What a dick.

Once upon a time, well before he was asking to build impossible walls and strangely leading the republican race for the presidency, Donald Trump was the world’s worst landlord.

By 1981, Trump was already a controversial real estate developer in NYC. At just 35-years-old, he was negotiating enormous real estate deals and already well known in the industry for being kind-of-a-dick. Back then, Trump took things to the next level when he tried to get residents of one of his NYC apartment buildings the fuck out of there.

Around that time, Trump bought a rent-controlled luxury apartment building on the edge of Central Park. Being a rent controlled building, residents were paying well below market value for luxury apartments in one of the most desirable areas of Manhattan, NY. They had one of the best deals in NYC — that is, until Trump took over.

He decided that the iconic 52-year-old building should be demolished and replaced with modern luxury condos. However, in order to demolish the building, he would need to somehow get the existing tenants to move out. You can’t just kick people out of a rent-controlled building.

So The Don decided to just fuck everything up for the residents. 

The building’s previous owner gave tenants permission to renovate their apartments and tear down interior walls if they wanted to. Trump’s first tactic to vacate the building was to reverse this rule. Residents were given 12 days notice to rebuild torn down walls or face eviction.

Next, tenants say Trump cut off their heat and hot water during the winter months. Of course, this is highly illegal, and Trump denied the claims. The superintendent of the building was also ordered to not follow through on repair requests or do routine maintenance work. In a court testimony, the superintendent is quoted as saying: “They didn’t want any repairs done. No cleaning. No accepting of packages.”

Over time, the lack of repairs was ruining the building. Throughout the entirety of it, there were ongoing water leaks that Trump refused to repair and tenants had no ability to repair themselves. In one apartment, a water leak lasted ten months, causing mushrooms to grow on the carpet of a child’s bedroom.

Yes, mushrooms were growing in a kid’s bedroom and Trump refused to do anything about it. How presidential of him.

In an obvious attempt to get people to move out of their apartments, Trump took out advertisements in local newspapers from 1982-1983 offering to house homeless people in the building. Donald said this wasn’t an attempt to facilitate people to move out, but rather an effort to help the homeless and make America great again.

"Some people think I'm just doing a number on the people in the building," he said. "That's not true. I just want to help with the homeless problem. It'll take two or three years to get everybody out, and in the meantime I'll have more and more vacant apartments for the indigent."

Then he decided to dig up dirt on the tenants and blackmail them or get them evicted. He ordered the superintendent of the building to conduct surveillance on all residents and “keep a list on the tenants’ activities." The superintendent refused to follow through with this request. At this time, Trump also sued a resident for not paying rent, which was proven to not true, the resident had paid all rent.

In response to all these ongoing problems, the tenants eventually sued the floppy haired tycoon.

Soon, Trump was being sued by the residents of the building, the New York Division of Homes and Community Renewal and New York City for the terrible and illegal living conditions in his building as well as harassing the tenants. 

In classic Trump fashion, he counter-sued the tenants for $150 million, claiming they were trying to stage a revolt to obtain ownership of the building.

After a lengthy legal battle, Trump lost and had to hand over control of the building to its residents for 5 years and pay their attorney fees. Over the 5 year dispute, Trump spent over $1 million fighting the tenants and just $160,00 on building repairs. 

This ended troubles for the most part. At least until 2000, when Trump was sued for overcharging a tenant by $40,000 over the course of 4 years. Trump lost the suit and had to pay back the tenant.

In the end, Trump was never able to demolish the building and construct the luxury condos he hoped to. The building still stands today and Trump owns just 14 of the 81 apartments in the building. Currently, his son lives in the penthouse on the top floor of the building, the same building he let fall into disrepair, harassed the tenants of, and hoped to demolish. Talk about the American dream.