USA Today: Trump’s Involvement in 3,500 Legal Actions in 30 Years, ‘Unprecedented’

epublican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures during a rally at the San Jose Convention Center in San Jose, California on June 2, 2016.
Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Over the past 30 years, presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump and several of his businesses have been involved in an estimated 3,500 legal actions in both federal and state courts, according to an analysis by USA Today.

“They range from skirmishes with casino patrons to million-dollar real estate suits to personal defamation lawsuits,” USA Today notes, adding the number of lawsuits “is unprecedented for a presidential nominee.”

Just since he announced his candidacy a year ago, at least 70 new cases have been filed, about evenly divided between lawsuits filed by him and his companies and those filed against them. And the records review found at least 50 civil lawsuits remain open even as he moves toward claiming the nomination at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in seven weeks. On Tuesday, court documents were released in one of the most dramatic current cases, filed in California by former students accusing Trump University of fraudulent and misleading behavior.

USA Today’s analysis revealed Trump and his businesses settled with roughly 100 plaintiffs who mostly claimed to have been physically injured on his properties.

General counsel for the Trump Organization, Alan Garten, explains the volume of lawsuits as the “cost of doing business.”

“I think we have far less litigation of companies of our size,” Garten stated.

USA Today notes:

However, even by those measures, the number of cases in which Trump is involved is extraordinary. For comparison, USA TODAY analyzed the legal involvement for five top real-estate business executives: Edward DeBartolo, shopping-center developer and former San Francisco 49ers owner; Donald Bren, Irvine Company chairman and owner; Stephen Ross, Time Warner Center developer; Sam Zell, Chicago real-estate magnate; and Larry Silverstein, a New York developer famous for his involvement in the World Trade Center properties.

To maintain an apples-to-apples comparison, only actions that used the developers’ names were included. The analysis found Trump has been involved in more legal skirmishes than all five of the others — combined.

“Our philosophy is that we are a company of principle,” Garten added. “When we believe we are in the right, we are going to pursue the matter to the end. If that requires that we go to trial and present evidence to a jury, we are prepared to do so. We are not going to cave to pressure.”

Experts say the fact that Trump is still currently involved in several disputes as he nears the presidency — along with the significant volume of litigation — raise questions about whether or not he can successfully lead the United States.

“Somebody like Lyndon Johnson was a guy who woke up in the morning studying the decisions and the hopes and the strengths and the weaknesses of all the people he had to influence,” Stanford professor and author Jeffrey Pfeffer stated. Pfeffer analyzed, “For that, you need two traits I think Trump lacks: Number one, an attention to detail, and number two, you have to subordinate your own ego. I’ve seen nothing from Trump that suggests he has that capacity, and government is the art of compromise.”


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