Trump Has Been Sued Repeatedly For Disabilities Violations At His Properties

by April Hamlin –

trump-international-hotel-and-tower-new-york

Throughout the past 19 years, Donald Trump has been sued no less than eight times for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act at his various properties, and has done his best to drag out these cases for as long as possible. In addition, a federal inspection at one of his properties also turned up multiple ADA violations.

Five of the cases ended in a settlement and two others were resolved in consent decrees that required Trump to make modifications to the properties to bring them into compliance with the ADA. One ended when both sides requested the case be dismissed and another was brought to a close in a bankruptcy.

Christine Da Silva, a Trump Hotels spokeswoman, claims that Trump works very hard and spends lots of money to make sure his buildings are accessible to people with disabilities.

“It is the policy at all of our properties to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This handful of cases, many of which are over ten years old, are not representative of our organization’s strong record of ADA compliance.”

However, that “handful of cases” is pretty damning and doesn’t support Trump’s claims.

In a suit filed in 1997, James Conlon, who is paraplegic, filed a lawsuit against Trump’s Atlantic City Plaza Hotel alleging basic and serious deficiencies in accessibility. He stayed at the hotel and although he was placed in a room that was supposedly accessible, the toilets and showers were not usable by someone in a wheelchair. As for the public restrooms, they were so inaccessible he had to ask for help from strangers to be able to use them at all. A year later, Trump settled the case and agreed to renovate the accessible guest rooms and public restrooms, bringing them into compliance with the ADA. But a year later, Trump admitted to a judge that the renovations had yet to be completed.

In 2001, a suit was brought by Robert Levine and Frieda Zames, who are both wheelchair users. They alleged that Trump International kept the wheelchair lift locked and when employees finally managed to locate the key, they had no idea how to use it. Levine said the degrading incident made him feel like a “second-class citizen.” Zames said it was as if  she were a “grade school child asking permission to go to the restroom.” In an attempt to shift the responsibility, Trump blamed the architects. The case was “amicably settled” in 2009 after both sides decided to dismiss the case.

In 2003, Conlon filed suit against Trump once again, this time alleging the bus between New York and the Atlantic City, New Jersey, casino was only accessible to wheelchair users if notice was given at least a week in advance. Naturally, Trump sued the bus company and said it was all their fault, but he eventually settled the case.

In 2004,  a disabled Purple Heart veteran filed suit against the Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York, alleging the property was not equipped with adequately accessible emergency exits, guest rooms and restrooms. Trump did everything he could to get rid of the suit, besides just making his hotel accessible to people with disabilities, that is. He attempted to have the case dismissed and dragged it out for three years. Just like in 2004, Trump blamed the architects and even launched a countersuit, which a judge called bullsh*t on and dismissed.

Helena Berger, the president and CEO of the nonprofit American Association of People with Disabilities, said Trump’s relentless attempts to squirm his way out of the suit were “appalling.”

“What was so striking and frankly appalling was the way he tried to fight [the violations].,” Berger said. “That, I think, is really telling.”

The Plaza Hotel became the subject of another complaint in 2007, which the plaintiffs eventually agreed to dismiss. Yet another lawsuit was brought against the hotel in 2008 but came to an end when Trump’s company declared bankruptcy in 2009.

In 2011, the Trump Taj Mahal settled with the Department of Justice after an inspection by the U.S. Attorney’s Office turned up a long list of ADA violations. And more recently, in 2014, Trump claimed that making the pool at the Trump National Doral Miami golf course would “impose an undue burden.” Four months after the suit was filed, Trump and the plaintiffs entered into a consent decree.

 

Reprinted with permission from Addicting Info