SOHO—Tomorrow the Trump Soho will open (preview pics!), and the universe as we know it will be changed forever. Where are the bizarre last-second theatrics? Right here! Back during digging, some human remains were found at the Trump Soho site. The Soho Alliance, activists that fought hard against the condo-hotel, have sent out an epic press release/diatribe reminding us all about that incident (complete with visual aids!), and kinda sorta calling out Donald Trump as a bone collector. Take a look at this:
Today, as the Trump Organization is trumpeting the opening of the long-delayed and controversial Trump SoHo condo-hotel on April 9, it is uncharacteristically quiet about what happened to the remains of the dead that were disturbed during its construction.In 2006, during excavation, construction workers unearthed human remains buried in an 19th-century cemetery that was part of the Spring Street Presbyterian Church that stood on the spot for over two centuries until burning down in 1963.
In pre-Civil War New York, this area was known as "Little Africa", home to a community of freed slaves, and the church had a mixed-race congregation. In fact, the church was sacked by anti-abolitionists in 1834.
Work stopped for a month as the bones were disinterred. Trump assured us that the remains would be treated with the utmost respect and dignity, and be properly laid to rest in hallowed ground.
In comparison, when remains were found in the 1990s during the construction of the William Jefferson Clinton Federal Office Building in lower Broadway, the federal government - the federal government - drastically altered its construction plans to accommodate the graves, and the site is now the historic African-American Burial Ground.
Did Trump stop construction for years in order to re-design his building to accommodate the graves, as happened with President Clinton's building? Or did his ego triumph and did he continue to build Trump SoHo with total disregard for the deceased?
We all know the answer to that.
So, what did Trump do with the bones?
After four years, Trump still has not revealed what happened to the remains, despite the good will he would engender by respecting and interring the bones properly, in accordance with his initial promises. Trump needs all the good will he can generate to counter the fierce community opposition to his project by the SoHo Alliance as well as other neighborhood groups and preservation societies.
Well, the SoHo Alliance has obtained a private report on how Trump handled the remains of the dead.
Instead of respecting and burying them properly, they were shipped up to Utica University to be processed and examined in a school laboratory. Attached are the photos and a preliminary report.
Calls over the past year to Shannon Novak of the Bioarchaeology Lab at Syracuse University, who analyzed the bones, have not been returned. Dr. Thomas Crist, the archaeologist at Utica College who oversaw the project, has no knowledge of the current whereabouts of the remains he autopsied, but referred the caller to AKRF on Park Avenue, consultants hired by Trump to prepare a final report. An AKRF spokeswoman has no idea where the bones are currently located or what will happen to them.
It is typically the responsibility of the developer to pay for the re-interment, the coffin, crypt, etc. when historic remains are disturbed. Many individual corpses were discovered at Trump SoHo. Trump and his wealthy partners at Bayrock/Sapir so far have not come up with the funding for a proper burial of the graves he dug up, if they even know where the remains are! Could that reluctance have anything to do with the persistent reports of failed mortgages and imminent foreclosure regarding this project? For example, press inquiries have failed to confirm the sale of a single unit.
So, what did Trump do with the bones?
Are the remains still laying on a lab table or buried in a file cabinet?
Has some professor taken them home for her collection?
Did Trump ever bother to see if they were interred as he promised?
Where exactly are remains now?
Does Donald Trump give a damn?
Come on, Donald, we want to know. Are there skeletons in the closets of your Trump SoHo?
Yep, tomorrow's going to be one heck of a day, unless you're a ghost trapped in Utica. [CurbedWire Inbox]