(CNN)“It was like we won the lottery,” Beth Rosser remembers. Her dad, Forest Jenkins, had just secured a $200,000 contract to work at the biggest prize in Atlantic City: Donald Trump’s Taj Mahal.
His company installed toilet partitions — not exactly glamorous, but important nonetheless. It was 1988, and a six-figure contract was huge.
“It was a big job. It was great. We were all excited,” says Forest’s son Steven Jenkins. Jenkins spent a month working at the Taj. “I had the fuzz from those carpets on the wheels of my dolly for months after that job.”
But what seemed like a winning ticket soon turned into a nightmare when the paycheck never came.
“We weren’t this big company,” remembers Rosser, who now runs the company with her brother, Steven. “We didn’t have tons of money in an account somewhere to cover things.”
Jenkins says his dad, who built the company from nothing, nearly lost everything.
Friel’s father tried to recoup the money he was owed but eventually gave up. Friel believes Trump used his enormous influence to block his father’s company from working on any future Atlantic City projects.
“I think it surprised him the most that Donald Trump had blackballed him … even though we had an excellent name in Atlantic City,” Friel says.
After struggling to stay afloat, the Edward J. Friel Company filed for bankruptcy several years later.
“He was devastated. The fact that we had seen such a huge future in Atlantic City for his business that all of a sudden because of one deal … his business in Atlantic City was done,” Friel says.
At the Republican National Convention in Cleveland Trump promised to prosperity for America, saying: “I have made billions of dollars in business making deals. Now I’m going to make our country rich again.”
Friel says he’s speaking out on behalf of his father, who died in 2006.
“He would say, ‘Paul, do this for us…let the country know what kind of man this is.”