Donald Trump was ridiculed for his claim that his real estate empire was kicked off with a “small loan of a million dollars” from his father, but what most people don’t know is where the Trump family came into that kind of money.
It was prostitution.
Frederick Trump was the first in the family to leave Germany for America, back in 1885. After passing some time as a barber, Trump moved from New York City to Seattle and set up a brothel.
A quick study, Trump headed for a prime location, the city’s red-light district, known as the Lava Beds. There he leased a tiny storefront restaurant named the Poodle Dog, which had a kitchen and a bar and advertised “private rooms for ladies”–code for prostitutes. It would allow the resourceful Trump, who renamed it the Dairy Restaurant, to offer the restless, frustrated public some right-now satisfaction in the form of food, booze and easily available sex.
It wasn’t a one-off deal either. Trump later moved up to the Yukon during the gold rush, and was once again involved in the flesh trade:
In the New Arctic Restaurant and Hotel, which he opened in the raw new town of Bennett in May 1898, he again offered “private boxes” for ladies, facilities that included not only a bed, but a scale for weighing the gold dust used to pay for services. It was the best restaurant in town, one newspaper reported at the time, but added that it “would not advise respectable women to go there to sleep as they are liable to hear that which would be repugnant to their feelings and uttered, too, by the depraved of their own sex.”
Two years later, Trump opened yet another restaurant, and it too featured an area separated by dark velvet where “sporting ladies” offered their wares.
While Frederick Trump experienced several booms and bust over his career, he had enough money left over for a nest egg to bequeath to his son Fred when he died of Spanish Influenza in 1918. Little Fred took over his father’s real estate business and eventually generated huge profits.
Those profits allowed him to have the funds to give his son Donald a “small” loan in the 1970s, getting the ball rolling on the Trump real estate business in earnest.
So while Trump professes to be a holy man as he stumps for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination (he claimed his favorite book was “The Bible,” followed by his own tome, Art of the Deal), his family made the fortune that got him into the spotlight with an investment in the oldest business in the world.
Featured image via Flickr