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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
Queens, New York, U.S.
Died June 25, 1999(1999-06-25) (aged 93)
New Hyde Park, New York, U.S.
Occupation Founder of Elizabeth Trump & Son Co.
Net worth Increase $250–$300 million (1999)
Spouse(s) Mary Anne MacLeod
(1936–1999; his death)
Children Maryanne, Frederick Jr., Elizabeth, Donald, Robert.
Parent(s) Frederick Trump and Elizabeth Christ
Relatives John G. Trump (brother)
Trump Family Portrait, from left to right: Fred, Frederick, Elizabeth, Elizabeth Christ, and John, 1918

Frederick Christ "Fred" Trump (October 11, 1905 – June 25, 1999) was an American real estate developer and philanthropist, and the father of United States Appeals Judge Maryanne Trump Barry as well as businessman and 2016 Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.

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 numerous critiques by noted folk icon Woody Guthrie.

Early life

Trump was born on October 11, 1905 in the neighborhood of Woodhaven, Queens, New York City.[1] He was one of three children of German emigrants Elizabeth (née Christ) and Frederick Trump, along with his brother John and sister Elizabeth Trump Walters (1904-1961). His father had immigrated to New York City in 1885 from the small German town of Kallstadt, Rhineland-Palatinate, where he briefly returned around 1900, married, and re-emigrated.[1]

Although both of Trump's parents were born in Germany, Trump told friends and acquaintances for decades after World War II that the 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."[1]

His father died when he was 13 years old.[1] Shortly after his death, Trump worked his first job as a "horse's helper", carrying lumber to construction sites after school.[2]

1927 Klan riot arrest

On Memorial Day in 1927, a riot erupted between supporters of Benito Mussolini's Italian Fascism and the Ku Klux Klan; the Klan's stated purpose to march was that "Native-born Protestant Americans" were being "assaulted by Roman Catholic police of New York City."[3] In NYC's Queens borough, Fred Trump was one of seven men who were arrested on the day "on a charge of refusing to disperse from a parade when ordered to do so."[3] One article on the riot, written in the Long Island Daily Press, stated that all seven arrestees were wearing Klan attire, leading some to speculate that Fred may have been a member of the KKK.[4]

Fred's son Donald denied all allegations of the arrest when asked by the New York Times in 2016, disputing the residency of his father claimed in the original report (175-24 Devonshire Road, Jamaica). It has, however, been established by the U.S. Census that Fred did reside at that address at the time of his arrest.[3][4][5]

Business career

Trump became a carpenter.[2] In 1920, at age 15, Fred Trump went into the real estate development and construction business, forming Elizabeth Trump & Son with his mother Elizabeth Christ Trump, who was an active partner. She signed the checks since he was under 21.[1] With an US$800 loan from his mother, he built his first house in Woodhaven in 1923 and sold it for US$7,000.[2] In 1927 when Fred was 22, E. Trump & Son was formally incorporated.[6]

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.[1][2] After only a year Trump sold it to the King Kullen supermarket chain.[1][2]

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.[2]

Trump was investigated by a U.S. Senate committee in 1954 for profiteering from public contracts, including overstating his Beach Haven building charges by US$3.7 million.[7] 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 then 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 then obtained loans for $3.5 million more than the apartments cost.[8] 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.[9] 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 and that the builder had received loans for $4 million more than the construction actually cost, and that rents were consequently inappropriately inflated.[10]

Trump went on to build and operate 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 his 22-year-old son Donald Trump joined his company Trump Management Co., becoming president in 1974, and renaming it The Trump Organization in 1980. In the mid-1970s, he lent his son $1 million, an amount Donald has since described as a "very small loan," allowing him to go into the real estate business in Manhattan, while Fred stuck to Brooklyn and Queens.[11] "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."[1]

Folk icon Woody Guthrie, who from 1950 was a tenant in one of Fred Trump's apartment complexes in Brooklyn, criticized Trump as a landlord, penning lyrics which accused him of stirring up racial hate "in the bloodpot of human hearts".[12]

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."[13]


With his wife, Trump supported the construction of the Trump Pavilion at the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.[14] Moreover, 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.[14] Additionally, Trump made charitable contributions to the Hospital for Special Surgery and the Long Island Jewish Hospital.[14]

Trump served on the board of trustees of the The Kew-Forest School.[14]

Personal life and death

In 1936, Trump married Scottish immigrant Mary Anne MacLeod (born May 10, 1912, Stornoway, Scotland; died August 7, 2000, New Hyde Park, New York).[15] Her birthplace is on the Scottish island of Lewis and Harris.[16] In abject poverty, on May 2, 1930, she emigrated to the United States, leaving Glasgow on the SS 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 before returning to New York on the SS Cameronia, arriving in the USA on September 12, 1934. She travelled on a "re-entry permit" obtained from Washington on March 3, 1934 – such permits were only granted to immigrants intending to stay and become US citizens. Again she was listed as a "domestic" and stated she was going to live with her sister Catherine Reid.[17][18]

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 also erroneously records that Mary Anne was a naturalized American citizen. However, records show her naturalization did not occur until March 10, 1942.[17][18]

After Mary and Fred Trump wed in 1936, the couple had five children:[19][20] Maryanne (born 1937), a federal appeals court judge; Frederick "Fred" Jr. (1938–81); Elizabeth (born 1942),[21] an executive assistant at Chase Manhattan Bank; Donald (born 1946); and Robert (born 1948), president of his father's property management company. Fred, Jr. predeceased his father when he died of complications of alcoholism in 1981.[22]

Trump suffered from Alzheimer's disease for six years.[1] He became sick with pneumonia in June 1999 and was admitted to Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, where he died a few weeks later.[1][23] His funeral was held at the Marble Collegiate Church.[14] His estate was estimated by his family at $250 million to $300 million.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k 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. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Snyder, Gerald S. (July 26, 1964). "Millionaire Calls Work His Hobby". The Bridgeport Post. Bridgeport, Connecticut. p. 65. Retrieved August 12, 2016 – via (registration required (help)). 
  3. ^ a b c "In 1927, Donald Trump's father was arrested after a Klan riot in Queens". The Washington Post. Retrieved on 25 September 2016.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ Horowitz, Jason (September 22, 2015). "In Interview, Donald Trump Denies Report of Father's Arrest in 1927". First Draft. The New York Times. 
  6. ^ "New Concerns Function with Queens Capital" (PDF). The Daily Star. April 16, 1927. 
  7. ^ The unbelievable story of why Woody Guthrie hated Donald Trump’s dad The Washington Post, January 22, 2016
  8. ^ By-Lined The Nevada State Journal, June 30, 1954
  9. ^ "Limit on Public Housing May Emerge From Huddle Over Conflicting Bills" The Newport Daily News, July 13, 1954
  10. ^ "Tenants in Suit for Rent Refunds" The Post Standard (Syracuse, N.Y.) September 21, 1954
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ Thomas Kaplan (January 25, 2016). "Woody Guthrie Wrote of His Contempt for His Landlord, Donald Trump's Father". New York Times. 
  13. ^ 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. 
  14. ^ a b c d e "Paid Notice: Deaths TRUMP, FRED C.". The New York Times. June 29, 1999. Retrieved August 12, 2016. 
  15. ^ "Mary MacLeod Trump Philanthropist, 88". The New York Times. August 9, 2000. Retrieved September 11, 2015. 
  16. ^ Scottish Genealogy, Scottish Ancestry – Donald Trump Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  17. ^ 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).
  18. ^ a b Hannah, Martin. "An inconvenient truth? Donald Trump's Scottish mother was a low-earning migrant", The National (Scotland) (May 21, 2016).
  19. ^ "Fredrick Trump, Jr.". geni_family_tree. 
  20. ^ Powell, Kimberly. "Ancestry of Donald Trump". Parenting. 
  21. ^ "Elizabeth Trump Weds James Grau". The New York Times. March 27, 1989. Retrieved September 11, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Donald Trump Opens Up About His Brother's Death from Alcoholism: It Had a 'Profound Impact on My Life". People. October 8, 2015. 
  23. ^ Mosconi, Angela (June 26, 1999). "Fred Trump, Dad of Donald, Dies at 93". New York Post.