Look back at Donald Trump’s ’70s-era power-brokering

Political machinations and family connections documented in vintage series

New York /
Jul.July 21, 2015 02:50 PM

Donald Trump has dominated headlines as the Republican party’s most reckless and entertaining 2016 presidential candidate. But even in 1979, the public was sufficiently interested in his persona to justify a three part series in the Village Voice, which the newspaper is republishing now.

The series documents Trump’s apparent leveraging of powerful family connections to the mayor and the governor to secure development rights to build the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

It also traces Trump’s threats to sue the reporter and his offer to put him up in a Midtown apartment. Before Wayne Barrett, the story’s original reporter, ever contacted Trump, he received a phone call saying, “Wayne, it’s Donald! I hear you’re doing a story on me!” Barrett remembers.

“This is a guy whose wealth has been created by political connections,” Barrett told the Village Voice recently, calling the idea that he is an antidote to the quid-pro-quo world of politics “ludicrous.”

In the late 1970s, Trump was also working to convince public officials to kick in taxpayer dollars for a Hyatt hotel.

“The Hyatt project drew a great deal of attention to him,” Barrett recalled. “It was really the first time that the city and state had used the kinds of tax incentives that we all now, not just in New York but around the country, regard as almost inseparable from these kinds of projects.”

Louise Sunshine, founder of Sunshine Group, which merged with Corcoran to form Corcoran Sunshine, is also featured prominently in the series, having served as a director of special projects for Trump.

Trump recently declared a net worth exceeding $10 billion, though a Wall Street Journal article today chronicled the mogul’s habit of artificially inflating his wealth. [Village Voice] — Tess Hofmann


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Make Greenland Great Again? Trump wants to buy Arctic territory
Make Greenland Great Again? Trump wants to buy Arctic territory
Make Greenland Great Again? Trump wants to buy Arctic territory
Hamptons’ priciest summer rental to host MAGA extravaganza next month
Hamptons’ priciest summer rental to host MAGA extravaganza next month
Hamptons’ priciest summer rental to host MAGA extravaganza next month
Donald Trump with the Trump National Golf Club Westchester (Trump National Westchester, Getty)
Trump Organization facing criminal probe over Westchester golf course
Trump Organization facing criminal probe over Westchester golf course
Trump nearing $370M sale of DC hotel to Miami investment firm
Trump nearing $370M sale of DC hotel to Miami investment firm
Trump nearing $370M sale of DC hotel to Miami investment firm
Trump’s DC hotel lost $70M during presidency
Trump’s DC hotel lost $70M during presidency, docs say
Trump’s DC hotel lost $70M during presidency, docs say
Homeless shelter operator backs off deal to take over Trump’s Bronx golf course
Homeless shelter operator backs out of Trump Bronx golf course deal
Homeless shelter operator backs out of Trump Bronx golf course deal
Donald Trump and the Ferry Point course (Getty, Trump Golf Links Ferry Point)
Homeless shelter operator to take over Trump’s Bronx golf course
Homeless shelter operator to take over Trump’s Bronx golf course
Trump Plaza New Rochelle at 175 Huguenot Street and Donald Trump (Getty, Anthony22/Wikimedia)
Trump Plaza New Rochelle dumps Trump Org as property manager
Trump Plaza New Rochelle dumps Trump Org as property manager
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...