Thursday, July 19, 2018



A column appearing in the New York Times in 1984 has resurfaced, in which it discusses real estate mogul Donald Trump’s uncanny ability to engage in successful negotiations, and even openly wonders if he might one day disarm hostile countries as President of the United States.

It’s funny since the Times has now morphed into thinking the once brilliant negotiator is an incompetent clown.


'DONALD! HEY, DONALD! DONALD!' THE men were yelling, eager to call him by name. A storm front of cigar smoke was gathering above the hotel ballroom, packed elbow-to-elbow for a breakfast-hour sports forum with a crowd that included some of New York's most wealthy, powerful and famous men.

Mayor Koch was there, former Mayors Lindsay and Beame, two United States Senators, the five borough presidents, judges, labor leaders, busines stycoons and sports celebrities, as well as team owners and executives such as George Steinbrenner, Sonny Werblin of the Knicks and Rangers, Fred Wilpon, president of the Mets, and several hundred men who make it their business to rub shoulders at such functions.

Yet, somehow, everyonme at this sports function was drawn to Donald Trump, the 37-year-old owner of the New Jersey Generals, a franchise in the upstart United States Football League. As Mr. Trump inched his way toward the exit, dragging a dozen reporters, emn int he crowd stood on their tiptoes to wave and call to him - like so many bejowled rock-star fans. There was a desperation about them as they reached throught he reporters to pat him on the back, to grasp his hand or just to stuff a business card into his coat pocket. If only he could cut them in.

Donald J. Trump is the man of the hour. Turnon the television or open a newspaper almost any day of the week and there he is, snatching some star form the National Football League, announcing some preposterously lavish project he wants to build. Public-relations firms call him, offering to handle his account for nothing, so that they might take credit for the torrential hoopla. He has no public-relations agent. His competitors wonder how this can be, but watching him at the sports forum provided an explanation. While executives of the other teams told the audience about problems of negotiation and arbitration, about dirty restrooms inside their arenas and street crime outside and about 'attempting to move the Mets in the right direction,' Donald Trump was electrifying the room the rat-a-tat-tat revelations, dropping names of star N.F.L. players and coaches he would sign in a matter of hours. He said further that he would 'continue to create chaos' for the N.F.L. and, by the way, that he planned to build a domed stadium in New York. >While critics charge that Mr. Trump is a raving egomaniac, bent on putting his name on every inanimate boject in the city, he claims that putting on the Trump name is value added.

'These units are selling,' says Blanche Sprague, who is in charge of sales at Trump Plaza, 'because of the Trump name.' A man holding a trowel says he is proud to be working on a Trump building and always tells his friends are waiting to get in.

Trump Tower represents his guiding principle: Spend whatever it takes to buid the est. Them, let people know about it. In New York, there is no limit to how much money people will spend for the very best, not second best, the very best.

Trump sums up Trump Tower this way: The finest apartments in the top building in the best location in the hottest city in the world. This is Trump-speak. Mr. Trump has said that Trump Tower is for the 'world's best people,' and one who doubts his modesty commented that by way of proving it, Mr. Trump was moving in himself. The Trups recently had their third child, and the growing family will soon settle in a $10 million triplex penthouse.

The real-estate market is Mr. Trump's thermometer for gauing just how 'hot' a city is. 'New York is, right now, perhaps the hottest city ever,' he says. Recalling recent years when Paris, London, Los Angeles and Chicago had been hot, 'at some point, real estate here will have to go down, but that point is not in sight. One element that makes the market stronger here than in other U.S. cities is the Europeans, South Americans and others.'

Arriving in his office on the 26th floor of Trump Tower, Donald Trump is handed a sprial notebook by his secretary, Norma I. Foerderer, that lists about 50 telephone calsshe has received this morning that she deems worth mentioning. 'It's carzy,' he remarks. 'People are coming to me now because I have credibility.' He says he senses it is ephemeral. He is seizing the moment.

Mrs. Foerderer and a few others guard the ramparts, beating back dozens, sometime hundreds, of callers each day who would like to throw in with Mr. Trump n a variety of deals. Visitors are treaed to a slide show on Trump Tower while they wait - with superlatives by The Trump Organization and vocal accompaniment by Frank Sinatra. In their efforts to get through to Mr. Trump, some of the visitors tell Mrs. Foerderer they are old buddies of his, others bring candy and flowers. They want to propose marriage to Mr. Trump or to put a tank of dolphins in the lobby or have him back a Hollywood film or do a television series about rich people living in Trump Tower or sell him some oil wells in Oklahoma or some land in Ankara or ask if he would be interested in a plan to bulldoze Ellis Island to build a nice golf course and clubhouse out there. Some people try to make it simple for him and just ask for cash. The day before he has sent $3,000 to an unfortunate family he has red about in the newspaper, something he does frequently, according to Mrs. Foerderer.

For a billion-dollar corporation, there aren't too mny people around. Mr. Trump runs The Trump Organization, which includes several companies that buy, sell and develop land, own land and buildings, and a company, now inactive, that bought and sold gold, which, Mr. Trump confirmed, reaped him a $32 million profit. Mr. Trump owns all of these. He is a 50-50 partner in companies that own the Gran Hyatt hotel, Trump Tower and Harrah's at Trump Plaza. He owns 90 percent of the Trump Plaza cooperative building partnership. The Trump family owns 25,000 apartment units primarily in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island - the empire that Fred C. Trump, Donald Trump's father, built. The elder Mr. Trump looks after these apartments from an office at the rear of an apartment building at 600 Avenue Z in Brooklyn.

Fred Trump's empire, which he built from scratch, had an estimated value of $40 million when Donal joined the business 16 years ago. Donald's brother, Robert, is an executive vice president of the organization. (An older brother, Fred Jr., died several years ago.) His two sisters are Maryanne Trump Barry, a Federal Distict Court judge in Trenton, and Elizabeth J. Trump, a secretary at the Chase Manhattan Bank. They were raised in a 23-room house in Jamaica Estates. The family is of Swedish descent.

Donald Trump makes or approves practically all decisions. Although there is a board room, there is no board. At the moment, he is telling a doorman on the other end of the telephone not to put that tacky runner down on the eautiful marble floor when it rains. He does not seem to write anything down, keeping volumes of company files as mental notes.

Mr. Trump's wife, Ivana, is also an executive vice president of the company and has an office next door to her husband's. She is a former fashion model - 'a top model,' in Mr. Trump's words - who was married to Donald Trump seven years ago by the family's minister, the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale.

Ivana Trump, mother of three, retains her model's figure and glamour at age 35. Designers and manufacturers of perfume, jewelry, dresses nad panty hose have proposed naming product lis after her and using her in advertisements. She says she is not interested. She works 10 hour days at the office, handles a heavy social calendar and does most of the cooking for the family. Without trying to arouse undue sentiment against her, it shoud also be added that she is a top-flight skier, an alternate on the 1972 Czechoslovak Olympic team.

She speaks with a thick accent that only seems to add to her allure. 'Cowboys?' she says, her eyes brightening and her voice rising, as it does when she talks about most anything. 'We don't want Cowboys! Where can we go with Cowboys?' She was explaining why her husband bought the New Jersey Generals instead of the Dallas Cowboys. Says Louise M. Sunshine, another executive vice president: 'If it is not the impossible, Donald is simply not interested. There has to be creativity. Money ceased to be the object a long time ago.' Mr. Trump agrees with this assessment.

Mrs. Trump acts as interior designer for his projects, in concert with other designers. she and Mr. Trump make thousands of decisins, from picking all the wallpapers, curtain backings and braid for the doormen's uniforms to menus and doorknobs. Their selections seem based on galvanic skin response. They want the bathmats for Harrah's to add a measure of excitement.

Mrs. Trump spent a week at a quarry in Italy matching slabs of the distinctive, peach rose and pink Breccia Perniche marble for the atrium of Trump Tower. Some people criticize 'that pink marble' and Mrs. Trump responds: 'And what do they prefer? The cheap white travertine that is used in baks and all the other buildings? It is too cold, too common. Donald and I are more daring than that.' When people criticize the Trump Tower doormen's uniforms, she ansers: 'They are fun. Why must everyone be so serious?'

The couple's attention to detail is exceptional. Workmen at the Trump Plaza say that ona recent visit, Mr. Trump spotted a hairline crack that others could barely detect in a bathroom of one of the 140 cooperative apartments. He not only complained but stood there until a work crew came and replaced the marble.

Another worker at the site recalled that Mrs. Trump had an entire elevator cab replaced rather than have a small gap filled where the trim failed to meet the elevator wall. The construction manager of the Atlantic City project, Tom Pippett, said, when Mrs. Trump gave birth to the couple's third child, 'We hoped to get her off our backs for a least a month or so.' But she delivered the baby on a Friday and returned to work the next Tuesday.

Irving R Fischer, chairman of the board of HRH Construction Corporation, one of New York City's largest, and construction manager of Trump Tower, recalls mrs. Trump's decision that the handrails ont he balconies at Trump Plaza were the wrong color. 'He saw a gold Cadillac down the block,' he says, 'and yelled, 'That's the color!' We had to go out and buy goddamned Cadillac paint for the railings. These are things no other developer in the city ever thnks about. They leave it to architects and decorators.'

After lunch in the Trump Tower atrium restaurant - 'have a roll, these are the best rolls in the city' - Mr. Trump walks up to the Sherry-Netherland Hotel for talks, through an interpreter, with a group of Argentines. They are principal owners of 76 acres on the West Side, the largest single piece of undeveloped private property remaining in Manhattan, site of the proposed Lincoln West development. Although partners in the development say Mr. Trump is considering joining them in the project, a knowledgeable source says Mr. Trump left the meeting with an option to buy thm out entirely.

'He is an almost unbelievable negotiator,' says Irving Fischer of HRH Construction. 'I don't worship at the shrine of Donald Trump,' he says, 'but our company has given up trying to negotiate costs with him. We just say: 'Tell us what you want, you're going to get it anyway.''   

 Mr. Trump refuses to dicuss his deals publicly, but his negotiating bilities were there for all to see recently when he decided to sign the Giant's all-pro linebacker, Lawrence Taylor. Before the negotiating was over, Mr. Taylor's agent foundhimself paying Mr. Trump $750,000 in cash to get his player released from a contract he signed with the Fenerals so that he could re-sign with the Giants, and Mr. Trump had reaped millins of dollars of free publicity for having gone after one of the best players in football.

Three years ago, Mr. Trump went into a room with the owners of the Barbizon Plaza Hotel and an adjacent apartment buiding, purchased the property for about $13 million, according to records, and less than two months later took out a mortgage on it for $65 million. Sources in the industry say the value of hat parcel on Central Park South may now be as much as $125 million.

'Trump can sense whn people might want to get ot of a project,' says a developer, 'and he moves in, very quickly and very quietly so others will not get into the biddig and drive the price up. He trusts his instincts and has theguts to act on them.

Roy M. Cohn, Mr. Trump's friend and attorney, adds: 'He has an uncanny sense of knowing that something is a good deal when it looks dismal to everyone else.'

Such was his first deal in Manhattan, his purchase of the Commodore Hotel on East 42nd Street in the mdid-1970's, when even the Chrysler Building across the street was in foreclosure. Fred Trump described his son's efforts to buy the hotel as 'fighting for a seat on the Titanic.' But, Donald Trump says, 'I saw all those people coming out of Grand Central Terminal, and I said to myself, 'How bad can this be?'' He completely renovated the hotel, reopening it as the chrome-and-glass Grand Hyatt Hotel.

In Atlantic City, he invested $1 million in land and other costs before the referendum on gambling was passed in 1976. By the early 1980's, his investment was $22 million. 'Everyone said stay away from Atlantic City,' Mr. Trump says. 'Everybody but about four guys. I wa one of the four.'

According to sources in Atlantic City familiar with the deal, Harrah's paid Mr. Trup $50 million in the casino hotel, which Mr. Trump already had under construction. Harrah's put up an additional $170 million in fiancing, agreed to charge Mr. Trump no managing fee and has guaranteed him no financial losses in any year.

He had moved in quietly, sending 14 different people to purchase 15 parcels of land and keeping his name out of it. 'If the seller was Italian,' says Mr. Trump, 'we sent an Italian' - something he probably did not learn at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Finance, where he received a B.A. in economics in 1968. He bought and sold a few pieces of real estate in Philadelphia when he was bored with classes.

'It's in his genes,' says Fred Trump, explaining his son's success in real estate and recalling his three sons growing up on construction sites and in rental offices.

'Donald Trump is the Michael Jackson of real estate,' says Mr. Fischer. 'We've been dealing with him since he was 16. He was an old trouper at age 25.'
His success also derives from his marketing skills. 'I want to bring a little showmanship to real estate,' Mr. Trumps says. He is often compared to the late William Zeckendorf, the renowned New York builder, who was said to owe much of his success to his personal flair. Other New York developers - including the Lefraks, the Rudins, te Tishmans, the Fishers, the Roses - go quietly about building more buildings than does Donal Trump, making their millions and keeping their names out of things.

Some developers find Mr. Trump's high-profile approach disagreeable, but most concede that it has worked for him.

Preston Robert Tisch, a developer and chief operating officer of the Loews Corporation, who lost out to Mr. Trump in the battle over whose site would be chosen for the city's convention cneter, concludes: 'He captured the imagination of people to a greater degree than I could.'

The condominiums in Trump Tower are selling rapdily at what many believe are exorbitant prices, while less costly units in Museum Tower, for example, another 'superluxury' building a few blocks away, are not. According to a marketing study of four such buildings made by the rudential Insurance Company of America, Donald Trump seems to be the only person in New York who knows how to market superluxury apartments. How do you sell a one-bedroom apartment costin as much as a line item in the Department of Defense budget? 'You sell them a fantasy,' Mr. Trump explains. 'He deserves full credit for his success,' says another builder. 'He spent $1 million on the waterfall in Trump Tower. No one else would have done that. If the building fails everyone will say: 'Well sure, what jackass spends a million bucks on a waterfall?''

'What sets Trump apart,' says Ben V. Lambert, a real-estate investment banker, 'is his ability to pierce through the canvas and get things don.He gets projectsliterally off the ground while others are having meetins and doing feasibility studies. But his real skill is putting together complex pieces of the puzzles: fiancing, zoning, parcels of land and such. This ethereal part of building is perhaps more important than the brick and mortar.'

Some have said that his father's money and political contacts with the Brooklyn Democratic organization, which produced former Mayor Abraham D. Beame and former Gov. Hugh L. Carey, are an important part of Donald Trump's success formula. To be sure, they played a part in his gaining a foothold in Manhattan real estate a decade ago. 'It's good to know people,' Fred Trump told his son. Henry J. Stern, the Parks Commissioner who wa then a City ouncil memer, sharply criticzed the tax abatement Mr. Trump received - the first ever for a commercial developer - on the Grand Hyatt Hotel project. 'Donald Trump runs with the same clique that continues to manipulate things behind the scenes in this city,' Mr. Stern then charged.

In retrospect, Mr. Stern now says: 'The tax abatement was a good thing. It made it possible for Donald Trump to take a risk an build a hotel that started a turnarond of that entire area.' Mayor Koch agrees with that assessment, as does Mr. Tisch, who, at the time, vociferously opposed the abatement as unfair to other developers and hotel operators.

'Donald Trump, Mr. Stern concludes, 'is a transplanted 19th-century swashbuckling entrepreneur, and it is up to public officials to rein him in. I don't so much fault him for asking the city for thigs as I do public officials who gave him his way.

'It is not a crime to contribute to politicians,' says Mr. Stern. 'For a New York real-estate developer not to contribute would probably make him look overtly hostile.'

Charges of political influence were also made when Mr. Trump hired Louise Sunshine to lobby for his site for the convention center. Mrs. Sunshine had been the chief fund-raiser for Governor Carey's re-election campaign and was collecting a state salary at the time. Concern was voiced over the intermingling of roles.

Some people still worry about Mr. Trump's political connections. Ruth W. Messinger is a City Council member who, despite her continued opposition to the project, has worked for four years to try to insure that a development at Lincoln West will be reasonably compatible with the neighborhood. Reports that Mr. Trump may buy into the project, she says, 'scare me to death.'

'He seems to get his way in this city,' she says. Mr. Trup is rather astonished that people feel this way after the city denied him a tax abatement on Trump Tower worth abot $15 million to $20 million.

Although it has yet to become an issue, some eyebrows were raised when Mr. Trump was named to a panel studying the feasibility and site selection of a domed sports complex in New York even though he has expressed a strong desire to build it.

Mrs. Messinger does not much care for Mr. Trump's 'contentiousness' in pressing a lawsuit against the city over refusal of his tax abatement on Trump Tower or for his filing suit against the official who refused it, Anthony Gliedman, the city's Housing Commissioner. Says Roy Cohn: 'You don't use the term 'settlement' with Donald.

Mr. Trump's critics charge that this is typical of his bullying ways. Tenants of an apartment building at Central Park South and Avenue of the Americas owned by Mr. Trump charge thathe is trying to force them out. He has expressed a desire to build a lavish new hotel on the site of that building and the adjacent. Barbizon-Plaza Hotel. Mr. Trump has filed suits against several of the tenants and Housing Court judges have thrown several of the suits out f court on grounds that they were brought in bad faith to harass and annoy the tenants and were a blatant attempt to force the tenants out throug spurious and unnecessary litigation.

For his part, Mr. Trump claims that millionaires are paying $400 for large apartments with park views in the rent-controlled building. He has had tin placed over windows of vacant apartments, giving the building the look of a tenement. He has offered to house homeless peole in the empty apartments, an offer Mayor Koch declined because he viewed it as as an obvious attempt to make remaining tenants want to leave.

Mr. Trump first became a target for many of his critics when, in 1980, he jackhammered two Art Deco has-relief sculptures that had adorned the Bonwit building, which he was razing to make way for Trump Tower. He destroyed them rather than donating them to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which had expressed interest in the pieces. Critics never fail to mention the episode. Now, Mr. Trump says he is sorry he did it, but insists that little interest was shown in preserving the statues until after they were demolished.

Mr. Trump does not place patience on his list of virtues. Workmen confirm a story that he paid $75,000 to truck several 40-foot trees from Florida to Trump Tower, where a tunnel was built into the building so the trees would not be damaged by frost. The 3,000-pound trees were then installed in the lower plaza of the atrium. Mr. Trump did not like the look. He ordered the trees removed, and, when workmen balked for 24 hours, Mr. Trump had the trees cut down with a chainsaw.

It is often pointed out that Mr. Trump is prone to exageration in describing his projects. Oh, he lies a great deal, says Philip Johnson with a laugh. But it's sheer exuberance, exaggeration. It's never about anything important. He's straight as an arrow in his business dealings.

Sometimes exaggeration just seems to swirl around him. A recent television show, 'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, reported that his Greenwich, Conn., waterfront home is a $10 million estate. Mr. Trump will admit that, yes he paid less than one-third of that and says: I didn't tell them that.

Various figures, ranging from $6 million to $10 million have been reported as the amount he paid for the Generals, but, as one who was involved in the negotiations says, the figure is closer to $1 million. Mr. Trump answers: I never told them those other figures.

And just about every profile ever written about Mr. Trump states that he graduated first in his class at Wharton in 1968. Although the school refused comment, the commencement program from 1968 does not list him as graduating with honors of any kind. He says he never told them that either.

Some of mr. Trump's critics are worried that the man who may change New York's skyline before he's through may simply have no taste. The worry abot palace-guard doormen and talk of high-rise castles.

If the charge is that Donald is unsophisticated, says Roy Cohn, they are in some ways right. If you go with Donald to see an art collection, he's not that interested. He'd rather look out the windows at building.

His taste is all right, says Philip Johnson, but it is sometimes overwhelmed by his sense of publicity. He will become less and less glitzy. He'll listen to me.

Oddly enough, for all of those who criticize his buildings as not in the best of taste, architecture critics have generally hailed them. In her review of the glass-and-chrome Grand Hyatt, for example, Ada Louise Huxtable spoke of the building's ingenuity and elegance and called it urbane and elegant New York. After an afternoon of negotiating with the Argentines, Mr. Trump returns to his office and momentarily takes a seat behind a desk big enough for F-14 landings. The office is not, however, what is known in the decorating profession as a power office, the kind common among top executives that is designed to induce groveling. It is of casual, modern decor with models of buildings and blue-prints scattered about.

Mr. Trump has abandoned the flashy haberdashery he favored some years ago - a wardrobe that included a burgundy suit and matching shoes - and he now dresses conservatively if casually, often wearing dark suits, white shirts, subdued ties and loafers. He speaks slowly and softly and in the same casual manner to eminent architects an business moguls as to the cofee and sandwich vendor outside his casino-hotel. He is said, by acquaintances, to be generally even tempered and rarely seems ruffled. He is not given to unkind remarks and is nearly always in a positive frame of mind. I never think of the negative, he says. All obstacles can be overcome.

He talks boastfully about his projects, but is uncomfortable talking about himself. He does not smoke and does not drink alcohol. He plays golf and tennis regularly. His wife describes him as an all-American boy who likes country music best and prefers a steak and aked potato to anything called cuisine.

Although he is 6 feet 2 inches, he does not particularly stand out in a crowd. His sandy hair is probably a bit long by standards of the corporate world, with the sides slicked back just a bit. More often than not, published profiles describe him as handsome. His smile is an impudent-looking curl of the lip that makes his protrait appear less like the head of a billion-dollar corporation in his office than Elvis Presley in Viva Las Vegas.

He has boyish looks that are accentuated by the company he keeps. His equals in the business world are all much older than he and these are the people he most often socializes with. He has dificulty now figuring out who his real friends are, as billionaires will.

He has not yet indulged in planes, race cars, polo ponies, art work, yachts, and the like. He says he doesn't have time for all of that now and prefers putting his money back into his deals. Of course there is the estate in Greenwich, and, Mrs. Trump says, We have a speedboat up there, and I like to go out and go a hundred miles an hour in it and come back. We don't want to sit on a yacht all day. His father pulled Donald Trump out of a prep school because he didn't want his son growing up with spoiled kids with $40 ball gloves, sending him instead to military school. His father bragged at the sports forum that he had taken the subway and saved $15 car fare.

Mrs. Trump says that, though they both work long hours, they try to spend two or three nights a week at home with the children, aged 6 years, 2 years and three months, buut the social obligations do pile up. In addition to dinner parties, Mrs. Trump says they like to attend Broadway openings an that they frequent the ballet and opera. Mrs. Trump is active in support of the United Cerebral Palsy Fund and other charities, as well as the New York City Opera. She is also an active supporter of Ronald Reagan.

Mr. Trump seems to have maintained a detached view of his flood of fortune and publicity. He frequently mentions that all of the attention and success may well be fleeting.

His friends say that he is not yet fully cognizant of his station. He loves to got to '21' for lunch and be impressed with all the wealthy, powerful, famous people, says an acquaintance. He doesn't quite realize that he's one of them.

That may be changing. He recently make a secret offer to buy the place.

After dusk, he rides throught the city on his way to the last appointment of the day, enjoying the lights that make the whole city sparkle like the inside of Trump Tower. He talked about his plans for the future, as much as anyone who operates on spontaneous combustion can.

Mr. Trump says whatever else he gets into he will undoubtedly stay in real estate. He hints everal times at a deal in the works, a big deal, very Trumpish, regarding television. but he will not divulge details.

The football thing is cute, Trump Tower and the piano and all of that, it's all cute, but what does it mean? he says, sounding what borders on a note of uncharacteristic despair.

Asked to explain, he adds: What does it all mean when some wacko over in Syria can end the world with nuclear weapons?

He says that his concern for nuclear holocaust is not one that popped into his mind during any recent made-of-television movie. He says that it has been troubling him since his uncle, a nuclear physicist, began talking to him about it 15 years ago.

His greatest dream is to personally do something about the problem and, characteristially, Donald Trump thinks he has an answer to nuclear armament: Let him engotiate arms agreements - he who can talk people into selling $100 million properties to him for $13 million. Negotiations is an art, he says and I have a gift for it.

The idea thathe would ever be allowed to got into a room alone and negotiate for the United States, let alone be successful in disarming the world, seems the naive musing of an optimistic, deluded young man who has never lost at anything he has tried. But he believes that through years of making his views known and through supporting candidaes who share his views, it could someday happen.

He is constantly asked about his interest in running for elective office. Absolutely not, he answers. All of the false smiles and the red tape. It is too difficult to really do anthing.

He dislikes meetings and paperwork and is in the enviable position of being able to avoid both.
[There's way more ]

WHEW!  It was good for me; how about you?

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