Trump, from Henry Gifford

November 12, 2008 |

 Right now we can all maybe take a lesson from Donald Trump's father Fred. During the depression, his father (who was a builder) told his subcontractors they can work for x dollars to build a building. They did the math and said, "we can barely survive on those prices - we won't make any profit at all!" He said "yes, that's true, but when the slowdown is over, you'll be the owner of a construction company". As Fred was well known as a man of his word, who paid his bills on time, you can figure out the rest of the story.

In the 1980s, when the NYC government had been trying for years to build a skating rink in Central Park, and failed again, and responded by appointing a comission to study the matter, Donald Trump told the newspapers he would build it for what they had budgeted, and have it ready by the winter, and pay any cost overruns out of pocket. In other words, he was sparring with the mayor on the front page of the tabloids in a city where his business depended on "favors" from the government (permits, etc.).

The mayor could hardly say no, so Trump told Anthony Gildeman, a recently hired employee who had been comissioner of housing in NYC (never mind), to go find out who is the best skating rink contractor around and "fly him in here." They listened to the guy (from Canada) explain what the city was doing wrong, and to his idea about how to get it done well and quickly. Trump almost gave Gildeman a heart attack by saying "Hire the guy," this without a year of requests for proposals, inquiries about contracts going to people who have donated to the right funds, etc.

The rink was done right, on time and I think under budget. The only glitch was the parks department planting a tree on opening day, which involved driving a large truck on a grassy hill after a few days of rain….

I think the story is mostly or all true the way I heard it, and if people are taken in by his image, and will pay extra for a condo with his name on it, or pay $3,000 for a handbag, I just love the USA.


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