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Intervention By Trump Helps Stave Off Foreclosure Of Family Farm

September 3, 1986 GMT

WAYNESBORO, Ga. (AP) _ A woman whose husband committed suicide to delay foreclosure on their family farm says a $20,000 donation from a New York real estate developer means her husband didn’t die in vain.

Lenard Hill III shot himself Feb. 4 to stop foreclosure on his land 20 minutes before the scheduled sale. But the life insurance was not enough to pay off his debts, and the land was rescheduled for auction Tuesday.

The auction was canceled minutes before it was to start Tuesday after Donald Trump intervened with his $20,000 gift to Hill’s widow, Annabell.


Trump sent the money after seeing Mrs. Hill plead last week on a nationally televised news conference for help in saving part of the farm.

Norma Foerderer, a spokeswoman for Trump in New York, said, ″Trump phoned down to the auction block and stopped it and he guaranteed that he would assist them (the Hill family) in this thing.″

″I’ve seen what’s happened to farmers,″ Trump told the Atlanta Constitution on Tuesday in an interview from New York, ″but I was particularly interested in a lovely woman I saw, Annabell Hill.″

Trump, interviewed today on ABC’s Good Morning America, said his wife turned to him after they saw Mrs. Hill on a newscast last week and said, ″You have to do it.″

Mrs. Hill, who also appeared on Good Morning America, said when she realized the farm was not be sold she knew ″God had touched somebody’s hearts.″

Trump promised to help the family find a buyer for most of the 705-acre farm that would allow the Hills to pay off their $173,000 debt and keep some of the land. Parts of the farm have been in the Hill family for three generations.

″I can’t help thinking how happy he would be,″ Mrs. Hill said of her late husband. ″I can’t help thinking he didn’t die in vain.″

Appraisers hired by the Hills have valued the land at from $300 to $600 an acre, with some parcels that could be subdivided valued at $2,000 an acre.

The family owes $246 an acre. If Trump can arrange sale of the land at or near the appraised price, Mrs. Hill can sell part of it and pay off the debt, officials said.

The family also has the support of businessman Frank Argenbright, who said he agreed to buy the property for $177,000 unless another buyer is found within 30 days.

Argenbright said the plan could allow Mrs. Hill to keep 326 acres including the original family homestead.

Trump did not offer to buy the land himself, but Argenbright said he is confident that Trump’s involvement would lead to finding a buyer.

Trump scheduled a news conference for Thursday with Mrs. Hill and her son’s family in New York, to discuss the plight of farmers.

Ms. Foerderer said she believed Trump offered about $20,000 to Mrs. Hill, a figure confirmed by the Constitution.

″So we’ll save Mrs. Hill’s farm, but I just hope that this can serve as a catalyst so that not only Mrs. Hill’s farm can be saved but all of the other farmers, the thousands throughout the country, so that their farms can be saved also,″ Trump said in an interview with ABC News.