MORE of Donald Trump’s skeletons have come tumbling out of the closet as he edges closer to becoming President of the United States. Jill Harth, who made headlines when she sued Trump for allegedly molesting her in his daughter Ivanka’s bedroom in 1992, has revived the little-known scandal bytalking about it for the first time in 20 years.
Ms Harth, a make-up artist, detailed his alleged sexual impropriety in a 1996 civil lawsuit in which she accused Trump of making repeated unwanted sexual advances towards her, culminating in what her lawyer calls an “attempted rape” in Ivanka’s bedroom.
At the time, Ms Harth and her partner George Houraney were running a kind of mobile pageant business called American Dream Calendar Girls.
They would stage elaborate events in which winning contestants were photographed in provocative poses and later immortalised in wall calendars.
At the time, Trump was the toast of New York. Keen to tap into his glamorous casino clientele, the couple embarked on a partnership with the playboy mogul which ended in disaster after the first pageant.
Ms Harth’s suit centred around a series of incidents which took place over two months between 1992 and 1993.
It describes a meeting at Trump Tower in December 1992 during which Trump pestered her with questions about her relationship status.
The following night, he made aggressive and unwanted advances towards her during a dinner at the Plaza Hotel’s Oak Room and groped her under the table.
Afterwards, Trump piled into his limousine with a group of skimpily-dressed American Dream models and took them on a nightclub crawl through Manhattan.
One of the models, Rhonda Noggle, recalled the conversation inside the limo in an interview with The Boston Globe.
Trump had been sharing his views on dating, she said, when he declared “all women are bimbos” and “gold diggers” who would be smart to go after men with money. Like him.
Disgusted, she had asked Trump to stop the car before telling him exactly what she thought of him.
“I told him I would rather be with a trash man who respected me than someone who was a rich, pompous ass,” Ms Noggle told The Globe. “And I got out. And I took a cab ride home.”
Trump has stated that he has no memory of the incident.
Ms Harth said the next run-in with Trump took place in January 1993, when she and Mr Houraney were invited to the casino mogul’s Florida mansion, Mar-a-Lago, to celebrate their pageant deal.
At Trump’s request, the couple had brought along a selection of young beauties so he could “see the quality of the girls he was sponsoring”.
Ms Harth states in court documents that later that night, Trump pulled her into an empty bedroom — the one normally used by daughter Ivanka, who at the time was 11. He then forcibly “kissed, fondled, and restrained” her from leaving.
Ms Harth relived the incident in an exclusive interview with The Guardian, published today.
“He pushed me up against the wall, and had his hands all over me and tried to get up my dress again,” Ms Harth told the paper. “And I had to physically say: ‘What are you doing? Stop it.’ It was a shocking thing to have him do this because he knew I was with George, he knew they were in the next room. And how could he be doing this when I’m there for business?”
Ms Harth and Mr Houraney jointly filed another suit against Trump, alleging he broke his word, cheated them out of a US$250,000 fee, and deprived them of up to US$5 million in potential earnings.
Trump dismissed the couple’s allegations as “all false” in an interview with The Globe in 1996 after the National Enquirer ran the story on its front page.
He disputed the case in court but eventually settled with American Dream in 1997. Ms Harth dropped her sexual misbehaviour suit around the same time but always stood by her claims.
In April, The Globe revisited the case, prompting Ivanka Trump to declare that her father was “not a groper” in an interview with CBS
Ms Harth says she has broken her silence because she is sick of being branded a “liar” and wants an apology from Trump.
On Tuesday, prominent journalist and author Michael Gross all but accused Trump of pimping out models recruited by his agency, Trump Models, at parties held at the Plaza Hotel to seal lucrative real estate deals.
Gross, the author of several exposés on the industry, including the 2011 bestsellerModel: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women, detailed “Trump’s history as what’s commonly referred to as a model-f**ker” in an article for The Daily Beast.
“In the 21 years since Model was published, unconnected model-industry sources have spontaneously told me on at least three separate occasions about meet-and-greet parties Trump threw in a suite at New York’s iconic Plaza Hotel during his tenure as its owner, where his wealthy friends, high-rollers from his Atlantic City casinos, and potential Trump condominium
buyers could meet models wrangled for him by cooperative owners of lesser agencies,” Gross writes.
“Some of the models ‘were a little put off,’ says a former agency owner. But most likely were not.”
Gross says Trump’s sordid history with models stretches back to the 1970s, citing an interview with him in which the real estate mogul shared his proclivity for mixing business with hedonism.
“Trump told me in an interview for my book, My Generation, (that) he indulged in consequence-free promiscuity — or ‘my second business,’ as he put it — mostly with women he met at Le Club, an East Side private nightclub known for privileged debauchery.
Gross says Trump told him: “You had drugs, women and booze all over the f*ckin’ place.”
The author says he was moved to write the article after getting swamped with requests for information on Melania Knauss Trump’s “career as an alleged supermodel” following her plagiarism-tainted Republican National Convention address.
“Knauss was simply one of the endless parade of pretty but fungible women who passed through the modelling business making hardly a mark, until she turned up at the end of the long line of actress-model-whatevers who’ve served as arm candy for Donald J. Trump over his 40 years in the public eye,” he says.
“Dating and then marrying Trump transformed Melania into a supermodel-of-sorts if you consider her professional peak, a near-nude appearance on the cover of BritishGQ, a mark of distinction.”
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