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Welcome to a day in the life of Donald J. Trump — a round of golf with a former president punctuated with the filing of a potential billion-dollar lawsuit against some former business partners. Both happened on Monday, July 11. In between putts with the other members of his golfing foursome — Bill Clinton, New York Yankees manager Joe Torre and comedian Billy Crystal — The Donald found the time to lodge a whopping complaint against a group of Hong Kong-based partners, who last month sold a large parcel of land in Manhattan, partially owned by Trump, to two investors for $1.76 billion. In his complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, Trump alleges that the $1.76 billion paid by Extell Development Co. and Washington private equity firm Carlyle Group for the property was about half of what other investors had offered. The lawsuit claims that Trump’s Hong Kong partners, a group led by investors Henry Cheng and Vincent Lo, ignored a $2.9 billion offer from Colony Capital, a Los Angeles-based real estate investment company, as well a $3 billion offer from New York developer Richard LeFrak. In his filing, Trump calls the $1.76 billion sale “a staggering breach” of his partners’ duty to get as much money for the property as possible. According to a Trump spokesman, Trump was traveling Tuesday and not reachable for comment. But in comments made to The New York Times on Monday, Trump called the 77-acre parcel, which runs between 59th and 72nd streets on Manhattan’s West Side, “one of the finest pieces of property in the world. And this is the hottest real estate market in history. [The sellers] ought to be ashamed of themselves.” Neither Trump nor other New York real estate experts expressed much shock early last month when news broke of the deal. The sale of the property, which is currently home to a high-end residential enclave called Trump Place and has sites on which eight to 10 more apartment buildings could be built, was the largest sale of residential property in New York City history. “It’s one of the greatest real estate deals I’ve ever seen,” said Pamela Liebman, the head of New York’s Corcoran Group, at the time. “What Trump has been able to do with that property in the last 10 years is just astounding.” Trump and his fellow investors bought the land in 1994 for a mere $82 million during the nadir of the last Manhattan real estate recession. Under the current $1.76 billion deal, Trump’s take would be about 30% or so, or roughly $500 million, giving the real estate mogul a severalfold return. Trump’s suit also claimed that the Cheng Group failed to report hundreds of millions of dollars of profit in order to dodge taxes in both the United States and China. Copyright �2005 TDD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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