Headline of the day II: More Trumplandia troubles

From the Guardian:

Trump’s name to be removed from New York buildings to appeal to renters

  • Owner of Upper West Side ‘Trump Place’ buildings, developed by the businessman, aims for ‘more neutral building identity’
  • Donald Trump’s name will be permanently removed from a series of New York City buildings on Wednesday, in an apparent repudiation of his divisive presidential campaign
  • The name “Trump” has been displayed prominently on 140, 160 and 180 Trump Place, in Manhattan’s Upper West Side, for more than a decade. Trump developed the apartment buildings in the 1990s
  • But Equity Residential, which owns the building, told the Guardian that the Trump signage would be removed – and the actual street names changed – because it would make the apartments more appealing to renters

Equity Residential is a company we know well, having written extensively about the firm and its boss, Sam Zell, during our years at the Berkeley Daily Planet. and the subject of numerous of our reports.

Zell, who styles himself the Gravedancer for his ruthless business style, is the embodiment of the predatory capitalist type, buying up troubled companies, conducting mass layoffs, and looting their assets.

Our interest in Zell was sparked by two things: His buyout of Berkeley’s largest bloc of privately owned apartments and his brief ownership of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and the other newspapers owned by the Tribune Co.

His purchase, bankrolled by looting the company’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan [a pension plan bankrolled by company stock shares]. ended in bankruptcy and massive layoffs of some of California’s best journalists.

Here’s a classic Zell clip, show during a meeting with the staff of the Tribune Co.’s Orlando Sentinel, when he was explaining his plans for the paper in 2008. Notably, when a reporter questions his plans to cut back public service journalism, Zell responds with a “Fuck you.”


Zell also bankrolled $100,000 of anti-Obama ads in the 2012 election, monies raised, in part, from the exorbitant rents paid by University of California students for his apartments near a campus which no longer builds affordable student housing.

Zell is a flamboyant character in many ways similar to Donald Trump. But that said, he was notably silent during this year’s presidential campaign, and his remarks about Trump during a Bloomberg interview last December — in which he reveals he turned down a Trump offer to become his partner — are interesting:

Billionaire Sam Zell: Donald Trump Asked Me to Be His Business Partner, and I Said No

Program notes:

Equity Group Investments Founder Sam Zell discusses his politics and outlook for the 2016 Presidential election.


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