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Trump Sued Over Chocolate Mousse Widow Says Killed her Husband

July 19, 1991

NEW YORK (AP) _ A woman who says her husband died from eating chocolate mousse at one of Donald Trump’s Atlantic City casinos has sued the developer.

Kathleen Purgatorio claims her husband Thomas, became ″violently ill″ after eating the tainted mousse on Oct. 16, 1989, at Buffet by the Sea, a restaurant in the Trump Castle Hotel and Casino.

Mrs. Purgatorio and three friends, Robert and Carolyn Venetian and Gladys Vassos, all of Staten Island, seek $11 million from Trump in a lawsuit they filed Thursday in Manhattan state Supreme Court.

The Purgatorios and their friends were among more than 100 victims who were poisoned by the salmonella-tainted mousse between Oct. 13 and Oct. 17, 1989, according to a New Jersey health department report.

Mrs. Purgatorio said restaurant employees were negligent because they should have known that the food ″was not fit for human consumption.″

Trump’s lawyer, Alan Kaplan, said a pre-existing heart condition caused Purgatorio’s death. He blamed the salmonella outbreak on a shipment of eggs from a Trump vendor.

Stephen Weinstein, the plaintiffs’ lawyer, acknowledged Purgatorio’s heart condition, but said the salmonella triggered his heart attack in January 1990.

Dr. Virginia Dato of the New Jersey Department of Health’s Communicable Disease Control Services reported in a memorandum dated March 6, 1990, that the mousse was the only common factor among the 100 some victims.

Dato said 240 uncooked eggs were used in the mousse. Of 90 eggs left from the batch, all tested negative for salmonella.

Five other mousse suits against Trump were pending in Atlantic County, N.J., court papers show.