Jury sides with Donald Trump in Chicago condo trial - New York News

Jury sides with Donald Trump in Chicago condo trial

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

An 87-year-old grandmother took on billionaire Donald Trump. And on Thursday - she lost.

Jurors sided with the real estate mogul-turned-TV showman in a weeklong civil trial focused on Jacqueline Goldberg's claim that Trump cheated her in a condo bait-and-switch scheme.

The federal jury in Chicago returned with a finding in Trump's favor. Goldberg, of Evanston, had sought various damages totaling around $6 million.

Goldberg herself showed little emotion but her attorney, Shelly Kulwin, slumped over and buried his head on a courtroom table. Trump's attorney Stephen Novack smiled and nodded his head in gratitude at the jury.

The case pitted the suburban Chicago woman against a New Yorker who revels in his image as a big talker with big ideas. Many know him best for his catchphrase on his "Apprentice" TV show: "You're fired!"

In sarcasm-filled closings, Kulwin described Trump in stark, extreme terms -- as villainous and greedy. Trump wasn't in court, but Kulwin displayed a giant photograph of Trump.

"The thought of my grandma being in the same room with that guy. Yuck!" Kulwin boomed.

The dispute centered on the glitzy Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago, one of several showcase towers Trump has named after himself elsewhere, including New York, Las Vegas and Hawaii.

Goldberg accused Trump of wooing her into buying two condos at $1 million apiece in the mid-2000s by dangling a promise of share in building profits -- then reneging on the promise after she committed to buying.

A defeated Jacqueline Goldberg and her attorney Shelly Kulwin emerged after court Thursday.

"I think we didn't have sufficient proof and the jury had to be convinced and they weren't," said Goldberg.

"Fraud is a very difficult thing to prove and juries, if they're going to come back and say that someone committed fraud, they want documents," said Goldberg's Attorney Shelly Kulwin.

Fox 32's Tisha Lewis interviewed Donald Trump moments after his big victory and as expected he didn't hold back.

"The jury saw right through it, it was a unanimous jury and I'm very honored. She's a very very nasty but sophisticated investor," said Trump.

A far cry from the portrait painted by Goldberg's attorney of an Evanston grandmother swindled out of millions when she purchased two condos in the Trump Tower believing the deal would include a profit-sharing component.

At one point Trump accused Goldberg of playing the age card and tells Fox 32's Tisha Lewis he doesn't regret making the comment.

"Not at all, not even a little bit… She thought by playing the age card she'd get sympathy and it didn't work that way," said Trump.

Trump says he's honored by the fairness of the Chicago jury. The billionaire also says he may go after Goldberg for tainting the Trump brand.

"We're looking at that, the Trump brand has been amazing… This is a sophisticated investor, not a nice woman and frankly she really took it on the chin because what happened to her and her lawyer, the sole motivation was to try and get money by concocting a scheme and they should be ashamed of themselves, both of them," said Trump.

"Our Chicago jury did exactly what I expected it to do, it followed the law and applied the evidence and it came to the right verdict," said Trump's Attorney Stephen Novack.

Despite the disappointing legal loss, Goldberg says she does walk away with a victory.

"I think I have exposed him for what he is and that people won't get trapped by him again," said Goldberg.

Goldberg isn't the first to complain about a Trump development.

Dozens of investors in the Las Vegas' five-year-old Trump International Hotel & Tower sued Trump, alleging he manufactured "a purchasing frenzy" to get them to buy in before the property market collapsed.

An arbiter, though, sided with Trump in 2011, and U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro in Las Vegas later refused the disgruntled investors' request to nullify the arbitration finding.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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