The Real Deal Miami

Court rules Trump Doral must pay $35k to paint company

Trump golf resort must also pay $300k in attorney's fees related to litigation
By Francisco Alvarado | April 13, 2017 04:15PM

The Trump National Doral golf course and owner Donald Trump (Credit: Mike Licht)

A Miami-based paint company stiffed three years ago by President Donald Trump’s Doral golf resort may finally get paid.

The Third District Court of Appeals on Wednesday rejected the Trump National Doral Miami’s petition to throw out a lower court’s prior ruling affirming a nearly $35,000 construction lien The Paint Spot placed on the property, and also awarded the company $300,000 in attorney fees.

Bruce Rogow, the attorney representing the resort, told The Real Deal that the Third DCA’s decision is final and Trump National Doral Miami will have to settle its $34,863 debt with The Paint Spot. “The next step is to resolve the matter because the appellate court ruled the lien was valid,” Rogow said.

The Paint Spot’s lawyer Daniel Vega said Trump Endeavor, the holding company that owns the golf resort, unnecessarily dragged out the court case. “At all times, Trump Endeavor refused to pay,” Vega told TRD. “Fortunately, our client had the fortitude to endure the massive pressure in order to vindicate its position.”

The Paint Spot was hired to provide painting services for 10 lodges at the Doral resort by another subcontractor, M&P Reynolds, and its $200,000 contract was negotiated directly with Trump Endeavor.

According to the Third DCA ruling, Trump asserted The Paint Spot’s lien claim was invalid because it identified the wrong general contractor on the project and because the paint company failed to comply with state law by submitting an erroneous construction document known as a “notice to owner.”

In September 2014, M&P quit the resort’s renovation project over nonpayment, but The Paint Spot had already delivered $34,863 worth of paint and supplies, which were used for five of the 10 lodges. Trump didn’t pay, and The Paint Shop filed a notice of construction lien. A Miami-Dade Circuit Court judge subsequently ordered the foreclosure sale of the resort, which Trump avoided by placing $34,000 in escrow.

During the non-jury trial, the judge found that Trump Endeavor had actual knowledge of The Paint Spot’s “notice to owner,” that the company was supplying materials for the lodge project and that The Paint Spot “substantially complied with statutory requirements,” the Third DCA ruling states. “We affirm, holding that competent substantial evidence supports the trial court’s determination.”

Nicholas Siegfried, a construction litigation attorney not involved in the case, told TRD that the ruling makes it clear that developers and property owners who receive a notice when a subcontractor delivers materials must make payments, regardless of any clerical errors. “I think what [Trump Endeavor] was relying on was a technical argument to get out of the liability,” Siegfried said. “They knew they were on notice and they knew they had to pay.”