One thing that came up so far during the presidential debate is Donald Trump's racist track record which dates all the way back to the 1970's both in New York City and here in Norfolk, Virginia. Trump tried to blow the matter off, but the past behavior is in keeping with Trump's current raging racism and propensity to pander to white supremacists. A piece in the Virginian Pilot looks at Trump's discrimination against black Americans here in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Yes, the Trump companies settled the matter under a settlement that included regular monitoring of rental practices for a number of years. Here are highlights:
Forty-five years ago this summer, a Mrs. Jones walked into the office of the Oakdale Apartment complex near Wards Corner. The morning newspaper had carried an ad for the rental units, which were owned by Trump Management. The company president was a New York businessman, Donald Trump, according to a federal court filing.No vacancies, the apartment manager told Mrs. Jones. A unit might come available in a month. Jones and her husband could fill out an application, if they wished.
Shortly after Mrs. Jones left the office, Ellis and Klara James entered and similarly asked about renting an apartment. The manager offered them one immediately and said they could move in the following week.
The difference between the couples: The Joneses were black, and the Jameses were white.
The July 1971 incident, described in federal court papers, was one of numerous examples of “testing” by an organized group of open-housing activists. They had been battling for years against discriminatory practices in Hampton Roads that blocked blacks and Filipinos from renting or buying homes in what some viewed as whites-only neighborhoods.
The long-ago incident might have been forgotten except that it resurfaced in this year’s presidential campaign. The New York Times revisited the case in an Aug. 27 report that noted the Justice Department sued Trump Management in 1973, accusing the firm of discriminating against blacks. The now Republican presidential candidate was its president and his father, Fred Trump, its chairman.
The second Norfolk incident, according to a filing in the housing lawsuit, involved Richard Foard, a black man assigned to Norfolk Naval Station.
Foard told the FBI he had attempted in June 1973 to rent a two-bedroom unit at Ocean Air Apartments in Ocean View after learning about it from a white man, who had just rented an apartment.
Ocean Air’s rental office declined to show Foard a model apartment and told him to come back in a month or two if he wanted to fill out an application, the court document said.
The new reports about the past litigation come to light at the same time Trump has been attempting to persuade more blacks to vote for him, arguing he can do more to address issues affecting African Americans than Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
The Trumps signed a consent decree two years after the suit was filed that did not include any admission of guilt. It did include stipulations that the company file with the federal court regular reports for several properties, including the two apartment complexes in Norfolk, listing the number of people by race seeking housing.
The two Norfolk properties cited in the suit were among several in Hampton Roads owned by Fred Trump and the family firm. Trump’s real estate holdings in the region date to World War II.