NY judge’s ruling could set precedent for Stamford’s Trump Parc

May 4, 2018 GMT

STAMFORD — If condominium owners in the Trump Parc on the corner of Broad Street and Washington Boulevard tried to remove President Donald Trump’s name from their building, there might now be legal precedent on their side.

Owners in a New York City Trump-managed property won a ruling that would allow the removal of the president’s name with a two-thirds majority vote, The Washington Post reported, citing a decision by a New York state judge.

The judge, Eileen Bransten, “rejected the main argument of the Trump Organization: that the license agreement that allowed the building at 200 Riverside Boulevard [in New York] to call itself ‘Trump Place’ also barred the building from ever taking the name down,” The Post reported.

What that means for Trump Parc is unclear, but talk of taking the president’s name off Stamford’s 34-story tower made headlines when condo owners elected a new board in March. Some said the shuffle could set the groundwork for a formal vote on the name.

Saul Cohen, who lives in Trump Parc and advocates for removing the name, said Friday he hasn’t seen or heard anything from the condo board, but knows there’s a groundswell among owners seeking some action.

“There have been several people contacting the board, sending articles, asking what the board is doing about it,” Cohen said. “It’s a brewing question.”

A vote has never happened, owners told Hearst Connecticut Media, but discussions about it are common, they said. Others said talk of the Trump name was taboo in the tower, like “religion and politics.”

Trump Parc is similar to the New York building involved in this week’s case: Both buildings are managed by the organization and have paid to use the Trump name, but are not owned by the president’s family.

According to The Post, The Trump Organization earned between $100,000 and $1 million in licensing royalties from the Stamford building in 2017, and Trump Place in New York paid the group $1 for the name, and has a management contract that runs until December 2019.

The New York case is something of a litmus test on the organization’s legal standing to keep its name on buildings as the brand has been taken off towers in Panama, Toronto and three other Trump properties in New York City.

The Post reported that “when other buildings have considered removing the name, the Trump Organization has responded with warnings that it would fight the changes with legal action: the implication being that this fight might cost residents money for legal bills.

“In the case of 200 Riverside, that threat was delivered after the condo board took an informal poll of residents in February 2017. At that time, 63 percent of condo owners who responded wanted to remove the Trump sign.”

In March, Trump Parc condo owners said they took an informal survey. The results were never released by the condo board.

A vote on the name, if it ever happens, would be close, they added.

barry.lytton@stamfordadvocate.com; 203-964-2263; @bglytton