Trump’s real estate record in Fort Lauderdale was criticized Thursday as the Hillary Clinton campaign prepares to open its first Broward County office in Miramar.
Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam said the Clinton campaign was in the process of opening offices across Florida ahead of the November election. “Leases are being signed, and field organizers are being put in place,” he said. “Specifically in Broward, we’re actually looking at a location right now in the city of Miramar.”
Messam was one of three speakers at a press conference the Clinton campaign staged Thursday afternoon outside the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach condo-hotel on Fort Lauderdale Beach. All three criticized Donald Trump’s role in the development of the property, which ended in litigation, as an example of how he would perform as president.
Another speaker, Ivette Gonzalez, a Coral Gables attorney and a Democratic candidate to represent the 103rd District of the Florida House of Representatives, said the history of the Conrad condo-hotel is contrary to Trump’s claim that his business skills are well suited to serving as president.
“His business dealings – much of what has happened, for example, in this very hotel – really represents what he touts as his best asset, as a businessman,” Gonzalez said. But “that is a big farce.”
The Conrad originally was named Trump International Hotel and Tower, but it was a Trump development in name only. The developer ran out of funding in 2009 and construction came to a standstill. Lawsuits against Trump ensued as plaintiffs tried to recover deposit money the developer had spent on construction work. Trump also sued the developer.
“We’re standing here right in front of the landmark that would have been a Trump International Hotel. He touted this project as what would be a Trump experience,” Messam said. “You have many investors that lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Trump settled many of the lawsuits arising out of the Fort Lauderdale Beach development except for two that went to trial, and the court ruled in favor of Trump in both cases earlier this year.
“It’s not a question of litigation results,” Messam said.
“When a candidate touts his business acumen, when he touts his ability to run a government as efficiently as private enterprises, he has hooked his qualifications to be leader of the free world on his past business dealings,” he said. “Secretary Clinton’s policies are the right policies for small business, for the middle class, for the immigrant community.”