Speed Reads

Blast from the past

The FBI has released a huge file on Trump properties' alleged discrimination in the 1970s

The FBI on Wednesday released 389 pages from the bureau's 1970s investigation into alleged racial discrimination in residential properties owned by Trump Management Company, which was run by President Trump's late father, real estate developer Fred Trump. The president was in his late 20s when the probe took place and was serving as president of the company of which his father was the chairman.

The file released this week includes redacted interviews with dozens of Trump employees and tenants, as well as notes from law enforcement involved in the case. Many interviewees report never observing racial bias in the organization's rental practices, though at least one former Trump employee said otherwise.

"I asked Fred Trump what his policy was regarding minorities and he said it was absolutely against the law to discriminate," he said, but later "Fred Trump told me not to rent to blacks" and to offer move-out bonuses to current black renters. He also described being directed to reject a financially-qualified black couple solely because of race, as well as a "code on the top of the front page of the [Trump rental] application to distinguish blacks from whites."

In 1973, the Justice Department brought suit against the Trump company for violating the Fair Housing Act of 1968. The Trumps counter-sued, arguing that they only avoided renting to welfare recipients of any race. In 1975, the government and the Trumps reached a settlement in which the Trumps admitted no wrongdoing but were explicitly prohibited from "discriminating against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling" and required to run ads welcoming minorities to their properties.