According to the Department of Justice, Donald Trump and his father Fred allegedly excluded blacks from renting apartments owned by the Trump family.
A 1973 DOJ lawsuit accused the Trumps of violating the Fair Housing Act. One technique the Trumps allegedly used to exclude blacks was to attach a separate sheet of paper to the application that was marked with the letter “C” for “Colored.” Others reportedly included apartment superintendents informing black applicants of rental rates higher that was the case, and using “a sham lease and check to be shown to black applicants.”
A rental agent at Trump’s Tysens Park Apartments stated that Fred Trump had told him not to rent to blacks. Another rental agent working for the Trumps, Donald Herman, said he was told that although some black residents were allowed, it was not preferred. He also iterated that he knew of a secret code identifying black applicants.
The Daily Beast reported:
According to the DOJ, a former super at Trump’s Highlander complex claimed that he would also attach a coded piece of paper to let the “central office” know that an applicant was black. He added that a number of supers in Queens used a “phony lease” to enable them to refuse apartments to people of color. The super’s assistant backed up his story about the code and said she was told, “Trump Management tries not to rent to black persons.”
The DOJ listed over a half-dozen cases in which a white person would be offered an apartment after a black person had been rebuffed. The New York Urban League detailed alleged cases of similar occurrences.
Trump had his usual back-and-forth with the truth during the course of his battle with the government; in a March 1974 deposition, he was asked: “Do you ever have anything to do with rental decisions in individual cases?” He replied. “No, I really don’t.” But as the Daily Beast reported, Trump later confessed in an interview with a field investigator for the New York secretary of state that he “supervise[d] and control[led] the renting of all apartments owned by the Trump organization.” The investigator wrote, “During my interview with applicant he showed me hundreds of files. Each contained numerous leases both for commercial and residential tenants... and rental records, all of which contained applicant’s signature and handwriting.”
Trump had his usual back-and-forth with the truth during the course of his battle with the government ...
The Trumps counter-sued the federal government for $100 million, but settled in 1975 with a consent decree while admitting no guilt. Yet in 1978, the DOJ filed a motion for supplemental relief, charging that the Trump company had not followed the guidelines of the 1975 settlement. The government stated that Trump’s company “discriminated against blacks in the terms and conditions of rental, made statements indicating discrimination based on race and told blacks that apartments were not available for inspection and rental when, in fact, they are.”