Donald Trump often portrays himself as a savior of the working class who will “protect your job.” But a USA TODAY NETWORK analysis found Trump has been involved in more than 3,500 lawsuits over the past three decades. Many of these suits involved Trump being sued by ordinary Americans who asserted Trump or his companies refused to pay them. At least 60 lawsuits, along with hundreds of liens, judgments, and other government filings reviewed by the USA TODAY NETWORK, document people who have accused Trump and his businesses of failing to pay them for their work. Among them: a dishwasher in Florida. A glass company in New Jersey. A carpet company. A plumber. Painters. Forty-eight waiters. Dozens of bartenders and other hourly workers at his resorts and clubs, coast to coast. Real estate brokers who sold his properties. And, ironically, several law firms that once represented him in these suits and others.
Trump’s companies have also been cited for 24 violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act since 2005 for failing to pay overtime or minimum wage, according to U.S. Department of Labor data. That includes 21 citations against the defunct Trump Plaza in Atlantic City and three against the also out-of-business Trump Mortgage LLC in New York.
In addition to the lawsuits, the review found more than 200 mechanic’s liens — filed by contractors and employees against Trump, his companies or his properties claiming they were owed money for their work — since the 1980s. The liens range from a $75,000 claim by a Plainview, N.Y., air conditioning and heating company to a $1 million claim from the president of a New York City real estate banking firm. On just one project, Trump’s Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, records released by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission in 1990 show that at least 253 subcontractors weren’t paid in full or on time, including workers who installed walls, chandeliers and plumbing.
Then there were the bankruptcies of Trump’s businesses. There were 6, not four.
The debt made the subject of each bankruptcy was:
- $3 billion
2. $338 million
3. $250 million
4. $550 million
5. $1.8 billion
6. $53.1 million
Because Trump’s tax returns have never been produced it is difficult to know just how far in debt Trump is. In financial disclosures Trump was required to file as part of the requirement to become President, Trump declared that he owes $315 million to 10 separate lenders. However a report by The Wall Street Journal suggests that the actual debt of Trump, or businesses in which Trump has at least a 30 percent stake are considered, he owes roughly $1.5 billion in additional debt to more than 150 institutions.
His creditors include Wells Fargo & Co, a bank that is under investigation for fraudulent practices including opening as many as 2 million accounts without the knowledge or consent of their customers. The report claimed that Wells Fargo is the trustee or administration of $282 million of loans to Trump and his companies, as well as a $950 million debt being paid by property partly owned by the president-elect. He also owes money to JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock, Deutsche Bank and Prudential.
Republican Senator Susan Collins from Maine has indicated that she is open to using a subpoena to investigate President Trump’s tax returns for potential connections to Russia. Collins sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election. She appeared on Maine Public radio to talk about issues including the investigation.
Collins also said during the radio appearance that she and other intelligence committee members will call for former national security adviser Michael Flynn to testify before the committee. Flynn resigned following reports that he had misled officials about his contacts with Russia. Collins said the committee is in the midst of a “broad investigation” about Russian interference and it’s too early to speculate about the results. She touted the “bipartisan” nature of the committee’s probe and pledged: “We will get to the bottom of this.”