On Thursday morning, investors in the Trump International Hotel and Tower in downtown Toronto got the go-ahead from the Canadian Supreme Court to sue Trump and his real estate developer partners for misleading them about the returns they would get from their property investment. Two investors brought a case saying that they were sold units in the development under false pretenses and were misled about the potential profits. Promised returns of 7% to 20%, they instead wound up with losses of $1.2 million after the business at the hotel failed to live up to expectations.
Last October, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in favor of the investors, ordering that the sale of the unit must be rescinded for one plaintiff and damages must be paid to the other for “negligent misrepresentation.”
Trump and his partners appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, who rejected the appeal and let the lower court ruling stand. The ruling opens the door for up to two dozen additional investors in the property to sue for restitution as well. Trump doesn’t actually own the hotel, but licenses his name to it and has one of his own companies operating it.
According to one of the plaintiff’s lawyers,
“They’re not high rollers, high finance people. They’re plain ordinary people who generally read about this (Trump hotel) on the Internet or saw advertisements and were told they would get a very decent return,”
“When I would ask them: ‘Why did you invest in this?’ The answer, in their not very good English, was ‘Donald Trump, The Apprentice.’ They had a lot of faith in Mr. Trump’s ability to build first-class hotels and to make money for people.”
While it’s amazing that people still have faith in this life-long con-man, it’s promising that the world is starting to catch on.
Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.