Dear Freedom of Information/ Open Records Officer:
Pursuant to Louisiana Public Records Act § 44:1 et seq., I request from the New Orleans Mayor’s Office, specifically the current administration, all publicly available documents including, but not limited to:
- Email correspondence between the Mayor's office and email accounts associated with the “@trumporg.com” or “@donaldtrump.com” domain names from January 1, 2009 to the present.
- Any and all records (including but not limited to: incoming or outgoing communications such as letters, written requests, memos, telephone records, and electronic correspondence; reports; complaints, investigations, or violations; applications or forms; records of meetings or appearances on schedules or calendars) held by the Mayor's office listed above since January 1, 2009 in which any of the following individuals or entities are named as a recipient, sender or otherwise referenced in the body, title or subject line of the document:
- Donald Trump
- Any of the following entities:
- Trump Organization
- Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts
- Trump Entertainments Resorts
- Trump International Hotel & Tower
- Trump Management Corporation
- Trump Marks New Orleans
- Diamondhead Casino Corporation
- Any of the following individuals
- Donald Trump Jr.
- Ivanka Trump
- Eric Trump
- Allen Weisselberg (Chief Financial Officer, Trump Organization)
- Michael Dean Cohen
- George Harold Ross
- Jim Petrus
- Eric Danziger (Chief Executive Officer, Trump Hotel Collection)
- Matthew Calamari (Chief Operating Officer, Trump Organization)
- David Orowitz
- Lawrence “Larry” Glick
- Alan Garten
- Any and all freedom of information requests filed with your department and their responsive records mentioning Donald Trump, The Trump Organization, or any of the aforementioned individuals or businesses.
Please see an article pasted below that may serve as clarification as to the type events we believe may have led to the creation of these records.
If this request would generate a substantial number of documents, I would prefer to have an index of the documents. Of course, this request for an index does not preclude us from later requesting any or all of the documents included in the index. Additionally, I request that the information I seek be provided, if possible, in an electronic format via a personal computer disk or CD-ROM.
I understand that there might be costs associated with this request. I would request a waiver of fees and ask for you to contact either of us by telephone before making copies if this request will be in excess of $50.
Thank you for your assistance in this matter.
Please send all copies to:
430 S Capitol Street SE
Washington, DC 20003
Plans for building Trump Tower in New Orleans are officially dead
July 28, 2011
The Trump International Hotel & Tower, the excessively hyped 70-story, $400-million condominium project announced the day before Hurricane Katrina turned toward New Orleans, is officially dead.
The Poydras Street parcel where the Trump Tower was to be located was sold at a sheriff's foreclosure auction last Thursday to the operator of the surface parking lot at the site.
While there have been no signs of motion for several years on the project that would have created the tallest building in the city, and a mural of the project painted on a brick building abutting the site has long since been removed, the Florida developers who worked with New York real estate magnate Donald Trump on the project remained silent about its fate, even as other swanky high-rise condo projects fell apart.
Stephen Dwyer, the local attorney for developer Poydras LLC, said that twin hurdles of the storm and the financial crisis were just too great to overcome. "The economy just did not justify going forward," Dwyer said. "The developer still hopes to bring the project online at some point. He has not given up on building a project in New Orleans."
Developers David Brannen and Cliff Mowe did not return phone calls seeking comment.
Jim Huger, the chief executive of Premium Parking Service LLC, a fast-growing parking company that launched shortly before Katrina, outbid the lender at the auction and bought the two parcels of land where he currently operates a parking lot for $5.44 million.
Huger, who bought the property along Poydras between Magazine and Camp streets through the entity Orcutt LLC, said he'll hold the land until new opportunities arise. "Like any long-term buyer, we're interested in any development opportunities. When the city is ready for something, we'll be there," he said.
Now that he owns the property, Huger plans to repave the lot and improve the site. "We haven't been able to invest in it up until this point," he said.
Premium Parking operates 35 parking locations in New Orleans and has just expanded to Houston. The company has 100 employees.
Jim Garner, an attorney for Fred Levin, a Pensacola lawyer who previously owned the site and provided financing for the developers,said that Levin foreclosed on Poydras LLC in the spring after the company stopped making payments on its lease-purchase agreement for the site.
Garner said Levin bid on the project to make sure that he was made whole on the money he lent. Garner said that the property is worth more than what Huger paid for it.
The failure of the Trump Tower project also marks the end of spate of new-construction luxury condominium projects that were announced around the time of the storm when the national real estate market was hot and money was flowing.
Vantage Tower, a 25-story condominium project announced in January 2006 at Girod Street and O'Keefe Avenue downtown, was cancelled in February 2007 as rising construction costs made units too expensive for buyers.
The 24-story Tracage proposed in February 2006 at 1100 Annunciation Street in the Warehouse District was put on hold in April 2009 because of the economy. Although a banner remained in place for ages at the site, it was sold at a tax sale last November for $19,023.75 to a company in Minnesota called Lakeview Holding LLC, according to conveyance records.
But even as these projects crumbled, the Trump Tower developers insisted they were moving forward, and opened a sales office in the neighboring Pan American Life Center in January 2008 as the nation was in recession.
In May, the New York Times reported that real estate tycoon and television personality Donald Trump essentially rented his name to developers to make condo projects more valuable, even though he had little to do with them.
Kurt Weigle, president and chief executive of the Downtown Development District, said it's no surprise that Trump Tower and the other luxury condominium projects ran into trouble. The national finance market is tough, many people are more interested in renting rather than buying right now, and while downtown New Orleans is moving in a great direction, new construction is expensive and the per-square foot sales prices are still too low to make the numbers work.
Weigle is unconcerned by the failure of Trump Tower. What's more important, he said, is the redevelopment of many smaller buildings downtown into apartments that has allowed the residential population downtown to double over the past decade.
People in New Orleans are looking for apartments rather than condos, Weigle said, and that's well-matched to the type of financing tools that are available to developers. The easiest way to finance a project right now is through state and federal tax historic credits, which lend themselves to apartment construction, because the federal credits prevent developers from selling the units for five years.
With some 5,100 people living downtown and demand for the new apartment units strong, Weigle said downtown sales prices will eventually rise, which will make new construction condominium projects feasible.
"We don't despair because this one project isn't moving forward," Weigle said. "What we continue to herald are all the smaller projects that are adding up to big number gains in residents downtown."