A Long Island mother of three has been chasing the Trump mortgage company for the last 10 years trying to collect the court-ordered $300,000 commission she earned for landing one of the company’s biggest deals.
And Jennifer McGovern, 46, says she’s not going to give up on getting the money she’s owed. Her lawyer renewed her claim against Trump Mortgage LLC last week — and with three kids ready for college, she says the cash would come in handy.
Trump Mortgage LLC officially opened in April 2006 with a big media event hosted by President Trump, his son Donald Jr. and E.J. Ridings, a self-proclaimed Wall Street veteran.
“I think it’s a great time to start a mortgage company,” Trump told CNBC at the time. “the real estate market is going to be very strong for a long time to come.”
These were the heady days of the housing bubble — a year-and-a-half before it burst creating the subprime mortgage crisis that crippled the world economy.
But at the time, it seemed like a good idea.
“Donald Trump was fricking God in our industry,” according to Jan Scheck, the former national director of sales at Trump Mortgage, who left the company early. “It was the first season of ‘The Apprentice.’ Everybody wanted to drink his wine and eat his steaks. Everything was coming up roses.”
McGovern, who was working in the mortgage business in Long Island, heard about the company from a friend during a backyard barbecue. She wasn’t looking forward to the commute from, but her friend, who worked in the IT department at the company, convinced her that it would be worth it.
At first, it was.
“Sometimes in this business you call people and they don’t call you back, but the (Trump) name really opened doors,” she said.
Only five months into her employment there she landed a $26.5 million deal.
The sale put McGovern, who was working on commission, into the “Luxury Mortgage Specialist” tier, which meant she’d get 45% of the brokerage fee once the loan was completed.
Though there was a small regulatory hiccup, the deal eventually went through.
The Trump company got a $530,000 fee from the deal. That meant McGovern’s share would be about $238,000.
But she only got a $10,000 in commission, because the mortgage company’s lawyer altered her contract after the fact, according to a lawsuit McGovern filed in Manhattan Supreme Court in 2007.
“The Trump experience wasn’t quite what I thought it would be,” McGovern said. “It was more greed than anything else. I brought in this big deal and then they tried to change the terms of my contract, they tried to give $10,000 instead of $238,000.”
The Franklin Square mom fought back, winning a $298,274.00 judgment against the company nearly on Feb. 27, 2009.
By then, the subprime mortgage crisis had claimed most of its victims, including Trump Mortgage.
E.J. Ridings, the company’s former CEO, scoffed at the thought of paying McGovern her money.
“That company dissolved in 2007,” he said before hanging up the phone abruptly.
McGovern’s lawyer, Raymond Nardo, filed an additional claim last week to ensure she has claim to any of the company’s remaining assets.
“The wealthy elites who ran the company acted like predators and cheated a humble, hardworking mother out her wages, while the company benefited from her hard work,” Nardo said. “While the judgment is valid for 20 years, my client is renewing it, after 10 years, so that it will act as a lien on any real property that Trump Mortgage, LLC owns.”
McGovern’s still hoping there’s something left — she’s already got the money spent.