87-year-old woman loses to Trump in civil case

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 23, 2013 at 8:16 pm •  Published: May 23, 2013
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CHICAGO (AP) — An 87-year-old grandmother took on billionaire Donald Trump. And on Thursday, she lost.

Jurors sided with the real estate mogul-turned-TV showman in a weeklong civil trial focused on Jacqueline Goldberg's claim that Trump cheated her in a bait-and-switch scheme connected to condos in a Chicago skyscraper he built.

The federal jury in Chicago returned with a finding in Trump's favor after deliberating for more than five hours over two days. Goldberg, of Evanston, had sought damages totaling around $6 million.

As the judge read the decision in court, Goldberg showed little emotion herself — though her attorney, Shelly Kulwin, slumped over and buried his head on a courtroom table.

Outside court, Goldberg, clutching an Agatha Christie detective novel in one hand, told reporters she has no regrets about suing Trump.

"I think I have exposed him for what he is. I had to try," she said, adding that she hoped the litigation would dissuade others from doing business with Trump.

Several hours later in a phone interview with The Associated Press, Trump heralded the verdict as "a complete and total victory."

Asked about Goldberg's comments, he bristled.

"She's not glad she took me on — because she lost," the famous executive said. And he called her comment about hoping to drive business away from him "disgraceful."

The case pitted the suburban Chicago woman against a New Yorker who revels in his image as a big talker with big ideas. Many know him best for his catchphrase "You're fired!" from his "Apprentice" TV show.

In a sarcasm-filled closing, Kulwin described Trump as villainous and greedy.

"The thought of my grandma being in the same room with that guy. Yuck!" he boomed.

The dispute centered on the glitzy Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago, one of several showcase towers Trump has named after himself in such places as New York, Las Vegas and Hawaii.

Goldberg accused Trump of wooing her into buying two condos at $1 million apiece in the mid-2000s by dangling a promise to share in building profits — then reneging after she committed to buying.

At trial, Kulwin portrayed Goldberg as a former waitress who learned her values living through the Depression.

Trump lashed out at that portrayal Thursday. He said Goldberg was a successful, sophisticated investor who signed a contract stipulating he could do what he did: cancel the profit-sharing plan anytime he saw fit.

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