Donald Trump’s father, Fred, was a pretty crummy guy. He was a low-income housing profiteer who used state and federal subsidies in developing his real estate empire—the one his son Donald benefits from—and abused his position.
As the man who controlled the FHA’s New York office, Powell controlled the flow of money for Beach Haven, a big apartment complex Fred Trump built with FHA loans. He allowed Trump to start building before Beach Haven was actually approved and start renting to vets and others six months before he had to start repaying his loan.
In that time Trump pocketed $1.7 million in rent payments. Trump was also allowed to pocket most of a fee—5 percent of the Beach Haven development’s cost—that was earmarked for architectural work. Trump was also permitted to borrow more in federally subsidized funds—$3.7 million, to be precise—than he actually needed.
Beach Haven was the apartment complex Woody Guthrie moved into in 1950. Unfortunately for Woody, Trump was a racist shit (apples and trees).
What Guthrie discovered all too late was Trump’s enthusiastic embrace of the FHA’s guidelines for avoiding “inharmonious uses of housing” – or as Trump biographer Gwenda Blair puts it, “a code phrase for selling homes in white areas to blacks.” As Blair points out, such “restrictive covenants” were common among FHA projects – a betrayal, if ever there was one, of the New Deal vision that had given birth to the agency.
Gawker’s Will Kaufman went through some old Woody Guthrie archives and found some pretty interesting gems on how the legendary activist singer-songwriter felt about his landlord.
Old Man Trump knows
Just how much
he stirred up
In the bloodpot of human hearts
When he drawed
That color line
Here at his
Eighteen hundred family project .…
And as if to leave no doubt over Trump’s personal culpability in perpetuating black Americans’ status as internal refugees – strangers in their own strange land – Guthrie reworked his signature Dust Bowl ballad “I Ain’t Got No Home” into a blistering broadside against his landlord:
Beach Haven ain’t my home! I just cain’t pay this rent! My money’s down the drain!
And my soul is badly bent!
Beach Haven looks like heaven
Where no black ones come to roam! No, no, no! Old Man Trump! Old Beach Haven ain’t my home!
With bad guys like this do you even need television?