Trump faces legal woes at Tampa project

Nov.November 13, 2009 04:55 PM

Billionaire real estate mogul Donald Trump is facing litigation from a group of 30 buyers who allege he misrepresented his stake in a $220 million luxury condominium project in downtown Tampa that failed after the development partners went into bankruptcy.

In a state lawsuit filed Tuesday in Hillsborough County, Fla., the buyers allege that in 2005, Trump presented himself as an active investor in the 190-unit Trump Tower Tampa, while hiding a confidential million licensing deal, in which Trump was would earn a $4 million fee, plus 50 percent of future net earnings by Tampa-based SimDag/Robel, the lead development firm.

“They were specifically targeted by Trump’s promotional [team] that Trump was building the tower,” said Daniel Clark, an attorney with Clark & Martino, one of two firms representing the buyers.

After Trump repeatedly stated that he had a stake in the project, the licensing deal was disclosed in a 2007 media report.

The buyers were told the project would be done by December 2008, however SimDag filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June 2008 after the Florida real estate market collapsed and it fell behind on millions of dollars in contractor fees and other payments. The Trump Tower site was later sold off to new owners in an auction.

Trump officials denied the allegations.

“The allegations are without merit. Mr. Trump was not the developer of the project, did not enter into contracts with any of the buyers and did not receive deposits from any of the buyers,” said Alan Garten, assistant general counsel at the Trump Organization.

“Mr. Trump licensed the use of his name to the developer, Simdag/Robel LLC, to brand the project — no different than any other luxury real estate brand. This was clearly disclosed to the buyers in both the purchase contracts they signed and the property reports they received, each of which expressly identified Simdag/Robel LLC as the project’s developer and seller of the units.”

Related Articles

Donald Trump, Vanilla Ice and Briny Breezes (Credit: Getty Images)

Trump Town? Briny Breezes wants to sell for $1B

Rendering of the project and John Catsimatidis (Credit: Arquitectonica via Tampa Bay Times)

Catsimatidis scores approval for $300M tower in St. Petersburg

Daily Digest Miami

Missoni Baia lands massive loan, Babylon Brickell owner sells Overtown property: Daily digest

Donald and Melania Trump at the entrance way of Mar-a-Lago (Credit: Getty Images)

With move to Mar-a-Lago, Trump could use Florida real estate law to protect himself from creditors

Daily Digest Miami

Miami Beach OKs hotel development on Lincoln Road, Bank OZK’s construction lending is up: Daily digest

Daily Digest Miami

Felix Cohen buys two vacant lots on North Bay Road, Controversial Walmart site in Midtown Miami sells for $26M: Daily digest

Daily Digest Miami

Pompano suspends self-storage development, energy drink founder lists two homes for $70M: Daily Digest

Donald Trump at Trump National Doral (Credit: Getty Images)

Former members of Trump Doral may have to wait decades to get their deposits back