Don of a Decade

The following is an excellent excerpt from the book “LOST TYCOON: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump” by Harry Hurt III from Part One: “The Crash” from Chapter One: “Don of a Decade” from page 22 and Chapter Two: “Life Is Cheap” on page 54 and I quote: “Ivana Trump has been standing with a pair of binoculars in the dining room of the Trump Tower triplex, peeking at a target two blocks up Fifth Avenue.  Her diamond-encrusted Cartier watch is ticking toward nine o’clock on the morning of October 10, 1989.  Ivana has dressed in typical workday attire: a black, white, and blue checked Chanel suit and a pair of black crocodile pumps by Charles Jourdan.  But her thoughts have been on the grave of a beloved former boyfriend thousands of miles away in Czechoslovakia, where she has sent a memorial wreath, as she does this time every year, with a card that reads: “In loving memory of George.”

Ivana pans the binoculars from the giant gold statue of General William Tecumseh Sherman on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Fifty-ninth Street straight across the Pulitzer Fountain in Grand Army Plaza until she can train her lenses directly on the Plaza Hotel.  As she focuses on the bustle of activity taking place beneath the hotel’s flag-draped front entrance, the loving memory of George gives way to the no-so-loving memory of one of The Donald’s more infamous one-liners.  Shortly after he named Ivana the new chief of the Plaza in the spring of 1988, a reporter asked how, if at all, he was going to compensate her for her services.

“I pay her a salary of one dollar a year and all the dresses she can buy,” The Donald had joked.

Haunted by that double-edged remark, Ivana has been striving to earn her keep and keep her self-esteem.  Besides overseeing the Plaza’s daily operations, she is in charge of supervising a major renovation of the hotel.  Over the past year and a half she has reportedly spent upwards of $69 million on top of the nearly $400 million her husband paid to acquire the property, in an effort to restore the circa 1907 landmark to its former glory.  Even though she thinks of herself first and foremost as wife and mother, she regards her duties at the Plaza as crucial to her self-interest–and to the survival of her marriage.

“If Donald were married to a lady who didn’t work and make certain contributions,” she told Time magazine in a January 1989 cover story about her husband, “he would be gone.”

Ivana has been every bit as perfectionist as The Donald, if not more so.  She has been coming into her office at the Plaza Hotel from nine to five every day without fail.  No detail escapes her notice, no matter how small.  After issuing specific instructions to the housekeeping staff advising that every towel should be folded exactly the same way in all 814 rooms of the hotel, she pulled up the hem of her designer skirt and got down on her hands and knees to demonstrate how the bathroom floors should be scrubbed.  With the moral fervor of her Czechoslovakian Catholic upbringing, she considers any breach of decorum or lapse in cleanliness as tantamount to mortal sin, and she has let it be known that there will be hell to pay if her standards are not met.

“I run my operations like a family business,” Ivana informed Time.  “I sign every check, every receipt.  I’m not tough, but I am strong.  You can’t be a pussycat.”

Whatever the Plaza’s twelve hundred employees have been thinking of Ivana, none of them has ever accused her of being a pussycat.  During her reign as queen of the Trump Castle casino hotel in Atlantic City, she monitored the comings and goings of her staff via a television camera mounted in the parking garage.  Since taking over management of the Plaza, she has been using binoculars to spy on the performance of the hotel’s front-door crew, proving that even Big brother is no match for Big Mother.  One morning, for example, she spied a batch of newspapers that had blown up against the side of the hotel from across the street.  She picked up the telephone and dialed the front desk in a fury.

“Who is responsible for this?” she demanded.  “I’ll fire their fucking ass!”

This is not an idle threat.  The previous Thanksgiving two mischievous Plaza staffers had forged a memo on hotel stationery announcing that Ivana would be giving away free turkeys for the holidays.  She responded by directing Trump security to trace the memo back to the typewriter on which it was composed.  Once the guilty parties were identified, Ivana fired them both on the spot, even though one was an electrical engineer who had put in twenty-eight years at the hotel.  “This time it was a turkey,” she told the New York Post in defense of her action, “but next time someone might get hurt.”

Lest the Plaza’s employees conclude their boss was lacking in the holiday spirit, Ivana tried to make at least partial amends for the Thanksgiving Day massacre.  She had never intended to send out free turkeys prior to the circulation of the forged memo.  But the incident prompted her to reconsider.  In the end she wound up sending complimentary birds to the twelve hundred Plaza employees.  “That’s the difference between Ivana and Donald,” one Ivana loyalist maintained.  “She has a heart.”  And yet, as another Plaza staffer observed in the wake of the turkey turnaround, Ivana’s schizophrenic symbiosis of wicked witch and fairy godmother made her “seem almost like two people.”

In fact, Ivana has been at least two people: Ivana before and Ivana after.  Like the Plaza Hotel, she, too, has undergone a dramatic physical transformation.  Five feet eight inches tall, she is, at the age of forty, still a scrupulously trim 110 pounds.  She still wears her gold-tinctured tresses straight down and parted to one side with wispy bangs in front.  She still speaks in deep, seductive whispers with a thick Slavic accent that has her inserting “the” in font of nouns and  proper names (as in “The Donald) and substituting z sounds for th sounds.

But after nearly thirteen years as Mrs. Donald J. Trump, Ivana was starting to show her age and the toll taken by her dual roles as wife and businesswoman.  For a brief time she seemed to be turning into a flat-chested, pumpkin-faced Moravian matron with deeply creased jowls, crow’s feet around her hazel eyes, and lips so thin they resembled a bathtub ring.  She quickly put a stop to that with the help of modern medical science and The Donald’s munificence.

“I never intend to look a day over 28,” she told New York Daily News gossip columnist Liz Smith, “but it’s going to cost Donald a lot of money.”

Ivana’s renovation turned out to be relatively inexpensive by comparison to the restoration of the Plaza.  It cost in the neighborhood of $25,000 to $35,000, and it was performed by Los Angeles-based plastic surgeon Dr. Steven Hoefflin in April 1989.  Hoefflin, who first won fame for treating the burn injuries of singing star Michael Jackson, resculpted her cheeckbones, injected collagen in her lips, and amply implanted her breasts.  Ivana’s outward appearance now bears a striking resemblance to that of the French movie actress Bridgitte Bardot.  But her soul is being tortured by the same obsession with success that causes The Donald’s nightly insomnia.

“In fifty years. . .” she recently informed a reporter from the San Diego Union, “we will be the Rockefellers.”

Along the way Ivana has even coined the phrase that aptly characterized what The Donald–and she herself–are all about.  “He’s off scheming and beaming,” she informed The Donald’s younger brother, Robert, one day.  “You mean wheeling and dealing,” Robert politely corrected.  “Wheeling and dealing, scheming and beaming,” Ivana returned.  “It is all the same thing, no?”

Ivana folds her binoculars and walks out the big bronze-paneled front door of the triplex.  She takes the elevator down to the hotel-style lobby of the building’s residential entrance on Fifty-sixth Street, where she is met by a six-foot-tall Italian-American bodyguard-chauffeur with a square jaw and combed-back brown hair.  Ivana’s bodyguard-chauffeur ushers her into a black Mercedes sedan and drives her on a four-block route to her job site.

Upon arriving in front of the Plaza, Ivana slips out of the Mercedes and quickly inspects the hotel’s eighteen-story French Renaissance facade with its cream-colored brick turrets hopelessly smudged by urban grime and its gabled copper-covered roof green with age.  Then the bodyguard escorts her up the red-carpeted front steps, past the five bulbed antique brass lamps illuminating the brass-framed revolving doors, and into the lobby.

“Lions and fawns may once again walk the halls of New York City’s Plaza Hotel if Ivana Trump has her way,” Fortune magazine predicted in an article on American billionaires in the fall of 1988.  “Very rich ladies used to bring exotic pets when they stayed there.  But the carriage trade snubbed the place long ago, especially after the Plaza joined the Westin chain in 1975.  Ivana is determined to bring back the old money set.”

In truth, Ivana’s ambitions have a literary rather than a zoological bent.  Like many of her New York-born friends, she is a fan of Eloise, the 1955 best-selling children’s novel by Kay Thompson that describes the mischievous antics of a six-year-old girl living in the hotel.  “I want to revive the Eloise cult,” Ivana proclaimed early on.  Unfortunately she had to revise her plans when Thompson refused to cooperate.  Ivana has finally settled on a pseudo-European look distinguished by homages to the Louis XIV, XV, and XVI periods and influences from the Trump casinos, such as the shiny new marble tiles in the hotel bathrooms.

The Plaza’s lobby now displays Ivana’s nouveau classical taste throughout.  She has ripped up the green carpet installed under the former management of the Westin hotel chain and replaced it with a rich burgundy-colored carpet laced with golds, greens, and blues.  She has covered the walls with specially commissioned reproductions of antique French tapestries similar to those hanging in the Louvre.  She has gilded the moldings and the bases and tops of the decorative columns with gobs of gold leaf and illuminated the ceiling with enormous Strass crystal chandeliers from her native Czechoslovakia.   Finally she has set two big marble-topped entry hall tables inherited from the Westin regime with peach-colored flowers, nicknamed Ivana roses, which have become tourist attractions in their own right.

Ivana marches quickly across the lobby turning heads in her direction with each step she takes.  If The Donald bursts with as much energy as the sun itself, he has nothing on her.  Ivana absolutely glows, and not merely with the reflected glory of a female moon.  Since taking over the Plaza, she has become a shining star in her own firmament, an international celebrity socialite who also as a serious head for business on her shoulders.  In fact, it is her scintillating presence even more than the hotel’s expensive face-lift that has catapulted the Plaza back to the pinnacle of prominence among New York City’s power elite.

Undaunted by the eyes following her every move, Ivana goes directly to her second-floor executive offices.  In sharp contrast with The Donald’s domain on the twenty-sixth floor of Trump Tower, Ivana’s L-shaped suite exudes the warmth of the traditional living room.  The burgundy-carpeted main wing is furnished with a fireplace, a pair of matching mahogany bookcases, a square glass coffee table surrounded by Queen Anne chairs covered in pink damask, and a leather-topped banker’s desk.  The wall beside the main entrance is covered with beige-and-pink-striped silk and dominated by a portrait of The Donald.  The facing wall, which is covered in a pink fabric, opens into an adjoining conference room.

Ivana’s office has been further distinguished from The Donald’s by three special features.  Unlike her teetotaling husband, Ivana loves to drink Cristal champagne.  She has made sure that her inner sanctum at the Plaza includes a fully stocked minibar, which his office lacks.  Also unlike The Donald, Ivana is an avid gardener.  She insists on filling her office with green plants and fresh-cut flowers of every description.  Finally, and perhaps most tellingly, the windowsill behind Ivana’s banker’s desk is crowded with framed photographs of the Trump’s three children and other close relatives.  Although an entire wall in The Donald’s office is paneled with photographs of him, there are no visibly displayed pictures of his family supposedly because he fears that some nefarious visitor might spot them and know whom to kidnap.

In almost every other important way, however, Ivana Trump has become Donald Trump’s female clone and alter ego or, as she likes to put it in her fractured English, his “wife-twin.”  Since their marriage in the spring of 1977 she has remained faithfully, some might even say aggressively, by his side on both the business and domestic fronts.  She has helped design the interiors of the Grand Hyatt, Trump Tower, Trump Plaza in New York, and Trump casino in Atlantic City.  In 1985 she took over management of Trump Castle (then known as Trump’s Castle), her husband’s first wholly owned casino, and steered it from seventh place in citywide gross revenues to a brief pinnacle as number one.

Besides adding a feminine touch to the Trump testosterone, Ivana has been adding what passes in New York City social-climbing circles as a touch of class.  She has spearheaded the Trumps’ move into philanthropy, volunteering to work for and later chairing such charity affairs as the United Celebral Palsy and the March of Dimes gala balls.  Ivana also loves fraternizing with fashion designers such as Arnold Scaasi, and socialites such as Nina Griscom, the stepdaughter of fabled New York City financier Felix Rohatyn; Jerome (“Jerry”) Zipkin, best known as the escort of former First Lady Nancy Reagan; designer Carolyne Roeh, wife of corporate raider Henry Kravis; perfume company founder Georgette Mosbacher, the wife of Secretary of Commerce Robert Mosbacher; and Vogue staffer Shirley Lord Rosenthal, wife of New York Times executive A. M. (“Abe”) Rosenthal.  Although The Donald has disparaged such highfaluting types as members of “The Lucky Sperm Club,” the Trumps’ social gambits have garnered what he craves most–more publicity.

Ivana, in turn, has helped perpetuate the larger-than-life myths The Donald has manufactured about her, including the false claim that she was a member of the Czechoslovakian Olympic ski team.  She has no intention of setting the record straight partly because she fears that telling the truth might embarrass The Donald.  “I always stand by the man, never contradict Donald, even though I might think it’s silly,” she proclaimed to the New York Daily News.  I’m a very traditional European wife, and I don’t mind that Donald is the boss.  I like it that way.  I have to have a strong man, not someone I can just ride over.  This is my upbringing.  This is why most feminists aren’t married, and have no children.  I like to have both.  They’re never going to get married because they can’t find a husband.  A man is not going to put up with that nonsense.  I’m a normal woman.”

At the same time Ivana has been beginning to realize that many, if not most, outsiders regard her as anything but a “normal woman.”  Like The Donald, she has recently come under attack in the media for a laundry list of alleged sins and faux pas.  The feminist press, specially Savvy and New Woman, has scored her for the very thing she takes pride in: standing by her man at all costs.  The social set has been snickering at the ostentatiousness of her taste and sniping at her for not staying in her place on the home front.  Some of the most unkindest cuts of all came from the May 1989 issue of Spy magazine, which ran an extremely unflattering close-up photograph of Ivana on its full-color cover. The story inside by writer Jonathan Van Meter portrayed Ivana as a foulmouthed “wicked witch,” a “Bengal tiger,” and a “madwoman.”

“I think it’s upsetting to people that Donald and I have it all,” Ivana later told a writer from Vanity Fair magazine.

Ivana is now finding herself temporarily preoccupied with matters only indirectly related to The Donald.  Her working day begins as unusual with a briefing from her executive assistant, Lisa Calandra.  Often described as “an Ivana look-alike,” Lisa is a thirty-year-old Italian Catholic from a working-class family in Queens.  Like Ivana, she has bottle blond hair and a notoriously sharp tongue, and she drives a black Mercedes.  Lisa also has a far more shapely figure than her boss, a fact that has not gone unnoticed by The Donald, who originally hired her as a temporary secretary shortly before she graduated from Fordham University.  (“Lisa can’t type and I can’t speak English,” Ivana remarked, “so will make good team.”)  Over the years Lisa has become Ivana’s counterpart to The Donald’s assistant Norma Foerderer: an all-around girl Friday, confidante, and surrogate mother figure.

“Ivana, you have a full schedule this afternoon,” Lisa announces.  “You are having lunch in the hotel at noon and you have an interview with a writer from Esquire at three.”

Ivana assures Lisa she will keep both the appointments.  The luncheon is with her friend Lauren Veronis, wife of investment banker John Veronis.  Ivana is looking forward to trading gossip and girl talk in the Plaza’s ornately appointed Edwardian Room.  The Esquire interview ranks only slightly lower on Ivana’s list of priorities.  Magazine writer Judy Jones is researching a feature story on the city’s celebrated “trophy” wives, of whom Ivana is certainly one of the most prominent.  The interview offers a perfect opportunity to counteract the bad publicity Ivana received in Spy.

Even so, Ivana cannot get over the fact that The Donald himself has been making even more disparaging remarks about her than the most vicious members of the media.  Prior to Ivana’s visit to her Los Angeles-based plastic surgeon, he repeatedly complained, “Your tits are too small. . . . You’re too skinny. . . . Your tits are too small. . . . You’re too skinny. . . .”   When Ivana emerged from surgery, The Donald was sufficiently impressed to ask her doctor about undergoing some cosmetic procedures himself.  Yet despite the fact that Ivana had greatly enlarged her bosoms with implants, he was turned off, rather than turned on, by her new look.  “I can’t stand to touch those plastic breasts!” he screamed.

Ivana has been hearing rumors of The Donald’s alleged infidelity with increasing frequency in recent months.  But in the wake of The Donald’s disingenuous denials, Ivana has dismissed the rumors out of hand.  She has been attributing the sexual dysfunction in their marriage to “male menopause.”  But Ivana is going to be finding out the truth sooner than she imagines.  For at this very moment the rival who is causing at least some of The Donald’s disaffection with her is hiding out in the castle Ivana once ruled.”

Page 54 – Chapter Two: “Life is Cheap – Following the operation, Donald retreats to his waterfront estate in Greenwich, Connecticut, to convalesce.  It is not a pleasant experience. Like many other scalp reduction patients, he finds himself suffering nagging headaches caused by the shrinking of the scalp, the stretching of the skin, and the pain of the initial incision.  He is also upset that the color of the tattoo on the back of his head does not yet match the color of his hair and concludes that [Dr. Steven] Hoefflin must have used the wrong color dye.  The painful aftereffects of the scalp reduction operation and the discovery of Hoefflin’s supposed error enrage Donald, who reacts like a wounded elephant.  He telephones Hoefflin, informs him that he is not going to pay the bill for the operations, and threatens bloody revenge.

“I’m going to kill you!” Donald cries.  “I’m going to sue you.  I’m going to cost you so much money, I’m going to destroy your practice.”

Then Donald vents his rage on the person who allegedly got him into this mess in the first place–his wife.

Ivana Trump has been relaxing in the master bedroom of the Trump Tower triplex thinking about the trip she will be going to take to Tahiti.  The trip will not be just for a vacation.  It has do with The Donald’s business.  Lauren Etess, the widow of the late Trump gaming division executive Mark Etess, will be going with her.  Ivana has been hoping the trip will help them get over the tragedy of the helicopter crash.

Suddenly, according to Ivana, The Donald storms into the room.  He is looking very angry, and he is cursing out loud.

“Your fucking doctor has ruined me!” he screams.

The Donald flings Ivana down onto the bed.  Then he pins back her arms and grabs her by the hair.  The part of her head he is grabbing corresponds to the spot on his head where the scalp reductions operation has been done.  The Donald starts ripping out Ivana’s hair by the handful, as if he is trying to make her feel the same kind of pain that he is feeling.

Ivana starts crying and screaming.  The entire bed is being covered with strands of her golden locks.  But The Donald is not finished.  He rips off her clothes and unzips his pants.  Then he jams his penis inside her for the first time in more than sixteen months.

Ivana is terrified.  This in not lovemaking.  This is not romantic sex.  It is a violent assault.  She later describes what The Donald is doing to her in no uncertain terms.  According to the versions she repeats to some of her closest confidantes, “He raped me.”

When The Donald finally pulls out, Ivana jumps up from the bed.  Then she runs upstairs to her mother’s room.  She locks the door and stays there crying for the rest of the night.

The next morning Ivana musters up the courage to return to the master bedroom.  The Donald is there waiting for her.  He leaves no doubt that he knows exactly what he did to her the night before.  As she looks in horror at the ripped-out hair scattered all over the bed, he glares at her and asks with menacing casualness: “Does it hurt?”


LaVern Isely, Progressive, Overtaxed, Independent Middle Class Taxpayer and Public Citizen Member and USAF Veteran


About tim074

I'm a retired dairy farmer that was a member of the National Farmer's Organization (NFO). Before going farming, I spent 4 years in the United States Air Force where I saved up enough money to get my down payment to go farming. I also enjoy writing and reading biographies and I write about myself as well as articles and excerpts I find interesting. I'm specifically interested in finances, particularly in the banking industry because if it wasn't for help from my local Community Bank, I never could have started farming which I was successful at. So, I'm real interested in the Small Business Administration and I know they are the ones creating jobs. I have been a member of Common Cause and am now a member of Public Citizen as well as AARP. I have, in the past, written over 150 articles on the Obama Blog ( and I'd like to tie these two sites together. I'm also on Twitter, MySpace and Facebook and find these outlets terrifically interesting particularly what many of these people did concerning the uprising in the Arab world. I believe this is a smaller world than we think it is and my goal is to try to bring people together to live in peace because management needs labor like labor needs management. Up to now, that hasn't been so easy to find.
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