In 1999, when Fred Trump Sr. died and his will was to be executed, Mr. Trump and his brother and sister sought to gain control of Ms. Trump’s portion of the empire, according to the suit.
That October, for example, Robert Trump met Ms. Trump in the Drake Hotel in Midtown Manhattan and threatened that he and his siblings would “bankrupt” Midland, the partnership group she had a stake in, if she did not comply with their demands, the lawsuit says. The suit quotes Robert Trump as telling his niece that the move to destroy the company was designed to leave her financially liable for debts she could not afford.
Initially refusing to give in to her family, Ms. Trump and her brother, Fred Trump III, contested Fred Trump Sr.’s will in March 2000, saying it was not fair to them. But according to the lawsuit, her aunt and uncles “ratcheted up the pressure.”
At Maryanne Trump’s suggestion, the suit contends, the family cut off health insurance payments to Ms. Trump and her brother — “an act of unfathomable cruelty,” because one of Fred Trump III’s children had cerebral palsy and required round-the-clock nursing care.
Finally, as Ms. Trump’s legal fees began to mount, Mr. Trump and his siblings “exploited the opportunity” and tried to “squeeze Mary out of her interests altogether,” the suit maintains. They told her they would not settle the probate case or reinstate her health care unless she relinquished her stake in Midland and her Brooklyn real estate holdings, according to the suit.
Even then, the suit claims, they provided Ms. Trump with inaccurate financial statements and “valuations riddled with deliberate falsehoods” in an effort to drive down the amount they had to pay her.
The Trump family “not only deliberately defrauded Mary out of what was rightfully hers, they also kept her in the dark about it — until now,” the lawsuit says.