Who now is clueless enough to depend on Donald Trump to do anything other than enrich himself?
Michael Finnegan reports in the LA Times:
When Stephenee Simms heard in 2006 that Donald Trump was building condo towers in Baja, the lure of a posh weekend getaway on the rustic coast just south of Tijuana was hard to resist.
Simms, then an aerospace purchasing agent living in Canoga Park, said she used her life savings to pay a deposit of just over $50,000 for unit No. 602, a one-bedroom overlooking the Pacific.
The sales team gave her a book, bound in blue suede, describing a resort where residents “relax by the infinity-edge pool, margarita in hand, as the cabana boy brings fresh
It featured Trump, shown smiling in a French gold-leaf chair, telling readers that no words or pictures “can possibly describe what is about to take shape here, but it is certainly going to be the most spectacular place in all of Mexico.”
In the end, nothing at all was built at Trump Ocean Resort, and Simms lost her money. As did about 250 other buyers, most of them from Southern California.
All told, two years of aggressive marketing yielded $32.5 million in buyer deposits, every bit of it spent by the time Trump and his partners abandoned the project in early 2009 as the global economy was reeling. Most of the buyers sued them for fraud.
The Trump Baja fiasco fits a pattern in the Republican presidential candidate’s business record. Over decades of building a business empire in real estate, casino gaming, golf resorts, reality television and the sale of clothing and other merchandise, Trump has left a long trail of angry customers and vendors who accused him in court of cheating them.
Condo buyers at troubled Trump towers in Tampa and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., claimed in lawsuits that they too were misled and lost deposits. Students at the defunct Trump University say in fraud suits that they wasted money on worthless real-estate training. Trump’s string of business bankruptcies has stuck suppliers with unpaid bills and banks with uncollectible debts.
Trump has denied wrongdoing in every case, and he argues in the campaign that his success as a businessman qualifies him to run the country.
Most of the Trump Baja condo buyers accused Trump and two of his adult children, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., of duping them into believing that Trump was one of the developers, giving them confidence that it was safe to buy unbuilt property in Mexico.
“We were conned out of $140,000 in cash,” said buyer Sandra Sapol, 46, of Carlsbad. “That was hard-earned money, down the drain.” . . .