While developer Donald Trump was busy getting the Republican Party’s presidential nomination this week, he was losing big in a Miami-Dade County courtroom.
Circuit Court Judge Jorge Cueto, presiding over a lawsuit related to unpaid bills brought by a local paint store against the Trump National Doral Miami golf resort, ordered the billionaire politician’s company to pay the Doral-based mom-and-pop shop nearly $300,000 in attorney’s fees.
All because, according to the lawsuit, Trump allegedly tried to stiff The Paint Spot on its last payment of $34,863 on a $200,000 contract for paint used in the renovation of the home of golf’s famed Blue Monster two years ago.
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Trump National’s insistence that it had “paid enough” for the paint despite a contract, according to the lawsuit, caused The Paint Spot to slap a lien on the property and Cueto to order the foreclosure sale of the resort.
In time, Donald Trump’s company got the judge to cancel the June 28 courthouse auction after it placed the $34,000 in escrow, and the case was put on hold while Trump National’s owner, Trump Endeavor, considered an appeal.
But the lien remained.
And Cueto was asked to rule on the fees for The Paint Spot’s three $500-an-hour attorneys and two $150-an-hour paralegals that lawsuit loser Trump Endeavor will have to pay.
The golf company, according to the court file, objected to the hourly rates because it paid its lawyers $400 an hour, according to court records.
This week, Cueto ruled that the fees were reasonable, and then some.
First, he ruled Trump should pay for nearly 500 hours of legal work, since the store’s legal team had to prepare for a trial that never took place.
Then, Cueto tacked on a 75 percent “risk” fee, partly because the store’s lawyers took the risk that they would never be paid if they lost.
Total: $282,949 and 91 cents, including copying and expert testimony.
“I’m happy I have a judgment,” said Juan Carlos Enriquez, owner of The Paint Spot. “But he [Trump] hasn’t paid yet.
“You know how he says he’ll surround himself with the greatest people if he is president? In this case, he might not be surrounded by the right people.”
Trump bought the property in 2012 for $150 million then launched into a major renovation.
Alan Garten, Trump’s in-house lawyer, didn’t return a call for comment.