Spitzer: Don’t do business with Trump!

“If you want to lend money to him, good luck. Hire a lawyer.”

Eliot Spitzer, Donald Trump (right)
Eliot Spitzer, Donald Trump (right)

Real estate developer and former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer on Wednesday took a jab at Donald Trump’s business record. “If you want to lend money to him, good luck. Hire a lawyer,” he quipped at the America-Israel real estate conference Nadlan in the City. “I would not suggest you do business with him.”

Spitzer was referring to Donald Trump’s string of bankruptcies as a real estate developer and implied that they don’t bode well for his potential as an economic policymaker. “Donald Trump doesn’t have an answer to (economic problems) except to make us great again,” Spitzer said. “Ok, that’s nice. If you look at how many bankruptcies he’s had I don’t think it’s quite a paradigm you want to follow.”

Donald Trump last year switched from real estate development and entertainment to politics, becoming the presumptive Republican nominee for U.S. president. Spitzer, a Democrat, took the opposite direction. After years in public office and on the campaign trail, he recently assumed the helm of his family’s real estate firm, Spitzer Enterprises. But you have to wonder if he’d rather still be a politician.

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Spitzer shared the stage with JDS Development’s Michael Stern and Stonehenge Partners’ Eyal Reggev to talk about New York’s luxury market, but instead spent most of his time talking about wage stagnation and growing economic inequality in the U.S. He also appeared exasperated at Trump’s candidacy. “Democracy is not supposed to be that way,” he said. “But right now when you look around it’s discomforting for those of us who believe that democracy should be a discourse of serious ideas and serious people.”

The two developers have a bit of a history. Trump donated $21,000 to Spitzer, at the time New York’s attorney general, in 2002 and 2003. Spitzer later returned the money when it emerged that Trump had business before the AG’s office. For years, Trump described himself as a Spitzer fan. “Eliot will make an amazing governor and he will bring business to New York like it has never seen before,” Trump told The Real Deal in 2006. He was one of few New York developers to support Spitzer’s run for governor on an anti-Wall Street platform.

The relationship appears to have soured more recently. In 2011 Spitzer, then a CNN host, questioned Trump’s net worth on the air. Trump, famously sensitive about the public perception of his wealth, called Spitzer on live TV to rebut.

In July 2013, Trump tweeted: “Eliot Spitzer was a horrible Governor and A.G. who ruined many good people and cost the Country billions of dollars in losses (and jobs).”