Donald Trump started his career in the public eye in 1973 when the Justice Department sued the Trump Organisation for violations of the Fair Housing Act in the operation of nearly 40 buildings.
In 1973, aged 27 Donald Trump was president of Trump Management, which operated these buildings in New York City. Trump according to many accounts, including his own was a very hands-on president of the realty company and was heavily involved in managing daily business operations.
On 15th October 1973 the federal government filed a complaint against Donald Trump, Fred Trump and Trump Management. “The defendants, through the actions of their agents and employees, have discriminated against persons because of race in the operation of their apartment buildings,” the complaint reads.
Further details of this discrimination from Civil Action No. 73C 1529 are:
(a) Refusing to rent dwellings and negotiate for the rental of dwellings with persons because of race and color, in violation of Section 804(a) of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. 3604(a).
(b) Requiring different terms and conditions with respect to the rental of dwellings because of race and color, in violation of Section 804(b) of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. 3604(b).
1 (c) Making and causing to be made statements with respect to the rental of dwellings which indicate a preference, limitation and discrimination based on race and color in violation of Section 804(c) of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. 3604(c).
1 (d) Representing to persons because of race and color that dwellings are not available for inspection and rental when such dwellings are in fact so available, in violation of Section 804(d) of the Fair Housing Act of 1968, 42 U.S.C. 3604(d).
Trump vehemently denied the claims, which he called “absolutely ridiculous,” according to a 1973 New York Times article. Trump and his company filed a countersuit the following December, claiming the government made baseless charges and asking for $100 million in damages. The court dismissed the countersuit.
The lawsuit—which Trump Management settled in 1975 with a consent decree, and which they noted at the time did not constitute an admission of wrongdoing—detailed numerous instances of a racial code that Trump-owned buildings allegedly used to indicate if an applicant was black or otherwise “undesirable.”
A superintendent who worked for the Trumps, Thomas Miranda allegedly told Elyse S. Goldweber, examining attorney with the New York City Department of Investigation that Trump Management staffers had instructed him to “attach a separate sheet of paper to all applicants received from prospective black apartment seekers and that he was to write a big “C” on such attachment so as to indicate to Trump Management, Inc. that the application being considered was from a “colored” person.”
Civil Action 73C 1529 Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse – 73C 1529