Friday, May 04, 2018

What’s that? There’s a glitzy building around the corner emblazoned with the Trump name? There goes the neighborhood!

Uh oh! Trouble in Glitzville!

Since Donald Trump became president, “…Trump branded buildings in New York have lagged behind the luxury market, selling for about 6.6 percent less than the average Manhattan condominium in 2017,” reports the New York Times.

A rose by any other name 
might  actually stink —
and Trump ain’t no rose

What’s that? You mean those big, glitzy, golden, all-capital letters, spelling out the name “TRUMP”  on buildings actually decrease property values? Evidently. You might as well put the name “CRAP” or “TURDS” or some such on on a building and hope some suckers will want to live in it.

This piece of news, likely gloomy for Trumpistas everywhere, emerged in a story that ran in the New York Times on Friday about a 46-story condominium on the  Upper West Side of Manhattan, that seems about to vote to remove Trump’s name from their facade — perhaps to increase the value of their property.

In any case, the move is almost certain to decrease the level of embarrassment for occupants of the building that comes from having any connection at all with the Trump name. Little wonder, according to the Times, that fewer than a quarter of the building’s 377 condo owners want to retain the Trump name.

The folks who vote to get Trump off their property, or at least to get his name off their facade, will be willing to do so even though it’s going to cost them — and cost them plenty. The building’s board of directors has estimated that it will cost them $19,000 just to remove  the letters spelling out Trump’s name. But that’s just the beginning.

Evidently, letters hanging on a building for roughly 19 years have the same effect as a picture hanging on a wall in your living room for nineteen years. Take the picture down, and there’s a shadow of the picture where the picture used to be. So more expenses.

The Lady Macbeth Syndrome

The building will have to spend $23,000, says the Times, “to wash the facade of the building afterward.” Evidently, it takes a whole lot of scrubbing to erase the stain of the Trump name. Or as Lady Macbeth put it while compulsively washing her hands, "Out, damned spot! Out I say!"

And speaking of great names in compulsive-obsessive behavior, Trump, who sued in advance of the vote to stop the removal of his name, lost in court. But he plans to keep the suit going anyway, with an appeal. My guess is that his appeal will go, if not to the very gates of hell, at least to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Assuming there is any difference between the two.)

Sue? Sue why? Evidently, when Trump was selling condos in the building, he granted the building the right to put his name on it in perpetuity. There’s nothing I’ve seen reported in the contract that says the building has to keep his name on it. Anyway, that’s what a judge in New York said, in giving the Trump organization the back of his hand.

A huffy hissy fit

You may not be surprised to learn that the Trump organization got mighty huffy about the judge’s decision, calling it “unprecedented” and “limited to a technical issue.” Some of us New Yorkers are waiting with baited breath to learn what that technical issue might be, or what’s “unprecedented” about the notion that if it isn’t in the contract, it isn’t in the contract.

Nevertheless, the Times reports that the Trump organization plans to appeal. If you ask me, this is part of a long established legal tradition, perhaps learned by Trump from the late Roy Cohn, that even if you can’t win you can win, just by making the quest for justice so expensive for the other side that they throw up their hands and surrender. My ex-wife’s matrimonial lawyer hewed to the same strategy. Trust me on this because I know from personal experience. It works.

Or, to quote from the Times again, “…some residents are concerned about being ensnared in costly and lengthy litigation. ‘I would rather the building spend money on a long gestating renovation project than this litigation,’ said the longtime resident, who asked for anonymity because feeling are running hot in the building.

For some, the Trump 
name is cringeworthy

Meanwhile, plenty of occupants of Trump-y buildings around the hemisphere would rather fight and switch the monicker of their buildings. Condo owners of the Trump Parc in Connecticut are also considering getting the damned name off their building. And two hotels that once bore the Trump name have decided they could be more prosperous without it — the former Trump hotel and condominium in Panama City and  the former Trump International Hotel and Tower in Toronto, 

Or as one occupant over the Upper West Side Trump condo building said, “There are lots of us who cringe when people associate the building with his name.”

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