The Trumps cut the ribbon at the D.C. hotel on the totally coincidental date of October 26 | Getty Images
Becoming pr*sident doesn’t mean Donald Trump has changed his ways: he’s still stiffing the contractors who work on his construction projects. The Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.’s Old Post Office Building is perhaps Trump’s highest-profile recent project, but the attention focused on it hasn’t made the Trump Organization pay its bills. Five contractors have sued for a total of nearly $5 million in nonpayment, including Freestate Electric, a union employer that talked to the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers about the suit:
“We’ve only filed three [mechanics’ liens] in the past decade, so, this is not usual for us,” said Tim Miller, executive vice president at Freestate’s parent company, AES Electric. “I want to make clear that this is not political. Whether it is Trump, or somebody you never heard of, we did a good job, at an agreed upon price and we want to be paid for it. We’d rather be talking about what an excellent job our employees did on a complex project than doing this.”
Freestate has paid its workers and vendors, so it is bearing the brunt of Trump’s habit of not paying his contractors. Anticipating his usual claim that he didn’t pay up because he wasn’t satisfied with the quality of the work, they noted that:
General contractor Lend Lease nominated Freestate for a Washington Building Congress Craftsmanship award for the lighting they installed, an award they won. So, Miller said, there is no question about the quality of the work they did, just whether they should be paid for it.
And while there were cost overruns, they were a direct result of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign:
The lawsuit claims that the $2 million in unpaid costs were incurred after the general contractor, Lend Lease, requested an acceleration of work so the hotel would be ready for a series of Trump presidential campaign events.
In order to meet the deadlines for the Sept. 12 soft opening, Freestate says they had crews on site seven days per week, 12 to 14 hours per day for nearly 50 consecutive days. The “soft opening” was scheduled for September 12th, and without Freestate’s additional manpower, this date would not have been met. The official Oct. 26 “Grand Opening” was scheduled, according to the lawsuit, “to provide an opportunity for positive press coverage for Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.”
Trump doesn’t live up to his own hype on almost anything, but he is truly a tremendous grifter.