A certain building in New York City reportedly wants to shed its controversial name. In a New York Times report on Wednesday, several residents of Trump Place, a condominium in Manhattan, want nothing to do with the current name of their complex as it bears the name of the U.S. president. For these residents, distancing themselves from the name of the place seems to be the best legal recourse.
So, where exactly is this building? If you live in the Big Apple, you might have seen it on 200 Riverside Boulevard by the Hudson River, with "Trump Place" plastered on the front of the complex in massive metallic gold letters. Now the board of the condominium is trying to rid itself of the title in a legal case presented in New York's state Supreme Court, according to The Times. The legal battle between the board and Trump's holdings will decide if the complex can change its front — or not.
Historically, the building was purchased by Trump in the 1980s and later on, it was sold to Chinese billionaires, per The Times. The condominium got its name in 2000 in a license agreement which praised Trump as a "worldwide renowned builder and developer of real estate who enjoys the highest reputation in these fields among others."
The license agreement may have extolled Trump as a businessman, but his controversial presidential campaign didn't win over some of the building's residents. One of them, Harvey Koeppel, told The Times:
I felt that [Trump] was way far right of my politics. I also felt he was dishonest. The way in which he conducted the campaign was, well, sixth-grade level would give him too much credit. I found him embarrassing.
In addition to this building, there is also another Trump complex on the same Riverside Boulevard where residents aren't exactly happy about the name. A report from BuzzFeed in 2016 — before the election — highlighted a high-rise building where residents issued a petition to remove Trump's name.
One of its residents, Ilene Yoffe, said that she wanted to hide the name but feared legal consequences. Yoffe told BuzzFeed News that if she "could go up and cover it with black paint, I would, but I don't want to get arrested." She called the name an "embarrassment" and also added that "[Trump] is an embarrassment."
As for the 200 Riverside Boulevard property currently vying to remove Trump's name from the building, its board had carried out an anonymous survey to see how residents felt about the building's name back in February 2017. Koeppel told The New York Times that "the majority" was in support of changing the name but nothing came of it then. The chief legal officer for The Trump Organization sent a warning letter to the resident owners and said that excising of Trump's name would be a "flagrant and material breach of the license agreement."
Things could change for the condominium dwellers. If the state's Supreme Court rules in their favor, they could change the name of the building. A lawyer for the complex, Harry Lipman, painted an optimistic picture. "If we obtain the ruling, the committee will give the unit owners the opportunity to express themselves through a fair and democratic vote on the issue without any threat of legal action by the licensor," Lipman said in a statement.
For now, however, unit owners and renters in Trump Place will have to wait, which may not be an exciting prospect for those seeking to throw the name away. At least, not online. Google reviews for the property are despondently low, presently at a 2.7 star rating and comments like "Trump is a joker. Who would dare risk living here?"