An 87-year-old woman who alleges Donald Trump cheated her in a skyscraper-condo sale told jurors Monday she had qualms about suing the real estate mogul and TV celebrity. But, she quickly added, “Somebody had to stand up to him.”
Jacqueline Goldberg’s comment came during her second and final day on the stand at a civil trial examining her claim that Trump perpetrated a bait-and-switch as she bought properties at the glitzy Trump International Hotel & Tower in downtown Chicago.
The case pits the grandmotherly Goldberg against a New Yorker who revels in his image as a big talker with big ideas. Trump fosters his no-nonsense persona in the catch phrase he uses to boot contestants off his “Apprentice” TV show — “You’re fired!”
A defiant, often agitated Trump testified for two days last week and took verbal swipes at Goldberg in comments to reporters outside the courtroom in Chicago. He asserted that he, not Goldberg, is the victim, saying, “She’s trying to rip me off.”
On the stand Monday, Goldberg said Trump wooed her into buying two condos for about $1 million apiece in the mid-2000s by dangling a promise to share profits in the 92-story building — only to snatch that offer away after she committed to buy.
“I felt like I have been conned,” she told jurors.
When she learned in 2008 that the profit-sharing was no longer part of the overall deal she thought she had bought into, Goldberg said she was dismayed.
“I didn’t want to be in business with someone who would cheat me,” she said. “How could I know he wouldn’t do it again?”
Goldberg is seeking the return of a $500,000 deposit and other damages, including profit she says she would have reaped had Trump stuck to his offer.
During her first day on the stand Friday, Goldberg told jurors it was Trump’s star power and perceived business acumen that initially drew her toward investing with him. But it was the profit-sharing proposal that, for her, sealed the deal, she said.
In his testimony, though, Trump balked at the idea Goldberg didn’t know what she had gotten into. He told jurors a provision in a purchasing contract she signed gave Trump the right to cancel the profit-sharing offer and that she bought the condos anyway.
“And then she sued me,” he boomed, raising his arms. “It’s unbelievable!”
Testimony at the week-old trial was expected to wrap up Tuesday, after which lawyers would deliver their closings before jurors began deliberations.