Donald Trump May Face Trial Over Failed Fort Lauderdale Tower

, Daily Business Review

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Donald Trump, the lone remaining defendant in a lawsuit over a failed Fort Lauderdale beachfront tower, is asking a judge to dismiss the lawsuit.

Both sides in the five-year lawsuit have submitted motions for summary judgment to be heard in January. Plaintiffs attorney Joe Altschul of Pembroke Pines said there is enough evidence to bring the investors' allegations of misrepresentation to trial.

On April 18, Broward Circuit Judge Jeffrey Streitfeld ruled on a previous Trump motion to dismiss. Streitfeld declared Trump wasn't the developer of the stalled Trump International Hotel & Tower but let stand most causes.

Trump still faces counts of fraud in the inducement, violations of Florida's Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, negligent misrepresentation and fraudulent concealment.

Altschul said Trump is making the same arguments he made in April.

"Procedurally, this motion is at a different stage in the case. Substantively, there's no difference, and we should have the same result," he said.

Trump attorney Herman Russomanno III of Russomanno & Borrello in Miami emphasized in his motion the court's previous finding that Trump was not the project developer. Since Trump wasn't the developer, Russomanno argued, "Trump can no longer be held liable for any of these alleged misrepresentations."

Even assuming Trump falsely represented his role, Russomanno insisted there was no evidence condo contract holders were harmed by Trump because they knew through disclosures that SB Hotel Associates LLC was the developer, purchase agreements warned against relying on promotional materials, and it was common knowledge the real estate crash was the primary reason their deposits were lost.

New York developer Roy Stillman, as head of SB Hotel, directed the project. He and other defendants settled with about 100 investors who paid deposits for condo units that were never finished in the tower at 551 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd.

Trump was involved with the project as the licensor. The original intent was that the finished project would carry the Trump name and be managed by Trump's company.

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