|By Annie Sweeney, Chicago TribuneMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News |
May 14--TV personality and real estate mogul Donald Trump is expected to testify today at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in downtown Chicago in a trial about a disputed condo deal at Trump Tower.
The lawsuit has Trump facing off with an 87-year-old mother of four who says she bought two hotel unit condos based on a Trump marketing campaign touting revenue sharing and other perks for investors, only to have the billionaire change the terms at the last minute.
The lawsuit by Jacqueline Goldberg alleged breach of contract and deceptive practices. She contended that Trump Tower changed the terms of sales agreements after she put down a deposit on two hotel units in the riverfront high-rise at 401 N. Wabash Ave.
The lawsuit alleged that Trump Tower backed off plans to let buyers of hotel units share in some of the hotel revenue.
Goldberg deposited $516,000 on the hotel units as an investment because of that revenue-sharing plan and other promised investment incentives, the lawsuit said. But she decided not to complete the sale after the hotel changed the terms, according to the suit. Goldberg is seeking a return of her deposit and damages in excess of $500,000.
The lawyers in the case delivered opening statements on Monday after a jury was picked.
"Trump totally changed the deal," said Goldberg's attorney, Shelly Kulwin, who indicated that all the development decisions at Trump Tower were made by Trump himself. "He was the sole and ultimate authority on everything Trump."
Kulwin said he expects to call Trump to the witness stand today.
Trump's attorney, Stephen Novack, cast Goldberg as an educated, savvy financial planner and real estate developer who understood contracts and how to read financial documents.
"She's kind of what's called an entrepreneur, and a successful one at that," Novack said.
Novack said Goldberg was made aware from the beginning of the negotiations that the purchase agreements might change and had a way to back out of the deal. "She chose on her own to stay with those purchase agreements," he said.
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