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May 13, 2009 6:47 PM

Trump Misses Rent Payments, Co-Op Board (and Steptoe Partner) Sue

Posted by Nate Raymond

It's Trump versus Trump in a move on the Upper East Side of Manhattan to evict The Donald's company from a property he built 25 years ago.

The cooperative board for Trump Plaza, in a lawsuit dated Wednesday (download the complaint here), is seeking to kick Donald Trump's Trump Corporation out of two nearby townhouses and the retail space on the ground floor of the 39-story building after the company stopped paying its rent. Trump built the high-rise in 1984 but today rents space from the cooperative corporation.

Leading the charge to remove Trump from the properties is Andrew Perel, the president of the co-op, Trump Plaza Owners, Inc. When he's not suing Donald Trump, Perel works as an environmental law partner at Steptoe & Johnson.

"The funny part of it is what one of his internal lawyers must have done years ago," Perel says. "Normally Trump is the landlord, not the tenant. So what they did is they took one of their leases and just changed the names. And so it's not a very favorable lease if you're the tenant."

In Trump's case, the lawsuit says his company missed rent payments totaling nearly $87,000 in April and May. The co-op gave notice of default to Trump Corporation on April 10, but the company still didn't pay its rent. The lease terminated May 6, five days past the deadline required to pay the rent and avoid termination.

"If you don't pay the rent when Donald Trump is your landlord, he comes down on you like a hammer," Perel says. "Well lo and behold, he signed a lease that was his own lease and he's the tenant. And he missed April and May."

Trump Plaza Owners, Inc., is represented by Kenneth Citron of Snow Becker Krauss in Manhattan. He was unavailable to comment. A spokeswoman for The Trump Corporation had no immediate comment when contacted Wednesday.

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I guess Donnie must be feeling the tough times too.

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