Trump-branded condo struggles to lose convicted president’s name

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An effort to elect new leadership to replace the Trump-friendly condo board at Manhattan’s Trump World Tower failed last week.

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Shareholders at a Manhattan condominium managed by the Trump Organization and bearing its brand name are hitting a wall in their efforts to remove the “Trump” branding from the building, even following the former president’s criminal conviction, according to a report in The Real Deal.

An effort to elect new leadership to replace the Trump-friendly condo board at the Trump World Tower at 845 United Nations Plaza failed last week, The Real Deal reported, leaving unit owners with no path forward for removing Trump branding from the tower, which owners say hurts their property values even as they pay the Trump Organization licensing fees for it.

Removing the Trump branding from the luxury tower has proven a near impossible task, the report details, as the organization does a good job managing the building and most of the unit owners are foreign governments or investors who live outside of the city.

Also complicating efforts is the fact that many are simply afraid of going up against the famously litigious Trump Organization.

“Each person’s bottom line is fear of retaliation,” said a unit owner quoted by The Real Deal. 

Some unit owners went as far as skipping last week’s board meeting entirely to prevent there from being enough votes to re-elect the Trump-friendly board.

“I didn’t really want the meeting to reach a quorum,” one meeting owner told the publication.

Unhappy owners have pointed to falling property values as proof of the need to do away with the tower’s Trump branding. Condo sale prices have fallen 24 percent since Trump was elected in 2016 to $1,790 per square foot, while Manhattan resales dipped just 2 percent in the same time period, according to Marketproof data cited by The Real Deal. 

The tower’s declines have outpaced its local neighborhood as well, with Trump World Tower resale values declining at nearly twice the pace of the Turtle Bay neighborhood since 2016, according to Marketproof.

Other Trump-branded properties that leased the branding and were not owned by the Trump Organization have found success in removing the Trump name from their buildings, such as the former “Trump Place” towers on Manhattan’s West Side, which removed the names following a legal battle.

Residents of 845 United Nations Plaza, however, have accused their condo board of having a Trump-friendly bias, as evidenced by a perceived sweetheart deal they gave the Trump Organization for a commercial space in the building. The board’s current treasurer is Robert Pollack, an attorney whose firm does tax work for the Trump Organization, according to The Real Deal.

During his testimony before Congress in 2019, President Trump’s onetime-lawyer Michael Cohen recalled being instructed by Trump to set the board at the condo up to be pro-Trump.

“The reason Don came to me is because I had an apartment [at Trump World Tower] for investment,” Cohen testified. “We ultimately turned over the board … at the end of the day Trump appreciated that.”

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