Donald Trump has long and detailed history of scandal, with allegations that would render any ordinary politician unelectable.
From mafia ties, to corrupt business dealings, racial discrimination, and even marital rape, Trump is certainly no stranger to controversy. But while some of these may be familiar, others may not. He’s been in and out of court since the 1970’s. Now, these scandals will open your eyes to Donald Trump’s scandalous past…
Beauty Pageant Scandals
In 1992, Trump struck a deal with George Houraney and Jill Harth, who ran the American Dream pageant. After the pageant, Harth sued Trump for breach of contract, as well as sexual misconduct, and discrimination against black models. Harth alleged that he had made sexual advances towards her and other models, including entering a model’s bed uninvited late at night.
Racial Housing Discrimination
In 1973, the Department of Justice sued Trump and his father for housing discrimination at 39 sites in New York. The New York Times reported that Trump Management refused to rent or negotiate rentals “because of race and color,” as well charged different lease terms and conditions based on race, and restricted certain properties based on race.
Trump built much of his fortune on gambling and construction. So it’s perhaps unsurprising that he has been linked to the mafia many times over his career. Investigative journalist, Wayne Barrett, uncovered that Trump’s lawyer, Roy Cohn, also represented Genovese crime family boss, Tony Salerno. He also reported that Trump paid double market rate to the mob for the land under Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, and once bought Robert LiButti, a known associate of John Gotti, nine luxury cars.
In 2005, Trump launched his eponymous “university” where students ponied up as much as $35,000 to learn Trump’s real-estate development secrets. Although the school shut down in 2010, the State of New York is currently suing Trump, alleging he scammed students out of $40 million. He’s also the subject of two class-action suits in California.
In 1981, Trump intended to develop an old building on Central Park South into luxury condos. However, tenants were unwilling to part with their rent-controlled apartments. Trump used multiple tricks to evict the tenants, including reversing exceptions the previous landlord had given to knock down walls, and even cutting off heat and hot water. Two tenants even testified in court that mushrooms grew on their carpet from a leak that management refused to repair.
In 1991, his company declared bankruptcy after it could no longer keep up with interest payments on the Trump Taj Majal. A year later, Trump Plaza in Atlantic City went bust after losing more than $550 million. By 2004, his company, Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts, was $1.8 billion in debt and again filed for bankruptcy. The company reemerged as Trump Entertainment Resorts before going bankrupt again in 2008.
Undocumented Polish Workers
In order to construct the signature Trump Tower, Trump managers hired 200 undocumented Polish workers to demolish the existing structure. Workers were payed substandard wages—$5 per hour, when they were paid at all—and were threatened with deportation if they complained. They also didn’t wear safety gear and often slept on site. In 1991, a federal judge found Trump and other defendants guilty of conspiring to avoid paying union pension and welfare contributions for workers.
Alleged Marital Rape
During the early ’90s divorce case between Ivana and Donald Trump, Trump’s ex-wife used the word “rape” to describe a 1989 incident between them. After undergoing a botched scalp reduction surgery to remove a bald spot, Donald Trump “violently assaulted” his then-wife, who had recommended him to the plastic surgeon. Donald allegedly restrained Ivana and painfully ripped her hair from her scalp before forcing himself upon her.
Breaking Casino Rules
Where and when: New York and New Jersey, various
Trump has been repeatedly fined for breaking regulations in regards to operation of his casinos. In 1990, Trump’s father Fred bought $3.5 million in chips from the Trump Taj Mahal in order to help pay his sons’ debts. However, because Fred Trump had no plans to gamble, the New Jersey gaming commission ruled it illegal and forced Trump to pay a $30,000 fine. New Jersey also fined Trump $200,000 for arranging to keep black employees away from known mafioso Robert LiButti’s table.
In 1986, Trump decided to expand his casino empire in Atlantic City. His plan was to mount a hostile takeover of two casino companies, Holiday and Bally. Trump began purchasing stock in the companies with an eye toward gaining a controlling share. However, Bally realized what was going on and sued him for antitrust violations. The Federal Trade Commission fined Trump $750,000 for failing to disclose his purchases of stock in the two companies, which exceeded minimum disclosure levels.
Condo Hotel Shenanigans
Before the 2008 recession, Trump was heavily invested in condo hotels, a real estate agreement in which tenants would buy units, and rent them out as hotel rooms for a portion of the year. Trump essentially sold his naming rights to developers for this purpose—he received a payoff, and developers used the prestigious ‘Trump’ name. However, after the real estate crash, buyers sued, claiming they were falsely mislead by the Trump brand.
Corey Lewandowski began as campaign advisor to Trump despite a relatively short resume. However, Lewandowski hit a rough patch in early March after Breitbart reporter, Michelle Fields, approached Trump after a press conference. Lewandowski saw her approaching and wrenched her out of the way. Trump insisted the incident had never happened and that Fields was “delusional,” but surveillance footage clearly showed what had happened. Lewandowski was arrested for battery.
Suing Journalist Tim O’Brien for Libel
The dirt: In 2005, then-New York Times reporter Tim O’Brien published the book TrumpNation, in which he reported that Trump was actually only worth $150-250 million, not the billions he claimed. Trump, incensed, sued O’Brien for $5 billion. Trump’s suit against O’Brien was quickly tossed.
Refusing to Pay Workers and Contractors
Contractors, waiters, dishwashers, and plumbers who have worked at Trump projects say that his company stiffed them for work, refusing to pay for services rendered. USA Today did a lengthy review, finding that some of those contracts were for hundreds of thousands of dollars, many owed to small businesses that failed or struggled to continue because of unpaid bills.
Around the same time as Trump University, Trump also offered his name to Irene and Mike Milin, serial con-artists and get-rich-quick-schemers. Trump licensed his name to the Millins, appearing in an informercial and promising falsely that he would hand-pick instructors. The Institute also was proved to have plagiarized course material. The Milins were brought to court and forced to declare bankruptcy in 2008.
Trump vs Univision
Trump has certainly made one thing very clear during his presidential run: he has no tolerance for illegal immigration. However, after Univision used his incendiary remarks to justify not broadcasting his beauty pageants, Trump sued the corporation. At another event, after feeling he had been “interrupted” several times by news anchor Jorge Ramos, Trump lashed out by saying, “Sit down. You weren’t called. Go back to Univision.”
The Great Wall of Mexico
Trump shocked Americans across the nation when he revealed his master plan for immigration was to have a wall built across the Mexican border. And even more, he would have Mexico pay for it. This sparked outrage among citizens and politicians alike, but only resulted in a surge for Trump in the polls. This plan followed his comments that, in his opinion, most illegal Mexican immigrants entering the country were “murderers” and “rapists.”
Trump vs. Obama
Trump is certainly unafraid to break the mold of traditional politics, in that he is unafraid to speak his mind on the sitting President. At one of his campaign rallies on September 16, 2015, one of Trump’s supporters claimed President Obama was not a Christian and Trump did not correct him. This created a backlash among many of the candidates.
War Against Women
Trump has continued to distance himself from female voters with his comments against women throughout debates and on the campaign trail. He famously criticized Carly Fiorina’s looks, as well as those of his former opponent Ted Cruz’ wife, Heidi Cruz. He also chastised Megyn Kelly for her “unfair” treatment of him during the Fox News Republican debate, claiming she had “blood coming out of her… wherever.”
Senator McCain Scandal
In one of his lowest blows, Trump went after Senator McCain, a known war hero, who was imprisoned during the Vietnam War. While appearing at the Family Leadership Summit, Trump said: “He’s not a war hero. He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” The comments shocked many political circles, as McCain spent over five and a half years tortured in a Vietnam prison camp known as the Hanoi Hilton.
When it comes to running for President, you traditionally need the media on your side. However, since he launched his campaign, Trump has had a major falling out with NBC/Universal, mainly due to his comments on immigrants from Latin America and the government. Not only was he dropped from the Miss USA Pageant but he lost his spot as host of The Apprentice.
Trump has been the target of many pundits who claim his current spouse, Melania, is nothing more than a trophy wife. In truth, his fourth wife is significantly younger than him. However, Trump’s untraditional marriage history certainly leave much to be desired in terms of the direction he would choose to lead the nation.