Politics

Patrick Murphy Is Trying to Erase History of Business With Donald Trump

Family construction company still touts work done on Trump projects

Patrick Murphy / AP

Florida Democrat Patrick Murphy has hitched his political wagon to an effort to tie Republican opponent Marco Rubio to Donald Trump, but he has failed to mention his own family's construction company also has Trump ties.

Rubio, running to hold his Senate seat for another term, pointed out the connections between Trump and Coastal Construction, the Murphy family business, during last week's debate, and Murphy has since responded by denying any ties exist.

"We have never done business with Donald Trump," Murphy said the day after the debate. "I think [Rubio] is a little bit nervous about his support of Donald Trump and that's why he's trying to do this."

Murphy's primary source of income comes from up to $5 million worth of stock he owns in Coastal Construction. The company still boasts of work that it has done on numerous Trump-branded properties on its website.

One is the Trump Royale, a 55-story, 386-unit condominium project that was awarded to Coastal Construction for $180 million in 2005.

The tower is located in what is known as Miami's Trump Grande Ocean Resort and Residences, which also includes another tower of condos called Trump Palace and the Trump International Beach Resort.

"The three-building project is Donald Trump's first foray into the South Florida residential real estate market," according to the South Florida Business Journal.

About three miles up the coast is the Trump Hollywood, a 42-story, 208-unit condominium project that was given to Coastal Construction for $150 million in 2007.

Both of the projects remain on the construction company's website as featured highrise residential projects it has built.

 

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Coastal Construction has used Trump's name in many company promotions.

In a 2008 interview to celebrate Coastal Construction's 20th anniversary, for example, the company's president bragged that the company regularly exceeds expectations of "world-renowned developers" such as Trump.

"Many of [Coastal's] high-rise residential projects have been built for world-renowned developers including Jorge Perez, Craig Robins, and Donald Trump," said Dan Whiteman in an interview that was unearthed by Murphy's own researchers. "Coastal has consistently met or exceeded the expectations of these world-class developers."

A South Florida Business Journal story announcing that Coastal Construction won the contract to build Trump Hollywood said the project was "a joint venture between Related Group of Florida founder Jorge Perez and mogul Donald Trump."

"We are extremely excited to be a part of this project and for the opportunity to continue working with such a reputable and powerful development team," said Tom Murphy Jr., CEO of Coastal Construction and Patrick Murphy's father.

The story also noted that Coastal Construction was simultaneously "constructing another Perez-Trump venture, Trump Towers, in Sunny Isles Beach."

Having Trump's name in the project boosted its value by 20 percent, according to Perez.

Tom Murphy has since changed his tune, stating during this year's Democratic primary battle with Rep. Alan Grayson (D., Fla.) that Trump has no ownership in the projects.

Coastal Construction did not respond to questions about its previous comments on the Trump properties. The Murphy campaign also has not responded to requests for comment.