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Meet the architect Donald Trump stiffed for work on his golf course clubhouse

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Trump only agreed to pay a fraction of what was owed to the architect

During last night’s presidential debate, the first of three to happen in the lead-up to November’s election, Hillary Clinton made a pointed reference to Donald Trump’s shady business dealings, specifically at his Westchester golf course:

"We have an architect in the audience who designed one of your clubhouses at one of your golf courses. It's a beautiful facility. It immediately was put to use. And you wouldn’t pay what the man needed to be paid when he was charging you," she said.

The man in question, as Co.Design points out (and Architizer previously identified), is New York City-based architect Andrew Tesoro, and his namesake firm Tesoro Architects. Tesoro’s firm has worked on several residential projects in Brooklyn and Manhattan, including the famed Dakota building on the Upper West Side, along with other community facilities and commercial establishments in the city.

In 2002, the Trump Organization hired Tesoro’s firm to design the Westchester golf course’s clubhouse. As Tesoro noted in a video produced by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Donald Trump had even personally commented on and approved the design.

But when it came to payment time (a rumored $140,000), Trump’s company only offered to pay the architect $25,000. When he protested, members from Trump’s company invited him to the same building he designed and allegedly intimidated him into accepting the smaller amount.

When the architect called for a personal meeting with the Donald, the developer told Tesoro that he’d already paid all he could and that too much money had been spent on the project. Trump’s lawyer allegedly informed Tesoro that while he might win a lawsuit, he would be drowned by the legal costs relating to it, and hence Tesoro abandoned any notion of doing so.

Tesoro’s small business was virtually left bankrupt as a result, and he had to use the money set aside for his son’s college education, and most of his savings to eventually rescue his firm.

"Because I was the little guy, he was winning and wanted to keep winning, and his definition of winning is making sure the other guy loses," Tesoro says in the video. "And that way of doing business is just not very fair to the little guy."