Frederick Christ Trump
October 11, 1905
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||June 25, 1999 (aged 93)|
New Hyde Park, New York, U.S.
|Resting place||Lutheran All Faiths Cemetery, New York City, U.S.|
|Education||Richmond Hill High School|
|Occupation||Real estate developer|
Elizabeth Trump & Son Co.
|Net worth||US $250–300 million (June 1999)|
Mary Anne MacLeod (m. 1936)
Elizabeth Christ Trump
|Relatives||See Trump family|
Frederick Christ Trump (October 11, 1905 – June 25, 1999) was an American real estate developer in New York City and the father of Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States, and Maryanne Trump Barry, a former United States Court of Appeals judge.
In partnership with his mother Elizabeth Christ Trump, he began a career in home construction and sales. The development company was incorporated as Elizabeth Trump & Son in 1927, and grew to build and manage 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.
Trump was investigated by a U.S. Senate committee for profiteering in 1954, and again by the State of New York in 1966. He made Donald the president of Trump Management Company in 1971, and they were sued by the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division for violating the Fair Housing Act in 1973. Throughout his career he contributed to local hospitals, various American nonprofit organizations, and international Jewish causes.
Frederick Christ Trump was born in the Bronx on October 11, 1905. He was the second of three children of German Lutheran immigrants Frederick and Elizabeth Christ Trump. He had an older sister, Elizabeth Trump Walters (1904–1961), and a younger brother, John G. Trump. Fred was conceived in Bavaria, where his parents had tried unsuccessfully to re-establish residency, returning to New York upon the SS Pennsylvania on July 1, 1905. Soon after Fred's birth, the family moved to Woodhaven, Queens. When Fred was 12 years old, his father died in the 1918 flu pandemic. From 1918 to 1923, he attended Richmond Hill High School in Queens; he worked as a caddy, curb whitewasher, and delivery boy. Interested in becoming a builder, Trump took night classes in carpentry and reading blueprints. He also studied plumbing, masonry, and electrical wiring via correspondence courses.
After graduating, Trump obtained full-time work pulling wagonloads of building materials to construction sites. He found work as a carpenter and continued his education at Pratt Institute. Two years after his graduation, he finished his first house in Woodhaven. Since he was still a minor, his mother formed E. Trump & Son, and officially headed it until he was 21. By 1926, he had built 20 homes in Queens. By the mid-1930s (in the middle of the Great Depression), he built one of the first modern supermarkets in the city, selling customer-collected goods with the Trump Market in Woodhaven, which advertised "Serve Yourself and Save!" and quickly became popular. After six months, Trump sold it to the King Kullen supermarket chain, which he had originally modeled it after.
On Memorial Day in 1927, the Ku Klux Klan marched in Queens to protest Protestant American citizens being "assaulted by Roman Catholic police of New York City." Trump and six other men were arrested "on a charge of refusing to disperse from a parade when ordered to do so." All seven arrested were referred to as "berobed marchers" in the Long Island Daily Press; Trump was the only one not held on charges. A Vice article noted that if any of the attendees were not "dressed in a robe at the time, that may have been a reporting error worth correcting." When asked about the issue in September 2015, Donald Trump, then a candidate for president of the United States, denied that his father had ever been arrested.
Trump met his future wife Mary Anne MacLeod, an immigrant from Glasgow, Scotland, at a party in the 1930s. Trump told his mother the same evening that he had met his future wife. Trump, a Lutheran, married Mary, a Presbyterian, on January 11, 1936 at the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church with George Arthur Buttrick officiating. A wedding reception was held at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan. Fred and Mary Trump settled in Jamaica, Queens, and had five children: Maryanne Trump Barry (born 1937), a federal appeals court judge; Fred Trump Jr. (1938–1981), an airline pilot with Trans World Airlines; Elizabeth Trump Grau (born 1942), an executive at Chase Manhattan Bank; Donald Trump (born 1946), businessman, television personality and 45th president of the United States; and Robert Trump (born 1948), a top executive of his father's property management company.
Fred Trump was a conservative parent, maintaining curfews and forbidding cursing, lipstick, and snacking between meals. At the end of his day, Fred would receive a report from Mary on the children's actions, and if necessary, decide upon disciplinary actions. He took his children to building sites to collect empty bottles to return for the deposits. The boys had paper routes, and when weather conditions were poor, their father would let them make their deliveries in a limousine.
Although both of his parents were German, during World War II and until the 1980s, Fred Trump denied that he spoke German and claimed that he was of Swedish origin. According to Fred's nephew John Walter, "He had a lot of Jewish tenants and it wasn't a good thing to be German in those days." In Donald Trump's The Art of the Deal (1987), it is further falsely elaborated that Fred was the son of an immigrant from Sweden and born in New Jersey. As president of the United States, Donald Trump has on at least three occasions incorrectly stated that his father was born in Germany.
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, 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). The same year, he authored an article advertising his apartments in the real-estate section of the Brooklyn Eagle, which frequently featured him and his company. In 1963–1964, he built Trump Village, an apartment complex in Coney Island, for $70 million. He built more than 27,000 low-income apartments and row houses in Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Sheepshead Bay, Flatbush, and Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, and Flushing and Jamaica Estates in Queens.
Folk icon Woody Guthrie was a tenant in one of Trump's apartment complexes in Brooklyn in 1950, and criticized him as a landlord. He wrote lyrics accusing him of stirring up racial hate "in the bloodpot of human hearts".
In early 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower and other federal leaders began denouncing real-estate profiteers. On June 11, The New York Times included Trump on a list of 35 city builders accused of profiteering from government contracts.
Trump and others were investigated by a U.S. Senate Banking committee for windfall gains. In testimony, investigator William McKenna cited Trump and his partner William Tomasello (who previously had mafia ties) as examples of how profits were made by builders using the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).:409 McKenna explained that the two paid $34,200 for a piece of land which they rented to their corporation for $76,960 per year in a 99-year lease, so that if the apartment they built on it ever defaulted, the FHA would owe them $1.924 million. According to McKenna, Trump and Tomasello obtained loans for $3.5 million more than the Beach Haven apartments had cost.:58 On July 12, 1954, Trump argued that because he had not withdrawn the money, he had not pocketed the profits.:410 He further testified that due to rising costs, he would have had to invest more than the 10% of the loan not provided by the FHA, and therefore suffer a loss if he had built under those conditions.:414–5
In 1966, Trump was again investigated for windfall profiteering, this time by New York's State Investigation Commission. After Trump overestimated building costs sponsored by a state program, he profited $598,000 on equipment rentals in the construction of Trump Village, which was then spent on other projects. Under testimony on January 27, 1966, Trump said that he had personally done nothing wrong and praised the success of his building project. The commission called Trump "a pretty shrewd character" with a "talent for getting every ounce of profit out of his housing project," but no indictments were made. Instead, tighter administration protocols and accountabily in the state's housing program were called for.
Son becomes company president
Fred's son Donald Trump joined Trump Management Company around 1968, and rose to become company president in 1971. In the mid-1970s, Donald received loans from his father exceeding $14 million (later claimed by Donald to have been only $1 million). This allowed Donald to enter the real estate business in Manhattan, while his father stuck to Brooklyn and Queens. "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."
Donald Trump renovated the Grand Hyatt New York in the late 1970s, for which Fred provided $2 million to help repay the construction loan. He further assisted his son with a $35 million line of credit, a $30 million mortage, and an additional corporate loan.
Civil rights suit
Minority applicants turned away from renting apartments complained to the New York City Commission on Human Rights and the Urban League, leading the League and other groups to send test applicants to Trump-owned complexes in July 1972. They concluded that whites were offered apartments, while blacks were generally steered away. Both of the aforementioned advocacy organizations then raised the issue with the Justice Department. In October 1973, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a civil rights suit against the Trump Organization (Fred Trump, chair, and Donald Trump, president) for infringing the Fair Housing Act of 1968. In response, Trump attorney Roy Cohn countersued for $100 million by implicating the DOJ for allegedly false accusations.
Court records showed that four landlords or rental agents confirmed that applications sent to the Trump organization's head office for approval denoted the race of the applicant. A rental agent said that Fred Trump had instructed him "not to rent to blacks" and to "decrease the number of black tenants by encouraging them to locate housing elsewhere." A consent decree between the DOJ and the Trump Organization was signed on June 10, 1975, with both sides claiming victory—the Trump Organization for its perceived ability to continue denying rentals to welfare recipients, and the head of DOJ's housing division for the decree being "one of the most far-reaching ever negotiated." It personally and corporately prohibited the Trumps from "discriminating against any person in the ... sale or rental of a dwelling," and "required Trump to advertise vacancies in minority papers, promote minorities to professional jobs, and list vacancies on a preferential basis". Finally, it ordered the Trumps to "thoroughly acquaint themselves personally on a detailed basis with ... the Fair Housing Act of 1968."
Wealth and estate
Trump appeared on the initial Forbes 400 list of richest Americans in 1982 with an estimated $200 million fortune shared with his son Donald. In 1976, Trump had set up trust funds of $1 million for each of his five children and three grandchildren ($4.4 million in 2018 dollars), that paid out yearly dividends. By 1993, the siblings' anticipated shares of Trump's estate amounted to $35 million each. Upon Trump's death in 1999, his will divided $20 million after taxes among his surviving children.
In October 2018, The New York Times published an exposé drawing on more than 100,000 pages of tax returns and financial records from Trump's businesses, and interviews with former advisers and employees. The Times concluded that his son Donald "was a millionaire by age 8," and that he had received $413 million (adjusted for inflation) from Fred's business empire over his lifetime. According to the Times, Trump loaned at least $60 million to his son, who largely failed to reimburse him. The paper also described a number of purportedly fraudulent tax schemes, for example when Trump sold shares in Trump Palace condos to his son well below their purchase price, thus masking what could be considered a hidden donation, and benefiting from a tax write-off. Donald Trump's lawyer denied the allegations of fraud and tax evasion, while the New York tax department stated they would investigate the issue.
Fred and Mary Trump supported medical charities by donating buildings. After Mary received medical care at the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, they donated the Trump Pavilion; Fred was also a trustee of the hospital. The couple donated a two-building complex in Brooklyn as a home for "functionally retarded adults" and other buildings to the National Kidney Foundation of New York and New Jersey. The Cerebral Palsy Foundation of New York and New Jersey also received a building. In addition, Fred made charitable contributions to the Long Island Jewish Hospital and the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.
The Trumps were active in The Salvation Army, the Boy Scouts of America, and the Lighthouse for the Blind. Fred also supported the Kew-Forest School, where his children attended and he served on the board of directors. Trump was so active in Jewish and Israeli causes that some believed that he belonged to the Jewish faith. This including donating the land for the Beach Haven Jewish Center in Flatbush, New York, supporting Israel Bonds, and serving as the treasurer of an Israel benefit concert featuring American easy-listening performers.
Later years and death
Fred and his wife were given an apartment on the 63rd (in reality the 55th) floor of their son's Trump Tower, which they rarely used. The couple remained together until Fred's death. He suffered from Alzheimer's disease for the last six years of his life, and finally fell ill with pneumonia in June 1999. He was admitted to Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, where he died at age 93 on June 25. Trump's estate was estimated by his family at $250 million to $300 million. His funeral was held at the Marble Collegiate Church and his body is interred at Lutheran All Faiths Cemetery in Middle Village, Queens. His widow, Mary, died the following summer, on August 7, 2000, in New Hyde Park, New York, at age 88.
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Fred Trump of 175-24 Devonshire Road, Jamaica, was discharged.
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It's unfair to mention it, to be honest, because there were no charges. They said there were charges against other people, but there were absolutely no charges, totally false.
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Then came the unveiling of Fred Sr.'s will, which Donald had helped draft. It divided the bulk of the inheritance, at least $20 million, among his children and their descendants, 'other than my son Fred C. Trump Jr.'
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- —— (2005) . The Trumps: Three Generations of Builders and a Presidential Candidate. New York City: Simon & Schuster.