Frederick Christ TrumpTable Of Contents
Trump met his future wife Mary Anne MacLeod, an immigrant from Tong, Lewis, 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), Fred Trump Jr. (1938–1981), Elizabeth Trump Grau (born 1942), Donald Trump (born 1946) and Robert Trump (born 1948).
Trump was an authoritarian parent, maintaining curfews and forbidding cursing, lipstick, and snacking between meals. At the end of his day, Trump 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.
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.
Trump took courses in engineering, estimating, and orther construction-related subjects. He learned his craft well. Within two years of his graduation he had built his first house, a simple one-family home in Woodhaven, and then two more in Queens Village. “I learned how to frame walls more efficiently than other people, how to read a blueprint more accurately and faster… They weren’t huge skills, but they gave me an edge. It meant I could offer something different, something the others couldn’t offer”.
During World War II, Trump built barracks and garden apartments for U.S. Navy personnel near major shipyards along the East Coast. 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 the New York area.
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). 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. On July 12, 1954, Trump argued that because he had not withdrawn the money, he had not pocketed the profits. 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. 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.
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. Fred Trump's son Robert also worked for the company, becoming a top executive before his retirement.
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". In early 1976, Trump was ordered by a county judge to correct code violations in a 504-unit property in Seat Pleasant, Maryland. According to the county's housing department investigator, violations included broken windows, dilapidated gutters, and missing fire extinguishers. After a court date and a series of phone calls with Trump, he was invited to the property to meet with county officials in September 1976 and arrested on site. Trump was released on $1,000 bail.
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.