The Real-Estate Experts

Fred Trump

Fred Trump

Fred Trump, whose full name was Frederick Christ Trump Sr., was an American real estate developer and the father of Donald Trump, the 45th president of the United States. He was born and grew up in the US city of New York. After his father died, Fred Trump and his mother started a business building homes together.

He was only 15 at the time. He started out by building car garages and then moved on to building apartment buildings. During World War II, he built barracks and apartments for US Navy workers near shipyards. He also built single-family apartment complexes for people with middle incomes and people who were coming back from the military.

Fred Trump built more than 27,000 apartments in New York City and the area around it. He was called before a “Senate of the United States” committee to account for profiting from government contracts during the war.

He worked hard and wanted to get ahead in life. The “Civil Rights Division” of the “US Department of Justice” sued Fred Trump and his company for racial discrimination and for breaking the “Fair Housing Act.”

He had five children with his wife, Mary Anne MacLeod. In his later years, he was sick with Alzheimer’s disease, and he died at the age of 93.

Childhood & Early Life

Fred Trump was born in the Bronx, New York City, on October 11, 1905. Elizabeth (née Christ) and Frederick Trump were German Lutherans who moved to the United States. His father was a barber from Kallstadt, Germany, who later made a lot of money in the Klondike Gold Rush. He died when Trump was 13 from the flu.
Trump was the second of his parents’ three kids. He grew up with Elizabeth Trump Walters, his older sister, and John George Trump, his younger brother. His middle name, “Christ,” came from the last name of his mother. After Fred was born, they moved to Woodhaven, which is in Queens. His high school was Richmond Hill.
In the 1920s, he and his mother launched a building firm. 15-year-old him. E. Trump & Son is his company. His mother performed his formal tasks until he was 21. Trump began by creating vehicle garages.
He learned how to build things with wood and how to read blueprints. Two years after he graduated, he built his first home.


By 1926, Trump had already built 20 buildings in Queens. During the “Great Depression” of the 1930s, he built a grocery store in Woodhaven called “Trump Market.”

His market was successful, and its slogan was “Serve Yourself and Save!” The following year, he sold it to the grocery chain “King Kullen.”

He was one of seven persons arrested in Queens on Memorial Day 1927 for “refusing to leave a parade when requested to do so.”

There was about a thousand people at the “Ku Klux Klan” (KKK) rally.

Fred Trump

The rally was held to protest that the “Roman Catholic Police” of New York City had attacked “Native-born Protestant Americans.”

It wasn’t clear if Trump was just a bystander, if he was arrested because he was mistaken for someone else, or if he was actually taking part in the rally. Later, it was said that he was let go with no charges.

In 2015, when asked by the press, Donald Trump said that his father had never been arrested and was never a part of the “KKK.” 

During World War II, Fred Trump’s company built barracks and apartments for officers in the US Navy. These were made near shipyards in Newport News, Pennsylvania, Chester, and Norfolk, all of which are on the East Coast.

He built more than 2,000 apartments for war veterans and their families that were affordable to people with middle-class incomes. He built “Shore Haven” in 1949 in Bensonhurst and “Beach Haven” in the Coney Island area in 1950. Between 1963 and 1964, he built Trump Village in Coney Island.

This was a housing complex with more than 3,000 apartments. It was thought that this complex would cost $70 million to build. 

In 1954, a committee of the “US Senate” looked into Trump’s company and found that it had taken advantage of public contracts to make money and that it had inflated the cost of building “Beach Haven.” Trump and his business partner, William Tomasello, were charged with getting loans for $3.5 million more than the apartment was worth.

During federal investigations, it was found that Trump had overpaid his rent by $1.7 million before he started paying back his low-interest government loan. Developers of real estate often pay bureaucrats to sign off on their paperwork.

Trump had paid himself a large architect fee in addition to the extra rent. The amount he said it would cost to build was a lot more than the amount he actually spent. On paper, though, everything looked fine. He used his political connections to get into government programs like subsidized loans for people who build apartments.

Donald Trump with Fred Trump

He told the committee that looked into housing abuse in the US Senate that he had cheated on the government program. But he didn’t think there was anything wrong with what he did because he did everything within the law.

In fact, he said that the committee that was looking into the case had hurt his reputation. Other builders wouldn’t answer, but he took a public stand to defend himself. 

Trump built large apartment complexes and row houses in Brooklyn neighborhoods like Sheepshead Bay, Flatbush, Coney Island, Brighton Beach, and Bensonhurst, as well as in Queens neighborhoods like Flushing and Jamaica Estates.

He kept the property, and the apartments were rented at low prices. His buildings had brick towers that were built to last and were surrounded by neat parks. 
Donald Trump’s career with “Trump Management” began in 1968. He rebranded the company as “The Trump Organization” in 1980.

To start his real estate career in Manhattan in the mid-1970s, he took a million-dollar loan from his dad. It was said that there were a number of loans that were worth a lot more than what was said. 
People often said that Fred Trump was like the car magnate Henry Ford.

He didn’t like borrowing money and was always very cheap. People say that after a long day of work, he would go to the building sites and pick up any nails he saw lying around.

The next day, he would hand them over to the carpenters. He worked from home for a long time because he didn’t have an office. His books were in a wallet. He got a small space around 1940 to use as his office. His secretary, Amy Luerssen, worked for him for 59 years. 
His real estate company was accused of being unfair to people of color. African Americans who wanted to live in the complexes were reportedly turned away.

In 1973, a case was brought against “The Trump Organization” by the “Civil Rights Division” of the “US Department of Justice” for breaking the “Fair Housing Act” of 1968. For two years, the case went on.

On June 10, 1975, the “Department of Justice” and “The Trump Organization” signed a “consent decree” that said the organization couldn’t treat people unfairly when selling or renting out an apartment.

In 1950, Woody Guthrie was one of the people who lived in Trump’s Brooklyn apartment building. He wrote a song that made it clear that black people were not welcome to live in Trump’s apartment buildings.

In the years after World War II, Trump said he was Swedish and kept his German roots secret. Those were his best years at work. He was worried that the German lineage would hurt the business because many of his tenants were Jewish.

Personal Life

In January 1936, Trump married Mary Anne MacLeod. Their five children lived in Jamaica, Queens. Maryanne Trump Barry, a federal appeals court judge; Frederick Trump Jr. (born 1938), who later became an airline pilot; Elizabeth Trump Grau (born 1942), who later became a Chase Manhattan Bank executive; Donald Trump (born 1946), who later became the 45th president of the United States; and Robert Trump (born 1948), who later became the president of “Trump Management.” Frederick Trump Jr. died in 1981 from problems caused by his drinking. 

Trump gave money to many charities, such as Jewish and Israeli organizations; the “Salvation Army,” the “Boy Scouts of America,” and the “Kew-Forest School,” where his children went to school.

He gave buildings to groups like the Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, the National Kidney Foundation, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation, and the Community Mainstreaming Associates of Great Neck. 
Trump spent the last six years of his life with Alzheimer’s disease.

He got pneumonia in June 1999 and was taken to the “Long Island Jewish Medical Center.” He passed away on June 25, 1999, when he was 93 years old.

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