Trump Tower Board Sues Estate Of Resident Who Died In Building Fire

Art collector Todd Brassner had declared bankruptcy and was having a difficult time selling the condo, according to friends.

The residential board of President Donald Trump’s Trump Tower in Manhattan is suing the estate of an art collector who died in a fire in his condo there earlier this year.

Longtime Trump Tower resident Todd Brassner, 67, was killed in April when an electrical fire engulfed his apartment, which was not equipped with working smoke detectors

Backed by an attorney from Trump Organization, the Residential Board of Trump Tower Condominium is suing Brassner’s estate for close to $90,000, mostly for unpaid common charges, some incurred after Brassner died, according to The Washington Post. Common charges cover monthly building maintenance and operating fees. The suit was filed Tuesday in New York state court.

The president has never commented on Brassner’s death, nor about the lack of sprinklers in the building.

Brassner had an art collection and hundreds of vintage instruments, including guitars, banjos and ukeleles. But he was having a difficult time making monthly payments and filed for bankruptcy in 2015. His condo was valued at $2.5 million at that time.

Brassner had tried to sell his 50th-floor condo, but it became particularly difficult once Trump became president and the building became a focus of tourists and a target of protesters, causing it to be constantly under guard, friends told the Post.

Trump bragged in a tweet while Brassner’s condo was still smoking that the fire that killed Brassner was confined to his apartment due to the excellent construction of his building. He never mentioned Brassner’s name — nor offered condolences to his friends and family over his death.

Trump Tower was built before fire sprinklers were required by law. Trump successfully lobbied against a bill that would have required retrofitting high-rise residential buildings that didn’t have sprinklers.

The Trump Tower residential board filed similar back-payment complaints against Brassner from 2003 to 2013. The last one, in June 2013, was for more than $21,000, which was settled the next month, Fortune reported. 

Though the address of Brassner’s apartment was the 50th floor, it was in fact a number of stories lower. Trump has boasted he was the first building owner to win permission from New York City to inflate the number of stories in his Fifth Avenue building, assigning extra floors to the building, The New York Times reported. The tower is pitched as being 68 stories tall but was built with 58 floors, according to the Times, which termed the inflation “Trump arithmetic.”

Brassner’s family members, Heather and Aaron Brassner, could not immediately be reached for comment about the lawsuit.