Trump Loyal offered to give $ 3 million to buy a childhood home


President Donald Trump at his childhood home in Queens, August 19, 2017 (Sam Hodgson / The New York Times)
President Donald Trump at his childhood home in Queens, August 19, 2017 (Sam Hodgson / The New York Times)

NEW YORK – When Donald Trump’s childhood home in Queens was on the market four years ago, then presidential candidate Trump was publicly contemplating buying it himself.

Now you may not have to: The newest owner of the house is launching a mass funding campaign with the goal of gifting the five-bedroom Tudor of Jamaica Estates to the president – as soon as the $ 3 million price tag is met.

The unusual real estate maneuver seeks to capitalize on the dedication of some of Trump’s supporters, in the hope that the same commitment that prompted them to attend its large rallies in the midst of the pandemic will also make them open their wallets. Sellers hope donations could also be boosted by the impulse to dampen Trump with a personalized parting gift as his presidential term draws to a close.

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Fundraising can also solve another problem that has plagued the homeowner in recent years: the inability to find a buyer.

The house was put up for auction last fall, but was unable to meet the starting price, said Misha Haghani, director of Paramount Realty USA, which represented the property in three previous auctions. This latest attempt is asking contributors to buy the house as a gift to the president through GoFundMe, a charitable fundraising platform, “as a token of recognition,” Haghani said.

– Do you like Trump? the fundraising that began on Tuesday can be read. “Thank you to President Trump for contributing to this campaign to buy his childhood home in his honor!”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.

Even before the recent attempt to unload the property, the brick-stucco house was swept by a row of speculative buyers making money with Trump’s political rise.

Just before its inauguration in 2017, it sold for about $ 1.4 million – about 78% higher than when it was sold in 2008 for only $ 782,500. This buyer quickly sold it to the last owner for $ 2.14 million at auction, more than double its value as similar homes in the neighborhood.

Trump, of course, already has plenty of real estate, and after years of a toxic exchange of views with the political leaders of his hometown, he recently changed his official residence to Florida. The seller’s hope isn’t necessarily that Trump will get back to Wareham Place 85-15, where he lived until he was 4, but that he will offer it to a charity of his choice, or possibly install a presidential library. Trump’s father, Fred C. Trump, a real estate developer, built the home in 1940.

“You could technically accept the home and say,‘ Great, I just got another property that I could add to my empire, ’but it won’t do that,” Haghani said. “I think if the president would accept the property, he would do something with it in honor of his presidency. Either that or just donating it to some charity.

Trump’s childhood house isn’t the only house for sale in town: a three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment was sold last month on Manhattan’s West West 11th St. Street, where former President Barack Obama lived while studying at Columbia University. . The asking price is $ 1,450,000. (It’s not meant to be a gift, though presumably a future buyer can do what they love with the apartment.)

Only to the one who currently owns the home, Haghani refused to tell; the identity of the owner is still obscured by a limited liability company called Trump Birth House.

But the 2017 transaction, in which Trump Birth House bought the property, was overseen by a lawyer who specialized in representing overseas Chinese buyers in real estate transactions. When the pale yellow house was taken up for sale that year, visitors arriving with a Chinese visitor filled it to overflowing and pulled up the pictures en masse – the neighbors told them at the time; Trump’s image as a successful businessman aroused great admiration in China.

Shortly after the 2017 sale, a person who is familiar with the deal but is not authorized to talk about its details confirmed that the person buying the president’s childhood home was a Chinese woman but did not disclose her name.

For a time, while owned by Trump Birth House, the nightly rent for the home was $ 815. Trump’s cardboard cut-off greeted visitors, and guests could sleep in a bedroom where a plaque indicated “there was probably conceived by President Donald J. Trump”.

But in recent years, the home has been largely empty. The only visiting utility employee seemed to turn off the power for unpaid bills. In November 2019, Paramount again offered it at auction, with another stunt – with the chance for observers to win money by figuring out the right sale price – but it didn’t sell.

This time, there are other sweeteners: The seller agreed to donate half of the amount raised above the $ 3 million asking price to charity. And if the goal is not met, according to the information on the GoFundMe site, all the money raised will be donated to charity. But the seller did not disclose which nonprofit could benefit or how long the fundraiser would remain active.

Trump is deeply unpopular in New York, where 72% of the city voted for his opponent, Joe Biden, in the presidential election, and where during his presidency the towers were held next to the Trump Tower in downtown Manhattan. Haghani said he is not worried about the impact this could have on sales.

“Lots of people love him, including more than 70 million who voted for him,” he said.

Haghani has his own motivations, he added, which are not political in nature: “I don’t want to have to sell this again.”

This article was originally published in The New York Times.

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