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Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Lesson in Contract Drafting to Trump All Others

Trumpbuildings What is the drafting lesson to trump all others?  The usual: one size does not fit all.  

AmLaw Daily reports that Trump Corporation leases space in one of the co-op buildings it constructed in New York in the 1980's.  The co-op board of that building (Trump Plaza Owners, Inc.) is looking to evict Trump Corporation, alleging it is nearly $87,000 in arrears.  

At the helm of the effort to remove Trump from the building is the president of the co-op, Andrew Perel (his day job is as an environmental law partner at Steptoe & Johnson).  And here's where Mr. Perel provides the lesson

"The funny part of it is what one of his internal lawyers must have done years ago," Perel says. "Normally Trump is the landlord, not the tenant. So what they did is they took one of their leases and just changed the names. And so it's not a very favorable lease if you're the tenant."

* * * The co-op gave notice of default to Trump Corporation on April 10, but the company still didn't pay its rent. The lease terminated May 6, five days past the deadline required to pay the rent and avoid termination.

"If you don't pay the rent when Donald Trump is your landlord, he comes down on you like a hammer," Perel says. "Well lo and behold, he signed a lease that was his own lease and he's the tenant. And he missed April and May.

Maybe the other lesson is: what's good for the goose, is good for the gander.

[Meredith R. Miller]

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