corporation for over $60,000 per year in a 99-year lease, so that if the apartment they built on it ever defaulted, the FHA would owe $1.5 million on it. McKenna said that Trump and Tomasello obtained loans for $3.5 million more than the apartments cost.[13]

Trump testified before the Senate Banking Committee the following month as it investigated "windfall profits." He said that builders would not have built apartments under an expired post-war loan insurance program if regulations had set inflexible limits on loans issued by the FHA.[14] In September 1954, following Trump's testimony, 2,500 tenants of the Beachhaven apartments sued Trump and the FHA, claiming the builder made windfall profits. As the builder had received loans for $4 million more than the construction cost, they sued for compensation for rents that were inappropriately inflated.[15]

Trump built and operated affordable rental housing via large apartment complexes in New York City, including more than 27,000 low-income multifamily apartments and row houses in the neighborhoods of Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Sheepshead Bay, Flatbush, and Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, and Flushing and Jamaica Estates in Queens.

In 1968, Fred Trump's son Donald, at age 22, joined Trump Management Company, becoming president in 1974. He renamed it as The Trump Organization in 1980. Donald Trump is reported to have received a loan from his father in the mid-1970s of $1 million (variously reported as numerous loans exceeding $14 million).[16] The younger Trump described this as a "very small loan," which allowed him to enter the real estate business in Manhattan, while his father stuck to Brooklyn and Queens.[17] "It was good for me," Donald later commented. "You know, being the son of somebody, it could have been competition to me. This way, I got Manhattan all to myself."[7]

During the 1980s, Fred Trump became friends with Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu, who was then working in Manhattan, New York City for the UN. In 1996, 2009, 2013 and 2015 he was elected as Prime Minister of Israel.[18]


Folk icon Woody Guthrie, who from 1950 was a tenant in one of Trump's apartment complexes in Brooklyn, criticized Trump as a landlord. He wrote lyrics that accused his landlord of stirring up racial hate "in the bloodpot of human hearts".[1]

In 1973, the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division filed a civil rights suit against the Trump Organization, charging that it refused to rent to black people. The Urban League had sent black and white testers to apply for apartments in Trump-owned complexes; the whites got the apartments, the blacks did not. According to court records, four superintendents or rental agents reported that applications sent to the central office for acceptance or rejection were coded by race. A 1979 Village Voice article quoted a rental agent who said Trump instructed him not to rent to black people and to encourage existing black tenants to leave. In 1975, a consent decree described by the head of DOJ’s housing division as "one of the most far-reaching ever negotiated," required Trump to advertise vacancies in minority papers and list vacancies with the Urban League. The Justice Department subsequently complained that continuing "racially discriminatory conduct by Trump agents has occurred with such frequency that it has created a substantial impediment to the full enjoyment of equal opportunity."[19]


With his wife, Fred Trump financially supported the construction of the Trump Pavilion at the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. They donated buildings to the National Kidney Foundation of New York/New Jersey, the Community Mainstreaming Associates of Great Neck, and the Cerebral Palsy Foundation of New York and New Jersey. Additionally, Trump made charitable contributions to the Hospital for Special Surgery and the Long Island Jewish Hospital.[7] He was a significant supporter of Israel bonds.[20] In the 1960s, he donated the land for building the Beach Haven Jewish Center in Flatbush, New York.[21]

Trump served on the board of trustees of the The Kew-Forest School.[22]



In 1936, Trump married Scottish immigrant Mary Anne MacLeod (born May 10, 1912, Stornoway, Scotland; died August 7, 2000, New Hyde Park, New York).[23] Her birthplace is on the Scottish island of Lewis and Harris.[24] On May 2, 1930, she emigrated to the United States, leaving Glasgow on the RMS Transylvania; she arrived in New York one day after her 18th birthday. On the passenger list for aliens she made three declarations: that she was seeking to move to the United States permanently; that she was seeking employment; and, that she was not returning to the country whence she came. She stated her occupation as "Domestic," meaning either a servant or maid in domestic service, as her sister Mary Joan was.

MacLeod arrived with 50 dollars in her purse and worked as a domestic servant for at least four years. She returned to Scotland at some point in 1934; she returned on the SS Cameronia, arriving on September 12, 1934. She traveled on a "re-entry permit" obtained from Washington on March 3, 1934 – such permits were granted only to immigrants intending to stay and gain U.S. citizenship. Again she was listed as a "domestic" and said she was going to live with her sister Catherine Reid.[25][26]

The 1940 census records that in April 1935, Mary Anne was living at 175/24 Devonshire Road in New York. This address was where the Trump family resided. That 1940 census erroneously records Mary Anne as an American citizen; her naturalization did not occur until March 10, 1942.[25][26]


The Trumps had five children:[27][28] Maryanne (born 1937), a federal appeals court judge; Frederick "Fred" Jr. (1938–81); Elizabeth (born 1942),[29] an executive assistant at Chase Manhattan Bank; Donald (born 1946), President-elect of the United States of America; and Robert (born 1948), president of his father's property management company. Fred, Jr. predeceased his father when he died in 1981 of complications of alcoholism at age 42.[30]


Fred Trump suffered from Alzheimer's disease for six years.[7] He fell ill with pneumonia in June 1999 and was admitted to Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, where he died at age 93 a few weeks later.[31] Trump's estate was estimated by his family at $250 million to $300 million;[7] his funeral was held at the Marble Collegiate Church.[22] He is interred at Lutheran All Faiths Cemetery in Middle Village, Queens. His wife died the following summer at age 88.


  1. ^ a b "Woody Guthrie Wrote of His Contempt for His Landlord, Donald Trump's Father". The New York Times. January 25, 2016. Retrieved October 25, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b Moyer, Justin Wm. (January 22, 2016). "The unbelievable story of why Woody Guthrie hated Donald Trump's dad". Retrieved October 25, 2016. 
  3. ^ Blair, Gwenda: The Trumps: Three Generations of Builders and a Presidential Candidate. Simon & Schuster, Bew York 2015, p. 110.
  4. ^ Blair, Gwenda: The Trumps: Three Generations of Builders and a Presidential Candidate. Simon & Schuster, Bew York 2015, p. 94f.
  5. ^ "U.S. Immigration records. Line 133 mentions "Friedr. Trumpf", age 16, born in "Kallstadt", Germany.". 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Rozhon, Tracie (June 26, 1999). "Fred C. Trump, Postwar Master Builder of Housing for Middle Class, Dies at 93". The New York Times. Retrieved May 2, 2010. 
  8. ^ a b c d e Snyder, Gerald S. (July 26, 1964). "Millionaire Calls Work His Hobby". The Bridgeport Post. Bridgeport, Connecticut. p. 65. Retrieved August 12, 2016 – via  free to read
  9. ^ a b c "In 1927, Donald Trump's father was arrested after a Klan riot in Queens". Washington Post. 28 February 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2016. 
  10. ^ a b "All the Evidence We Could Find About Fred Trump's Alleged Involvement with the KKK". VICE. 10 March 2016. Retrieved on 25 September 2016.
  11. ^ Horowitz, Jason (September 22, 2015). "In Interview, Donald Trump Denies Report of Father's Arrest in 1927". First Draft. The New York Times. 
  12. ^ "New Concerns Function with Queens Capital" (PDF). The Daily Star. April 16, 1927. 
  13. ^ By-Lined The Nevada State Journal, June 30, 1954
  14. ^ "Limit on Public Housing May Emerge From Huddle Over Conflicting Bills" The Newport Daily News, July 13, 1954
  15. ^ "Tenants in Suit for Rent Refunds," The Post Standard (Syracuse, N.Y.) September 21, 1954
  16. ^ Alexandra Berzon and Richard Rubin (September 23, 2016). "Trump's Father Helped GOP Candidate With Numerous Loans". The Wall Street Journal. 
  17. ^ Glum, Julia (September 26, 2016). "How Much Money Did Trump Get From His Dad? The Small Loan Controversy Explained". International Business Times. Retrieved September 28, 2016. 
  18. ^ Trump Is Considering a Pre-Convention Visit to Israel by Gabriel Sherman, New York Magazine, June 1, 2016
  19. ^ Barrett, Wayne; Campbell, Jon (July 20, 2015). "How a young Donald Trump forced his way from Avenue Z to Manhattan". Village Voice. Retrieved September 11, 2015. 
  20. ^ Swedish whopper, Haaretz, 25 March 2016
  21. ^ "Reports: Trump family donated to Jewish, Israeli causes", The Jewish Press, 21 November 2016,
  22. ^ a b "Paid Notice: Deaths TRUMP, FRED C.". The New York Times. June 29, 1999. Retrieved August 12, 2016. 
  23. ^ "Mary MacLeod Trump Philanthropist, 88". The New York Times. August 9, 2000. Retrieved September 11, 2015. 
  24. ^ Scottish Genealogy, Scottish Ancestry – Donald Trump Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  25. ^ a b Hannah, Martin. "The mysterious Mary Trump: The full untold story of how a young Scotswoman escaped to New York and raised a US presidential candidate", The National (Scotland) (May 21, 2016).
  26. ^ a b Hannah, Martin. "An inconvenient truth? Donald Trump's Scottish mother was a low-earning migrant", The National (Scotland) (May 21, 2016).
  27. ^ "Fredrick Trump, Jr.". geni_family_tree. 
  28. ^ Powell, Kimberly. "Ancestry of Donald Trump". Parenting. 
  29. ^ "Elizabeth Trump Weds James Grau". The New York Times. March 27, 1989. Retrieved September 11, 2015. 
  30. ^ "Donald Trump Opens Up About His Brother's Death from Alcoholism: It Had a 'Profound Impact on My Life". People. October 8, 2015. 
  31. ^ Mosconi, Angela (June 26, 1999). "Fred Trump, Dad of Donald, Dies at 93". New York Post. 

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