87-year-old plaintiff testifies in Trump trial
An 87-year-old who drew Donald Trump's ire by accusing the real estate mogul of cheating her testified Friday she felt comfortable investing with the TV star because of his business success and celebrity.
Jacqueline Goldberg, of Evanston, testified two days after the "Apprentice" host finished his sometimes combative testimony at a civil trial in Chicago.
In her lawsuit, Goldberg alleges Trump promised her a share of profits from the Trump International Hotel & Tower if she bought condos at the Chicago skyscraper. Her suit claims he reneged on that promise after she committed to buy.
In comments to reporters this week, Trump described himself as the victim and said Goldberg is the one "trying to rip me off." Trump, who is 66, also accused her playing "the age card" and trying to curry sympathy with the jury by highlighting that she's nearly 90.
Goldberg spoke softly and without hesitation during her testimony Friday. She recalled minute details from meetings with Trump sales representatives going back to the mid-2000s.
She also talked about what she described as a difficult childhood and how she worked her way through college waiting on tables. She said that through much of her adulthood, she was a stay-at-home mom raising four kids.
Only into her 60s did she get into real estate investing, telling jurors she had become particularly excited by Trump's plans ten years ago to construct a 92-story building on prime property near downtown Chicago's famed Michigan Avenue.
"As far as I knew, he was a good businessman," she said. She added she had remembered seeing him in a movie with Whoopi Goldberg.
The prime location of the building got her attention, she said, but the deciding factor in her decision to purchase two condos was the profit-sharing offer.
"It looked like a very attractive investment," she said. She added later that no Trump agents ever hinted the profit-sharing proposal might be pulled years later.
In his testimony, Trump insisted Goldberg knew a buyers' contract gave him rights to cancel the offer, but that she bought two condos for around $1 million apiece anyway.
"And then she sued me," he boomed, raising his arms. "It's unbelievable!"
Goldberg is seeks the return of a $500,000 deposit and other unspecified damages, including profit she says she would have reaped had Trump stuck to his offer.
Goldberg was expected take the stand again Monday morning.
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