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A look at two Floridians who claim they were ‘stiffed’ by Donald Trump

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Whatever one wants to say about Monday night’s presidential debate, nobody can dispute that Hillary Clinton wasn’t prepared to go on the attack against Donald Trump. And that included referring to people who she claimed said Trump didn’t fully compensate them for the work they did for him.

“Your campaign manager said that you built a lot of businesses on the backs of other people. I have met a lot of the people who are stiffed by your business,” Clinton interjected at one point of the 90-minute encounter from Hofstra University. “I’ve met gardeners, dishwashers, architects, glass installers, drapery installers like my dad was, who you refused to pay when they finished the work you asked them to do. We have one of the architects in the audience who designed one of the clubhouses of your golf course. It’s a beautiful facility. It was immediately put to use, and you wouldn’t pay what you said you would pay him.”

Earlier this summer, USA Today produced an analysis of worker payments and found Trump, “has been involved in more than 3,500 lawsuits over the past three decades — and a large number of those involve ordinary Americans … who say Trump or his companies have refused to pay them.”

Among those who claimed Trump denied them full payment included Juan Carlos Enriquez, owner of The Paint Spot in South Florida. He’s been waiting more than two years to get paid for his work at the Trump National Doral golf resort in Miami.

In July, Circuit Judge Jorge Cueto ordered the golf course to pay $282,950 in attorney’s fees to Enriquez for filing his lawsuit over the unpaid bill. The store had claimed in a lawsuit that the resort failed to make the final payment of $34,863 on a $200,000 contract for paint used in a renovation two years ago.

Another Floridian name-checked by Clinton was Nicolas Jacobsen, a Latvian immigrant and small business owner who was stunned to discover that Trump was refusing to pay him in full for three chandeliers for his Mar-A-Lago resort ahead of his wedding to Melania Trump.

The case goes back to 2004, when Trump was making improvements to his private Palm Beach resort in anticipation of his Jan. 22, 2005 wedding. Those improvements included the purchase of three crystal chandeliers from Jacobsen’s West Palm Beach business, Classic Chandeliers, which specialized in expensive replicas of chandeliers that hung in Versailles or Napoleon Bonaparte‘s palace.

According to Mother Jones, Jacobson offered to sell Trump the chandeliers for $34,000, less than half of the appraised price. Ultimately, Trump paid nearly $17,000 as a deposit. Jacobsen then said he gave Trump invoices for the other $17,000 but was blown off by the New York City real estate mogul.

“This guy did a terrible, terrible job,” Trump later told the Palm Beach Post. “He was late with the chandeliers. He didn’t have the proper equipment to install them. … I’m not going to pay him what I owe him. That’s it. I’m not paying.”

In 2005 Jacobsen had said of Trump, “He is 58. When is he going to grow up? I will collect, one way or another.”

He did collect, but only just a third of what he was owed after getting an attorney and countersuing. The shop later closed, and Jacobsen died in 2015.

 

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

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