It’s no secret that Donald Trump has engaged in some shady real estate dealings over the years, from his fraught attempt to own the Empire State Building, to the “public” gardens at Trump Tower that allowed him to build taller, to a lost battle with China over two major office buildings (not to mention his many bankruptcies). But there was at least one snafu that he wasn’t able to weasel himself out of, and it was all thanks to a group of feisty residential tenants.
In the early 1980s, Trump planned to evict rent-controlled and rent-stabilized tenants from 100 Central Park South (now known as Trump Parc East) and build a larger tower on this site and that of the adjacent Barbizon Plaza Hotel. He hired a management firm that specialized in emptying buildings, and they began eviction proceedings. After claiming reduced services, a lack of repairs, and overall harassment, the tenants decided to fight back, and in the end 80 percent of them remained, leading to this revelation by the Donald: “What I’ve learned is that the better the location and the lower the rent, the harder people fight. If I were a tenant, I’d probably be a leader too.”