Trump: 87-year-old Chicago woman suing me is playing ‘age card’
BY KIM JANSSEN Federal Courts Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org May 15, 2013 11:12AM
Updated: June 18, 2013 7:23AM
Donald Trump launched an astonishing verbal attack on an 87-year-old Chicago woman who’s suing him in federal court, accusing her of “disgraceful” behavior and of “playing the age card.”
Trump, 66, was speaking in the lobby of the Dirksen Federal Court building Wednesday afternoon after spending a heated second day on the stand defending himself against Jackie Goldberg’s allegations that he ripped her off when he sold her two $1 million hotel condo units in the downtown Trump Tower.
His battle with Goldberg’s attorney Shelly Kulwin got so testy at one point that an exasperated Judge Amy St. Eve temporarily halted the civil jury trial to dress both men down.
Telling them they’d been “dancing around and boxing with each other for 45 minutes,” St. Eve admonished them, “This is not a boxing ring!”
“You’ve got to stop it,” she said. “Do you think the jury likes this?
“If you think the jury likes it, I can assure you they don’t — you’re wasting their time.”
A briefly contrite Trump — who isn’t often so publicly chastised — agreed to listen more carefully.
But after completing his testimony and leaving the courtroom, Trump later resumed his fiery rhetoric against Goldberg for the TV cameras.
Goldberg alleges Trump deliberately misled her when he promised her a cut of the profits from the Trump International Hotel’s two ballrooms and catering business if she bought two hotel condo units in 2006, only to snatch back control of the ballrooms once she’d signed a deal and paid a $500,000 deposit.
But Trump called his opponent “a very sophisticated investor” who simply got buyer’s remorse.
“She owes me $500,000 and she’s using the ballroom as a ruse to get her money back,” he said.
“She’s trying to rip me off, she really is.”
He added, “Nobody that I’ve ever seen has ever played the age card better than her ... She knows everything that’s going on and it’s really disgraceful.”
Kulwin later described Trump’s comments as “ludicrous.”
Goldberg “comes from a different era when people like Donald Trump didn’t exist,” he said. “She comes from an era when a deal was a deal.”
Testifying earlier Wednesday, Trump again distanced himself from key parts of the decision-making process in the construction of the iconic skyscraper.
He repeatedly said “I cannot recall” when asked about meetings at which he said his executives first suggested giving the ballroom to condo owners including Goldberg, then later advised him to grab it for himself.
Rejecting Goldberg’s allegation that he always knew he’d seize back the ballrooms, Trump said he didn’t decide to do so until an underling advised him in 2007 — a year after Goldberg paid her deposit.
“That’s why you don’t have any evidence and you don’t have a case!” he bellowed at Kulwin at one point — one of several outbursts the judge ordered jurors to disregard.
In another aside, Trump claimed that the ballroom was a money-loser that Goldberg was “lucky” she no longer owned.
And though his brochures refer to the larger of the two hotel ballrooms as the “Grand Ballroom,” Trump belittled Kulwin’s descriptions of its opulence.
“You make it sound like it’s Versailles!” Trump sniffed, referring to the French palace.
“It’s not Versailles — it’s got columns in the middle.”
Goldberg has yet to testify.