During the presidential debate last night, Hillary Clinton asserted that Donald Trump was sued by the Justice Department for refusing to rent his apartments to African Americans. The assertion proved to be true.
It all started in 1973, when a young, 27 year-old Donald Trump was president of his father’s realty company. The realty company was called Trump Management, and it oversaw almost 40 apartment buildings, most of which were located in New York City.
During this time, the federal government alleged that Donald Trump and his father, Fred Trump, breached the laws set forth by the Fair Housing Act. The Fair Housing Act is part of the Civil Rights Act of 1968, and it protects tenants from being racially discriminated against.
A full-scale investigation was launched, and the government spoke to several sources who claimed that Trump Management had several discriminatory practices in place. For example, several former employees claimed that Trump Management executives told lower-level management not to rent to black people.
The Justice Department also looked into claims that the company’s comptroller made rental agents attach a sheet of paper with the letter “C” for “colored” to every rental application submitted by a person of color. But the accusations don’t stop there.
According to court documents, on March 18, 1972, an African American male inquired about two-bedroom apartments at Trump’s Westminster complex in Brooklyn. A manager told the man that nothing was available. The very next day, the man’s wife (who was Caucasian) inquired about two-bedroom apartments at the exact same complex. She was told that there was availability, and was even encouraged to fill out an application.
Donald Trump touched on the lawsuit at last night’s debate, stating that, “As far as the lawsuit, yes, when I was very young, I went into my father’s company, had a real estate company in Brooklyn and Queens, and we, along with many, many other companies throughout the country—it was a federal lawsuit—were sued. We settled the suit with zero—with no admission of guilt. It was very easy to do.”
Although fact checkers confirmed that Trump did settle the lawsuit with no admission of guilt, millions of Americans are still curious as to whether he was merely able to buy himself out of trouble.