Donald Trump’s alleged refusal to pay contractors for their services has generated a lot of controversy. When faced with such accusations, Trump invites his accusers to bring a lawsuit against him, knowing that many simply can’t afford such legal fees.
With that in mind, you would think Trump would be careful to ensure that his lawyers were paid well and promptly. However, that is apparently not the case. In fact, one Florida attorney, Bill Scherer, even described the New York real estate developer as a deadbeat after alleging Trump tried to stiff him on a bill worth less than $5,000.
‘He’s a deadbeat. I wouldn’t budge an inch to help him.’
Alan Garten, Trump’s general counsel, dismissed Scherer’s comments as politics.
‘It sounds like he got paid in the end. Given Mr. Scherer’s long-standing connections to the Bush family and Jeb Bush, I’m not surprised that he’s not going to support Mr. Trump’
If Scherer was the only person to bring such complaints against Trump, perhaps we could simply dismiss it as partisan politics. However, several other attorneys have alleged that Trump ripped them off.
One of the most blatant examples was the case of the Atlantic city-based law firm Levine Staller. The firm allegedly saved Trump’s organization tens of millions of dollars in taxes and then ended up suing Trump Entertainment after the company tried to pay $1.25 million less than what was agreed upon.
‘In 2012, Levine Staller won a settlement that returned $35 million in overpaid taxes and cut $15 million from the company’s future liabilities, leading to a total savings of $50 million for the corporation. Trump agreed to pay $7.25 million to the law firm in legal fees, but then only paid Levine Staller $6 million before trying to claim the rest as unsecured debt in ongoing bankruptcy proceedings. In response, Levine Staller sued its former client, Trump Entertainment, and in 2014, a judge rejected Trump Entertainment’s request to be absolved of this debt and told the company to pay up’
Another example was the case Morrison Cohen which represented Trump when he sued a construction company that was allegedly over charging him for work on one of his golf courses. After the case was over, Trump sued the law firm for using the case to promote itself. The firm then countersued for $500,000 in unpaid bills. The two parties agreed to a confidential settlement in 2009.
On the other hand, some of Trump’s attorneys have come to his defense saying he always pays his bills. Lawrence Rosen, who has represented Trump since 1993, says the GOP nominee is a great client provided you treat him fairly.
‘If you bill Donald Trump fairly and you’re transparent and you get him results, you’re not going to have a problem. He’s been a tremendous client. He just wants to be treated fairly.’
Trump manages a very large organization and any company of that size is going to attract lawsuits, but Trump seems to attract them more often than most. Ultimately, no one but the parties involved knows the full story behind these suits, but some of them call Trump’s claims of wealth into question.
Featured image via Getty Images.