My first lawsuit ever was against DONALD J. TRUMP, TRUMP PLAZA – 1987
Before I get to the lawsuit let me explain how all this happened.
In the spring of 1984 I suddenly quit college, in the middle of the semester. I was attending Claflin College in Orangeburg, S.C. living off campus renting a room in house and something terrible happened in that house one night. I was a witness but I was scared Id be implicated. I was so terrified at going to prison in South Carolina I fled the next day. Wow that's the first time I ever told anyone about that – (you can read that story here).
I didn't tell my parents exactly why I left; they already knew I didn't like South Carolina or the school I was at so I left it at that. My mom & dad were extremely mad but I promised them Id go back to school the next fall. I wanted to go to Glassboro State or Rutgers. (In 1985 I was accepted and actually registered at Glassboro, went to a few weeks of classes before withdrawing)
Within a week of quitting college I had a job at the Claridge Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, it was a menial job as kitchen help. But it was a job; I couldn't quit school and just stay home. Neither of my middle class parents would have allowed that. I had to do something. I worked at the Claridge for a few weeks later I got a Job at the Sands Hotel and Casino as a busboy in Room Service. Eventually I moved up to waiter. I made several hundred dollars a week in tips. It was a decent summer job and I have plenty of adventures meeting patrons, and partying at the Sands. I met Eddie Murphy just as he was getting famous I was in the room with them when he and Charlie got into a psychical fight – security was called and all.
Meeting Mrs. Trump was the pinnacle.
In late 1984 The Sands opened the SANDS CLUB, on the top 5 floors of the Hotel. The place was amazing; there were super suites, different themes in each with amazing views, the best furniture, food and personalized entertainment in each. A few celebrities and Hotel entertainers stayed in these rooms. I met Bill Crosby here, Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy, Suzette Charles and others I cant remember. The Mega Rich were comped these rooms they didn't pay for them. A few poor suckers who hit it real big on the casino floor where afforded these accommodations in the Sands Club as well as a way for the casino to help them stay in the SANDS too lose it back.
In early 1985 The TRUMPS, Donald and Ivana practically lived there while The TRUMP PLAZA was being finished. They flew in and out of Atlantic City on a Helicopter. Donald was a star; at that time he was the owner of the Jersey Generals of the USFL and was making plenty of news as the coming of THE DONALD the savior and developer messiah to Atlantic City. Everyday I waited on or cleaned up their rooms'; served them food, or removed their dirty dishes. Donald rarely spoke to the staff and wasn't there as much as Ivana who spoke a lot and stayed there for days at time and returned every week.
Mrs Trump was very pretty, very friendly and tipped very very well, she engaged in small talk like she cared. One day I read in the Atlantic City magazine that inside the new TRUMP PLAZA would be a 5 star restaurant named after Mrs Trump – IVANAS. It talked about the extravagant décor, the fine china, paintings, mirrors and food that would be served there. What really caught my attention was in the article it spoke of how she had raided the staff of the WINDOWS of the WORLD. The restaurant on top of the world trade center that some regarded as the best restaurant in the world. Paul Edgger was hired as the Maître'd, and he brought with him Sheridan Doling, Edward Vandaleer, Chris Clon a few other professional waiters. The staff was all male except Sheridan's girlfriend "Kathy something".
Like I said Mrs. Trump was talkative for a super rich patron, she knew my name and even created a nickname for me (I'm not repeating it here), that was kind of embarrassing but cute and acceptable I guess considering she constantly gave me 15% tips on all her bills which routinely was in the thousands. One day a few days after TRUMP PLAZA opened I took a chance and asked Mrs. Trump for a job in her Restaurant. To my surprise she gave me Paul Edgger's number and told me to call him and tell him Mrs. Trump said she'd like me to have a job in her restaurant.
Like that I was hired into the best restaurant in Atlantic City at its heyday. I was one of three blackmen on the staff – a older black guy from Barbados named Genville who spoke with a English accept and was a professional waiter/butler and Kenny Davis a Ocean city kid my exact age. Everyone else was professional waiters food staff – except Kenny, and me - we learned on the spot.
It was the beginning of a two-year wonderful adventure and was such a good job at the time I didn't return to college. I was making more money than most grown men I knew – I was 19. Some days it was as little as $200 but plenty of $500-$1000 days occurred too, all in tips – cash or casino chips. I constantly got invited to go on the town with patrons and made plenty of money just helping them get what they wanted. It was a experience of a lifetime.
Ivana treated her room staff great, we got unexpected "comped tips", we were given perks and job leeway other employees begged for. We had the classiest outfits in the city. Restaurant workers all over the city were jealous of us, we were treated with respect by workers in other parts of the casino and even in other casinos. I was proud of my job and my boss – Donald J Trump.
Mr. Trump was brash, loud and a king like figure and everyone came to see him – he was a host of hosts. He was the center of attraction not only in the room, but in the City, he was on the news a lot them because he was embroiled in the USFL fight against the NFL, in a monopoly suit.. I watched and eavesdropped on his dinner meetings from well know businessmen like Lee Iacocca, The Hovnanian Brothers to local mobsters. As a kid from Sicklerville NJ, I was always impressed with the celebrities who regularly came thru. Some were famous, but I didn't know who they were others I wanted to gawk over. But just watching THE DONALD made me feel like I was somehow important just to be in his presence. I absolutely admired the guy, I didn't think he was racist – I did know he was super rich and had quirky rich privilege like things about him. He did talk differently to white people than he did the black celebrities he hosted. I witnessed it. Was he a racist, at that time I wouldn't have said so – even know I question if he's a racist or a elitists classist.
I'll never forget the day Boxing Guru Custa'mato and his boy wonder 18 year old Mike Tyson coming in and being wined and dined by THE DONALD one day and the next it day it HERSHEL WALKER. The list goes on and on, on sports figures like, Andrew Tony, Sugar Ray Leonard, Minnesota Fats. I met Frank Sinatra and shook the hand of Sammy Davis Jr.'s as well as almost getting fired because of Bill Crosby. (Trentonian Column – Bill Crosby).
Leonia Helmsley was a famously evil woman to commoners, but she loved me – Lizza Minnelli was a regular that got the special sauce on her food from the staff, I deny participating in this. Phillies announcer Harry Kalas and his wife loved me always asked to sit in my section and tipped well. And then there were those patrons who use to look at me as the young black kid and would ask me to do things and find them things they wouldn't ask anyone else for – I made thousands. Me and a friend of mine Willie were hanging out with Andrew Tony of the 76er's when he missed a game with the Boston Celtics and became national news. Memories galore.
In 1985 I got my childhood friend Pamela pregnant and I had a child – Chanel 11/25/1985. I tired to do the right thing. I was working at Trump Plaza having fun. Now I was a dad, so I joined the USMC in Jan of 1986. The staff at the Plaza gave me a big send off. I was sad to be leaving but I really wanted to travel in my dad's footsteps and be a marine and have a family.
That didn't last long; I had a asthma attack 2 months into basic training and was back home by April. I went to Atlantic City and asked Mr. Edgger for my job back explaining how I WENT IN THE MILITARY and had given the job notice that I was going in the military. Per the Military Leave Act I was entitled to a job back at the casino but not necessarily at Ivana's. I wanted my old job back at IVANAs and he gave it to me – I was incredibly grateful.
I decided to take classes at Atlantic County College, casino classes and dealer class still thinking about my future. I was different when I came back. I moved to Camden with Pam and got up early in the mornings and went to Atlantic City to school, then to Work at 3 to 11 at Ivana's. I was taking life so serious; I was planning a wedding and all. After cleaning up id be out by 12:30. I could be in Camden by 1:30, sleep by 2 and get up and start it all over again by 7:30 a couple days a week. I was young.
In July of 1986 my troubles began.......I didn't know it. A union fight over our all male staff started.
In August Pam told me she was pregnant with number two.... I was happy.
For the entire time we were open at that point no-one quit or was fired it was a great job. In July someone got fired "TONY" for drugs I believe. One of my co-workers a young lady "Melissa" worked in the back, kitchen area as a chef helper or something and had asked for a transfer to replace "TONY", Mr Edggers didn't hire her and instead transferred a person from the steakhouse to replace "TONY". Melissa filed a grievance with the union – Local 54 and won. She got the job and the other worker was transferred back to the steakhouse.
But some "NOT ME" didn't like her as woman in the work place. I thought she was a butch like chick but I had no problems with her at all as a person. I had been working there at that point for two years and was good at my job. I did most of my prep work days in advance. I pre-rolled hundreds of napkins, I secured dozens of table clothes, I shined dozens of plates and silverware well in advance and stashed them because I didn't have time before opening I was in school. I usually arrived just before we opened but as long as my prep work was all done no one could say anything. Same with closing issues. I did my closing chores as I worked so as when we closed I had very little to do and would leave asap.
Melissa was horrible and slow. Twice in one week she bullshited around while working with me and made me stay a couple hours late helping her do work that she should have done as we were working. She complained that her co-workers were abandoning her and not helping her because she was a woman. That wasn't my issue at all, my issue was I had a family at home, and classes in the morning and needed to leave asap. One day in late august as soon as I was done with my work I left.
The next day when I came to work all hell had broken out – I was fired. I accused of not helping her because she was a woman!! I actually cried when Edgger fired me, I thought I was family. I'd been there since dam near day one, they knew I had a family and another one on the way and just felt like I got the short end of the union battle that was going on trying to get women in this gourmet restaurant. I wasn't even opposed to that, I was happy they had me and Kenny as the toking blacks. I tried repeatedly to contact Mrs. Trump to no avail and never knew if she knew or noticed that I was fired.
Pamela acted like since I didn't have a job, she didn't want to have the baby and aborted the baby. I couldn't stop her – it was probably one of the most horrible things I ever had to deal with. It forever ruined our relationship; I always regarded her as a baby killer. And I blamed my unfair firing by Trump Plaza for it.
I filed a reverse discrimination complaint with the union, but the union wouldn't help me. They had agreed to have me fired misconstruing that I was being discriminatory toward Melissa, which absolutely wasn't true – she was just horrible and slow at her job. I lost my job because of it. So I then went to the EEOC – Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – I had some success there but ultimately I lost on a technicality in the law. So I went to the US District Court in Camden and filed a discrimination suit against Donald J Trump / Trump Plaza.
I was inundated with law papers and couldn't find a lawyer willing to help me. I eventually was legally bullied by Trumps NYC lawyers. By this time I changed my name to Edward and joined the Army. But I never forget getting a nasty letter from Trumps lawyers while I was in the Army threatening to file a compliant against me; and asking for legal damages from me. The case was dismissed – even thou I was in the army I could have resurrected it later because I was in the Army – I never did.
What fuck I just went on in life, but I always followed the TRUMPS in the news, never did I image he'd be running for President one day.
PS - THE ABORTION ISSUE IS NOT JUST A WOMAN'S ISSUE. THAT CHILD WAS MINE TOO. I WAS ABSOLUTEDLY EFFECTED BY THAT DECISION. -- IM NOT PUTTING HER BUSINESS OUT THERE - IT WAS MY BUSINESS TOO.