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Carnegie Mellon alumnus Andrew Tesoro shares his experience working for Trump

Credit: Shlok Goyal/ Credit: Shlok Goyal/ Credit: Shlok Goyal/ Credit: Shlok Goyal/

Carnegie Mellon Class of 1975 School of Architecture graduate Andrew Tesoro spoke outside the University Center on Nov. 3, encouraging students to vote for Hillary Clinton by explaining his poor experience with Donald Trump.

Tesoro runs a small architectural firm that Trump contracted in 2006 to design the Trump National Golf Club in New York. Initially, the project was for a 20,000 square-foot clubhouse, for which Tesoro’s firm charged $800,000. However, the project grew to be a 55,000 square-foot clubhouse in four years. Tesoro charged $140,000 extra for the changes Trump had demanded he make to the original design to create a larger building.

Tesoro, however, was told once construction was completed by a Trump Organization executive that “Mr. Trump ‘didn’t want to pay.’” After complaining, he was invited to the clubhouse he had designed to meet with two executives he had worked with. There, he found “the lobby packed with dozens of vendors and professionals — all invited for the same reason: to plead for their overdue money!” Eventually, he went into the ballroom to find approximately 15 members of Trump Organization, who offered him $50,000 instead of the $140,000 he had been seeking. After acquiescing to this payment, Tesoro made an invoice with the new amount and sent it to the organization. Again, Trump’s organization refused to pay.

At this point, Tesoro said, “I am beginning to recognize that is a game and I am losing.” He then met Trump, who said that because Tesoro “was such a nice guy and such a good architect,” he would give Tesoro $25,000 instead of $50,000. Trump’s attorney informed Tesoro that while he was likely to win a lawsuit, Trump Organization’s legal team would drag the hearing “out for at least five years and it will cost me more than it will be worth,” Tesoro noted in an email. Thus, he accepted the $25,000 for his work on the project.

Since he has a small business, Tesoro says that this shortchanging “was really painful.” The Trump campaign has not commented on this story, even though a video where Tesoro shares this experience has been viewed on Facebook more than seven million times, according to Forbes.

Tesoro said he is sharing his story because he doesn’t want the American public to be duped by the promises Trump is making, as he was duped ten years ago. Trump often told him that the project would make him famous and would lead to numerous new projects for his business, none of which happened. “It has become very clear that he can’t be trusted, can’t be believed to follow through and even try to make his promises happen,” Tesoro said.

Tesoro maintained, however, that he doesn’t hate Trump and found him congenial to work with. In fact, he told Forbes that Trump was “nice and decent to me on an individual basis.” He also believes that Trump’s current demeanor is merely a ploy to garner attention from the public rather than a reflection of Trump’s true personality. “He’s an actor. He’s a fraud,” Tesoro said.

Based on his meetings with Trump, Tesoro simply finds him unfit for the presidency, if not a despicable human being. He emphasized Trump’s impatience, saying two minutes into the interview, “If he were sitting just as long as you and I are, he would start getting antsy.” According to Tesoro, he found Trump to be egotistic, whimsical, insistent on unreasonable schedules, and intolerant of anyone disagreeing with him.

Tesoro concluded that Trump “doesn’t have the patience to deal with the complexity of a golf clubhouse building. God knows he doesn’t have the patience to deal with the complexity of governmental challenges.”

Tesoro’s story came to light when he met a mother at his son’s elementary school and emailed her the story. One of her colleagues had a nephew who worked for the Clinton campaign. The campaign videotaped him for an hour, according to an interview he gave in Forbes, and released a three-minute video labeling Tesoro as one of Trump’s victims.

The primary reason Tesoro came to Carnegie Mellon was that Clinton is vulnerable in western Pennsylvania and he felt “that any good energy on behalf of the Clinton campaign here would be beneficial,” said Tesoro.

In addition to studying architecture at Carnegie Mellon, he also taught at Carnegie Mellon for three years, earning a Teacher of the Week award from the Student Senate in 1984. “I have a special feeling for CMU and a special relationship with Pittsburgh which makes me want to be here,” Tesoro said.

While Tesoro’s dealings with Trump has at least enabled him to be somewhat influential in the presidential election, his business has only been harmed. “I am still paying for it,” Tesoro said.