WASHINGTON — Donald Trump has a pattern of not paying or underpaying bills to everyone from waiters to painters and carpenters to a banking firm — and was even facing foreclosure at the Trump National Doral Miami golf club, according to exhaustive new reports.
According to an investigation by USA Today published Thursday and a similar investigation by The Wall Street Journal published later in the day on Thursday, Trump’s companies are facing hundreds of claims that Trump has stiffed people he contracted with for decades.
Both reports analyzed court records and interviewed the people behind the claims, and found that the average working American that Trump has geared his campaign toward are some of the same people his business hasn’t paid.
USA Today cited numerous examples, including a case as recent as last month in which a Miami-Dade County Circuit Court judge ordered Trump’s company to pay a paint supply company more than $30,000 by the end of this month or face foreclosure of the Trump National Doral Miami golf club. According to The Miami Herald, The Paint Spot claimed Trump has owed them the money since 2014.
Court records show the judge in the case canceled the scheduled foreclosure sale on Tuesday after a hearing, but the broader legal fight over the bill continues.
The Trump campaign did not respond to an inquiry into whether the bill was paid or a response to the investigations broadly.
In another case, the Philadelphia cabinet business of Edward Friel Jr. was never paid more than $83,000 for work completed in 1984, the weight of which Friel’s son said started the fall of the company.
USA Today analyzed at least 60 lawsuits and more than 200 mechanic’s liens for the report, also finding 24 citations since 2005 of Trump’s companies for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act “for failing to pay overtime or minimum wage.”
The court records showed not only a pattern of not paying, but also of Trump companies tying up small businesses and individuals in lengthy legal dealings until they either settle, give up or sometimes go out of business altogether.
In response to the report, Trump told USA Today in an interview that he only stiffs or shorts bills if the work is unsatisfactory.
“Let’s say that they do a job that’s not good, or a job that they didn’t finish, or a job that was way late. I’ll deduct from their contract, absolutely,” Trump said. “That’s what the country should be doing.”
And his spokeswoman provided Wall Street Journal with a list of companies that reported good business dealings with Trump’s organization and in a few cases, bonuses for good work.
“I pay thousands of bills on time,” Trump told the Journal.