Thursday, May 3, 2018

Judge Rules Trump Place Condo Can Drop Trump's Name

Trump Place, an Upper West Side Condo, has the right to Remove the Big Bronze Letters spelling the President's Name from its Façade.

The decision handed down Thursday by New York State Judge Eileen Bransten clears the way for the Condo Owners at 200 Riverside Blvd. to Vote on removing the Trump Name. Last year 63% favored dropping it, short of the required 67%.

But if enough Support can be mustered now, it would be a Public-Relations hit to the Trump Brand, which has already suffered some blows, during Trump's Campaign and Presidency. Last year the Name was Abandoned by the former Trump SoHo Condo Hotel, and Three Buildings near 200 Riverside have already Shed their Trump Place Signage. Hotels in Toronto and Panama City have Quit the Trump Brand and Thursday's ruling could open the door to other Trump-named Condos around the City doing the same.

An Attorney for the Trump Side, Lawrence Rosen, said he needed to process Bransten's Decision and would consider Appealing. "We obviously think she got it wrong," He said.

The 377-Unit Tower was built in 1998 and Owners Agreed in 2000 to License the Trump Brand, paying $1 in Perpetuity for the Naming Rights. Because President Trump isn't broadly popular in Manhattan, by early last year Hundreds of Residents wanted his Name removed from the Property. An Attorney for the Trump Organization, Alan Garten, warned Condo Owners they could do no such thing. "Please be advised that such contemplated action would constitute a flagrant and material breach of the License Agreement," Garten wrote in a Document described in Court Documents as a "threatening letter".

Members of the Condo Board responded by filing a Lawsuit so a Judge could decide whether they have the Right to Drop the Name. Trump Lawyers said the Board lacked Standing because not All Directors Voted and Commercial Tenants were not Consulted. Bransten Disagreed.
"The defendant's argument misses the mark," the Judge said in a 12-Page Ruling read from the Bench. She said the Licensing Agreement gives 200 Riverside the Right but not the Obligation to Call itself Trump Place.

The Condo Board has estimated it would cost $42,000 to take down the Trump Sign. One Owner worried it would cost about $60,000 and that Removal could Expose the Building to Unfavorable Publicity. Another observed that Bearing the Trump Name had not stopped Condo Values from Rising. "With the Trump name still attached to our building, with all the increased competition in the neighborhood from new buildings with new amenities, and with our condominium being removed from attendance eligibility at the neighborhood's most desirable public school," One Resident observed last year in an Online Forum cited in Court Documents, "sales prices have still trended up."

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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