Fred Trump

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Frederick Trump
Fred Trump.png
Born Frederick Christ Trump
(1905-10-11)October 11, 1905
The Bronx, New York, U.S.
Died June 25, 1999(1999-06-25) (aged 93)
New Hyde Park, New York, U.S.
Cause of death Pneumonia
Resting place Lutheran All Faiths Cemetery,
Queens, New York
Nationality American
Education Richmond Hill High School
Occupation Real estate developer
Elizabeth Trump & Son Co.
Net worth Increase $250–300 million
(June 1999)
Spouse(s) Mary Anne MacLeod (m. 1936)
Parent(s) Frederick Trump
Elizabeth Christ Trump
Relatives See Trump family

Frederick Christ Trump Sr. (October 11, 1905 – June 25, 1999) was an American real estate developer and philanthropist, primarily in New York City, and father of Donald Trump, the 45th President of the United States, and Maryanne Trump Barry, a United States Court of Appeals judge.

Fred Trump's father, Frederick, died when Fred was 12 years old. By 15, in partnership with his mother, Elizabeth Christ Trump[1], and non-family investors, Trump had begun a career in home construction and sales. The development company was incorporated as E. 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 wartime profiteering (1954), and by the U.S. Justice Department's Civil Rights Division for civil rights violations (1973). According to The New York Times and The Washington Post, Trump's reputation as a landlord inspired a critical song by tenant and folk singer Woody Guthrie.[2][3]

Early life[edit | edit source]

Frederick Christ Trump was born in the Bronx on October 11, 1905.[4] Trump was one of three children of German Lutheran immigrants Elizabeth (née Christ) and Frederick Trump. He had a younger brother John and an older sister Elizabeth Trump Walters (1904–1961).

Family portrait, 1915; from left to right: Fred, his father Frederick, sister Elizabeth, mother Elizabeth, and brother John.

His father Frederick (born Friedrich) had immigrated to New York City in 1885 from the German village of Kallstadt, Palatinate (by then part of the Kingdom of Bavaria in the German Empire) and made a fortune in the Klondike Gold Rush. He then returned to Kallstadt and married Elisabeth Christ, daughter of a former neighbor and 11 years younger, in 1902.[4]:pp. 94

Friedrich Trump's name was incorrectly recorded as Trumpf on the passenger list of his ship when he immigrated to the U.S.[5] Britt Peterson of The Boston Globe reports, based on the Blair biography, that the family had changed the spelling from the ancestral Drumpf, sometime during the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648).[6]

Soon after Fred's birth, the family moved to Woodhaven, Queens. In 1918, when he was 12 years old, his father died during the 1918 flu pandemic.[7] From 1918 to 1923, he attended Richmond Hill High School in Queens.[8]

Career[edit | edit source]

Trump became a carpenter and took classes in reading blueprints.[9] Two years after his graduation, he finished his first house, and since he was still under age, his mother formed Elizabeth Trump & Son and officially headed it until he was 21. In 1926, he had already built 20 homes in Queens.[10] By the mid-1930s in the middle of the Great Depression, he helped pioneer the concept of supermarkets with the Trump Market in Woodhaven, which advertised "Serve Yourself and Save!", becoming an instant hit. After only a year Trump sold it to the King Kullen supermarket chain.[9]

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, Virginia, 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). In 1963–1964, he built Trump Village, an apartment complex in Coney Island, for $70 million.[9]

Although both of Trump's parents were born in Germany and he had been conceived there,[11] for decades after World War II Trump told friends and family that his family was of Swedish origin. According to his nephew John Walter, "He had a lot of Jewish tenants and it wasn't a good thing to be German in those days."[7]

Trump built and operated affordable rental housing via large apartment complexes in New York City, including more than 2,700 low-income multifamily apartments and row houses in the neighborhoods of Coney Island, Bensonhurst, Sheepshead Bay, Flatbush, and Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, and Flushing and Jamaica Estates in Queens.[citation needed]

Fred's son, Donald Trump, joined Trump Management Company in 1968, and rose to become company president in 1971. He renamed it The Trump Organization in 1980. Donald Trump received a loan from his father in the mid-1970s of $1 million (variously reported as numerous loans exceeding $14 million).[12] This allowed Donald to enter the real estate business in Manhattan, while his father stuck to Brooklyn and Queens.[13] "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."[7]

During the 1980s, Fred Trump became friends with future-Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, who was the Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations in Manhattan.[14]

1927 Arrest at KKK march[edit | edit source]

On Memorial Day in 1927, the Ku Klux Klan marched in Queens to protest that "Native-born Protestant Americans" were being "assaulted by Roman Catholic police of New York City".[15] Fred Trump was one of seven men who were arrested that day "on a charge of refusing to disperse from a parade when ordered to do so."[15] In 2016, Vice magazine reported on their investigation of earlier newspaper clippings and found that Trump was the only person arrested who was not charged with any crime, leading them to conclude that he could have been a bystander; they also speculated that Trump may have been a member of the KKK, which had gone through a revival in urban areas after 1915.[16] All seven men arrested however were declared to be wearing Klan attire according to several sources cited in the Vice article. When asked about the issue in September 2015 by The New York Times, Donald Trump, then a candidate for presidency of the United States, denied that his father had been arrested, or that he had been in the KKK.[17]

War profiteering investigation[edit | edit source]

In 1954, Trump was investigated by a U.S. Senate committee for profiteering from public contracts, including overstating his Beach Haven building charges by $3.7 million.[3] In testimony before the Senate Banking Committee in 1954, William F. McKenna, appointed to investigate "scandals" within the FHA, cited Fred C. Trump and his partner William Tomasello as examples of how profits were made by builders using the FHA.[citation needed] McKenna said the two paid $34,200 for a piece of land which they rented to their corporation for over $60,000 per year in a 99-year lease, so that if the apartment they built on it ever defaulted, the FHA would owe $1.5 million on it. McKenna said that Trump and Tomasello obtained loans for $3.5 million more than the apartments cost.[citation needed] Trump testified before the Senate Banking Committee the following month as it investigated "windfall profits." He said that builders would not have built apartments under an expired post-war loan insurance program if regulations had set inflexible limits on loans issued by the FHA.[18][non-primary source needed][19][non-primary source needed] Folk icon Woody Guthrie, who from 1950 was a tenant in one of Trump's apartment complexes in Brooklyn, criticized Trump as a landlord. He wrote lyrics that accused his landlord of stirring up racial hate "in the bloodpot of human hearts".[2]

Civil rights suit[edit | edit source]

In 1973, the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a civil rights suit against the Trump Organization (TO; Fred Trump, chair, 27-year-old Donald Trump, president) charging it with "violating the Fair Housing Act of 1968."[20] In response, Trump attorney Roy Cohn filed a counter-suit against the government for $100 million, "portray[ing] the Trumps as the victims," claiming the DOJ's "falsely accusing them of discrimination."[20]

The suits arose after complaints to the New York City Commission on Human Rights and to the Urban League led the League and other groups to send black and white "testers" to apply for apartments in Trump-owned complexes, which led them to conclude that whites got apartments in the buildings of their interest, while blacks generally did not; both advocacy organizations then raised the issue with the Justice Department.[20] As reported by Wayne Barrett and Jon Campbell for The Village Voice, citing court records, "four superintendents or rental agents confirmed that applications sent to the [TO] central office for acceptance or rejection were coded by race."[21] An early Village Voice article by Wayne Barrett in 1979 cited court records from the case and reported that a TO rental agent indicated he had been given instructions by Fred Trump "not to rent to blacks" and to "decrease the number of black tenants" by encouraging their relocation to other housing.[22][21] After approximately two years in court, a consent decree between the DOJ and the TO was signed (June 10, 1975), with both sides claiming victory[20]—the TO for its perceived ability to continue to deny rentals to welfare recipients,[22][20] and the head of DOJ’s housing division for the decree being "one of the most far-reaching ever negotiated,"[20][22] as it personally and corporately prohibited the Trumps and the TO from “discriminating against any person in the terms, conditions, or priveleges [sic.] of sale or rental of a dwelling,”[20] and "required Trump to advertise vacancies in minority papers and list vacancies... [preferentially, with a Center of] the Urban League," as well as to use the ads to inform potential minority applicants that they had equal opportunity to seek housing at TO properties.[20] Finally, it required the TO to "promote minorities to professional jobs,"[22] and it ordered the Trumps "to 'thoroughly acquaint themselves personally on a detailed basis' with the Fair Housing Act."[20] The Justice Department would subsequently further complain that continuing "racially discriminatory conduct by Trump agents has occurred with such frequency that it has created a substantial impediment to the full enjoyment of equal opportunity."[when?][21]

Philanthropy[edit | edit source]

Fred Trump and his wife Mary supported medical charities through the gifts of buildings. Mary Trump received medical care at the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center. Afterward, Fred and Mary contributed a building, the Trump Pavilion, to the medical center.[7][23][24] Community Mainstreaming Associates of Great Neck, which "provides homes for functionally retarded adults," received, in a combined gift to the National Kidney Foundation (New York/New Jersey chapter), a two building complex in Brooklyn;[7][23] the Cerebral Palsy Foundation (New York/New Jersey chapter) also received a building.[7] In addition, Trump made charitable contributions to the Long Island Jewish Hospital, and to the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan,[7] and Mrs. Trump served on the Women's Auxiliary of the Jamaica Day Nursery.[23]

Fred Trump supported Jewish and Israeli causes and institutions, including his donation of the land for building the Beach Haven Jewish Center in Flatbush, New York,[25] and significant support for Israel Bonds, debt securities that trade at a risk-adjusted spread to U.S. Treasury bonds and are issued by the government of Israel.[26]

The Trumps were active in the Salvation Army, the Boy Scouts of America and the Lighthouse for the Blind.[23] Fred Trump also provided support to the school his children attended, The Kew-Forest School,[7] where he served on the board of directors.[27]

Personal life[edit | edit source]

Trump, a Lutheran, married Mary Anne MacLeod, a Presbyterian, in January 1936 at the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church with George Arthur Buttrick officiating.[28] The wedding reception for the 25 guests was held at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan. Mary Anne MacLeod was born May 10, 1912 on the island of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, United Kingdom.[29] On May 2, 1930, she emigrated to the United States, leaving Glasgow on the RMS Transylvania. She stated her occupation as "domestic," meaning either a servant or maid in domestic service.[30] She returned to Scotland on the SS Cameronia, arriving on September 12, 1934.[citation needed] She traveled on a "re-entry permit" obtained from Washington on March 3, 1934—a permit only granted to immigrants intending to stay and gain U.S. citizenship—where she was again listed as a "domestic", going to live with her sister Catherine Reid.[31][32]

Fred and Mary Trump settled in Jamaica, Queens.[30] The couple had five children.[33][34] Their adult, married names and occupations are or were: Maryanne Trump Barry (born 1937), a federal appeals court judge; Frederick Christ "Freddy" Trump Jr. (1938–1981), an airline pilot with Trans World Airlines;[35] Elizabeth Trump Grau (born 1942), an executive assistant at Chase Manhattan Bank; Donald Trump (born 1946), businessman, television personality and 45th President of the United States;[36] and Robert Trump (born 1948), president of his father's property management company.[33] Freddy Trump Jr. predeceased his parents, dying at age 42 of complications associated with his alcoholism.[35][37]

Fred Trump suffered from Alzheimer's disease for six years.[7] He fell ill with pneumonia in June 1999 and was admitted to Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, where he died at age 93 a few weeks later.[38] Trump's estate was estimated by his family at $250 million to $300 million;[7] his funeral was held at the Marble Collegiate Church.[38] He is interred at Lutheran All Faiths Cemetery in Middle Village, Queens.[39] His widow, Mary, died the following summer, on August 7, 2000, in New Hyde Park, New York, at age 88.[23]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "If you think Trump's money comes from his dad, you're only half right - TheBillFold". 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kaplan, Thomas (January 25, 2016). "Woody Guthrie Wrote of His Contempt for His Landlord, Donald Trump’s Father". The New York Times. Retrieved January 29, 2017. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Moyer, Justin William (January 22, 2016). "The Unbelievable Story of Why Woody Guthrie Hated Donald Trump’s Dad". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 29, 2017. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 Blair, Gwenda (September 13, 2000). The Trumps: Three generations that built an empire (1st Touchstone ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 110. ISBN 9780743210799. Retrieved February 12, 2017. 
  5. WP Staff (August 30, 2016). "Family History: Friedrich Trumpf Passenger List". ‘Trump Revealed’: The Reporting Archive (pdf). Washington, DC: The Washington Post. Retrieved January 29, 2017.  The online archive is in support of Michael Kranish, Michael & Fisher, Marc (2016). Trump Revealed: An American Journey of Ambition, Ego, Money, and Power (1st ed.). New York: Scribner. ISBN 1501155776. 
  6. Peterson, Britt (September 9, 2015). "Why Donald Trump Trumps Donald Drumpf". The Boston Globe. Retrieved January 29, 2017. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 7.9 Rozhon, Tracie (June 26, 1999). "Fred C. Trump, Postwar Master Builder of Housing for Middle Class, Dies at 93". The New York Times. Retrieved January 29, 2017. 
  8. Blair, Gwenda (September 13, 2000). The Trumps: Three generations that built an empire (1st Touchstone ed.). New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 117. ISBN 9780743210799. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Snyder, Gerald S. (July 26, 1964). "Millionaire Calls Work His Hobby". The Bridgeport Post. Bridgeport, CT: p. 65. Retrieved January 29, 2017 – via 
  10. Blair, The Trumps, p. 120-122.
  11. Blair, The Trumps, p. 110.
  12. Berzon, Alexandra & Rubin, Richard (September 23, 2016). "Trump’s Father Helped GOP Candidate With Numerous Loans". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 29, 2017. 
  13. Glum, Julia (September 26, 2016). "How Much Money Did Trump Get From His Dad? The Small Loan Controversy Explained". International Business Times. Retrieved January 29, 2017 – via 
  14. Sherman, Gabriel (June 1, 2016). "Trump Is Considering a Pre-Convention Visit to Israel". New York [magazine]. Retrieved January 29, 2017 – via 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Bump, Philip (February 29, 2016). "The Fix: In 1927, Donald Trump’s Father Was Arrested After a Klan Riot in Queens". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 29, 2017. 
  16. Pearl, Mike (March 10, 2016). "All the Evidence We Could Find About Fred Trump's Alleged Involvement with the KKK". Vice. The Vice Guide to the 2016 Election. Retrieved January 29, 2017. 
  17. Horowitz, Jason (September 22, 2015). "First Draft: In Interview, Donald Trump Denies Report of Father's Arrest in 1927". The New York Times. Retrieved January 29, 2017. 
  18. Author unknown (July 13, 1954). "Limit on Public Housing May Emerge From Huddle Over Conflicting Bills". The Newport Daily News – via (Subscription required (help)). [better source needed]
  19. In September 1954, following Trump's testimony, 2,500 tenants of the Beach Haven apartments sued Trump and the FHA, claiming he made windfall profits. Trump and Tomasello had received loans for $4 million more than the construction cost, and the tenants sued for compensation for rents that they contended were inappropriately inflated. See Author unknown (September 21, 1954). "Tenants in Suit for Rent Refunds". The Post Standard. Syracuse, NY – via (Subscription required (help)). [better source needed]
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 20.4 20.5 20.6 20.7 20.8 Kranish, Michael & O'Harrow Jr., Robert (January 23, 2016). "Inside the Government’s Racial Bias Case Against Donald Trump’s Company, and How He Fought It". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 29, 2017. 
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Barrett, Wayne; Campbell, Jon (July 20, 2015). "How a Young Donald Trump Forced His Way From Avenue Z to Manhattan". The Village Voice. Retrieved January 29, 2017. 
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 Barrett, Wayne (January 15, 1979). "Like Father, Like Son: Anatomy of a Young Power Broker". The Village Voice. Retrieved January 29, 2017.  The original 1979 article is reprinted and appended to the 2015 article by Barrett and Campbell.
  23. 23.0 23.1 23.2 23.3 23.4 NYT Staff (August 9, 2000). "Mary MacLeod Trump Philanthropist, 88". The New York Times. Retrieved January 30, 2017. 
  24. Mary's obituary refers to her as being "the mainstay of the Women's Auxiliary of Jamaica Hospital." See NYT Staff, The New York Times, August 9, 2000.
  25. TJP Staff (November 21, 2016). "Trump Family Donated Bigly to Jewish, Israeli Causes". The Jewish Press. Brooklyn, NY. JNi.Media. Retrieved January 30, 2017. 
  26. Haaretz Staff (March 25, 2016). "The Swedish Whopper: Donald Trump's Long-standing Struggle With the Truth" (print and online). Haaretz. Tel Aviv, ISR. Retrieved January 30, 2017 – via 
  27. Tuccille, Jerome (1985). Trump: The Saga of America's Most Powerful Real Estate Baron. Beard Books. p. 38. ISBN 9781587982231. Retrieved February 18, 2017. 
  28. Hannan, Martin (May 20, 2016). "An inconvenient truth? Donald Trump's Scottish mother was a low-earning migrant". The National. Retrieved November 19, 2016. 
  29. Reid, Tony; Reid, Stuart; et al. (January 30, 2017). "People: Donald Trump". Edinburgh, SCT. Retrieved January 30, 2017. 
  30. 30.0 30.1 Pilon, Mary (June 24, 2016). "Donald Trump’s Immigrant Mother". The New Yorker. Retrieved February 12, 2017. 
  31. Hannah, Martin (May 20, 2016). "The Mysterious Mary Trump: The Full Untold Story of How a Young Scotswoman Escaped to New York and Raised a US Presidential Candidate". The National (Scotland). Retrieved January 29, 2017. 
  32. Hannah, Martin (May 20, 2016). "An Inconvenient Truth? Donald Trump's Scottish Mother Was a Low-Earning Migrant". The National (Scotland). Retrieved January 29, 2017. 
  33. 33.0 33.1 The following source about the children from Seerat Chabba relates information about the four siblings of Donald J. Trump, the 45th President of the United States (POTUS); for summary information on the 45th POTUS himself, see Flegenheimer & Barbaro, The New York Times, November 9, 2016, op. cit.; Chabba, Seerat (November 15, 2016). "Who Are Donald Trump's Siblings? What You Need To Know About Maryanne, Freddy, Elizabeth And Robert Trump". International Business Times. Retrieved January 29, 2017 – via 
  34. Powell, Kimberly (March 2, 2016). "Donald Trump's German and Scottish Family Tree". Retrieved January 29, 2017. 
  35. 35.0 35.1 Horowitz, Jason (January 2, 2016). "For Donald Trump, Lessons From a Brother’s Suffering". The New York Times. Retrieved January 29, 2017. 
  36. Flegenheimer, Matt & Barbaro, Michael (November 9, 2016). "Donald Trump Is Elected President in Stunning Repudiation of the Establishment". The New York Times. Retrieved January 30, 2017. 
  37. McAfee, Tierney (October 8, 2015). "Donald Trump Opens Up About His Brother's Death from Alcoholism: It Had a 'Profound Impact on My Life'". People. Retrieved January 29, 2017. 
  38. 38.0 38.1 Mosconi, Angela (June 26, 1999). "Fred Trump, Dad of Donald, Dies at 93". New York Post. Retrieved January 29, 2017. 
  39. Scovell, Nell (October 11, 2016). "A Visit to Trump's Graveyard". Esquire. Retrieved January 20, 2017. 

External links[edit | edit source]