EAST ST. LOUIS, IL (KTVI) - Donald Trump's hotel chain is the target of a new multi-million dollar class action lawsuit in East St. Louis federal court.
A Belleville man claims he's a victim of a year-long data breach at Trump Hotels. The suit alleges that Trump Hotels "dropped the ball" in protecting customers.
A security notice from Trump Hotels admits credit and debit card information may have been hacked between May 2014 and June 2015. But it also says there's no proof yet of anyone being victimized.
Two attorneys in Belleville say they've got one victim. They're looking for more to join the suit.
“There are hundreds potentially thousands of people that stayed at Trump Hotels during that period of time that could have had their private financial information stolen from them,” said plaintiff’s attorney Brady McAninch. “It could be being used against them right now.”
Fellow attorney and repeat Trump Hotels customer, John Driscoll of Belleville, is the lead plaintiff.
“If you go down the street to Nick’s Deli and use your credit card, there is an implied contract that is essentially created that your financial information will be protected and it won’t be accessed by a third party,” said John Hipskind, plaintiff’s attorney.
The $5 million suit alleges Trump Hotels failed to fix elementary data security deficiencies at seven locations from Chicago to Toronto to New York to Hawaii. It says Trump Hotels knew or should have known about the possible breach. It says Trump Hotels failed to disclose it in a timely manner, doing so just nine days ago.
“We believe there were certain elementary precautions and procedures that could have been put into place to safeguard these people’s financial information and they simply were not put into place,” Hipskind said.
“Absolutely we can point to people we believe had their identities stolen as a result of this breach and then credit cards used or personal, private, financial information used to drain their bank accounts,” McAninch said.
If the past is any indication, the attorneys can expect a legal fight. Two years ago, Trump won a $6 million lawsuit filed by an 87-year-old woman who invested in Trump’s property in Chicago.
Donald Trump himself testified in the case.
“Unlike a lot of people, I just don’t believe in settling these things,” Trump said at the time.
There's no word on whether he'd show up to testify in East St. Louis.
Trump International Hotel Management did respond to inquiries from Fox 2/KPLR 11 on Thursday.
Trump Hotels is offering potential victims one year of free identity protection service. That doesn't even come close to addressing the financial and emotional toll on victims alleged in the suit.