'Not wanted': Black applicants rejected for Trump housing speak out

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In 1973, New York City school teacher Annette Gandy Fortt was looking for a decent place to live. A listing for an apartment in a building owned by Donald Trump's father, Fred, caught her eye — but she says the super told her there were no units available.

"I was black," Fortt said recently. "I was not wanted."

It wasn't just a gut feeling. After Fortt was turned away from the Queens apartment building twice, the New York City Human Rights Commission sent a white person to the property to apply for an apartment — and the tester was offered the apartment, according to court papers.

The commission took on Fortt's case, and she says a young Donald Trump appeared with a lawyer at a hearing on behalf of the family real estate company, Trump Management.

Her case also became part of a federal racial discrimination lawsuit filed by the Justice Department against Donald and Fred Trump that was resolved with a consent decree two years later in which they agreed to terms aimed at preventing discrimination.

See more on Trump in the 2016 election:

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Republicans coming out against Donald Trump

Arizona Senator John McCain: "I will not vote for Donald Trump."

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2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney: Trump's "vile degradations ... corrupt America's face to the world."

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte: "I will not be voting for Donald Trump."

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush: "No apology can excuse away Donald Trump's reprehensible comments degrading women."

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Texas Senator Ted Cruz: Trump's comments are "disturbing and inappropriate, there is simply no excuse for them."

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South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham: "I have never been comfortable with Donald Trump as our Republican nominee."

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Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice: "Donald Trump should not be President."

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South Dakota Senator John Thune: "Donald Trump should withdraw and Mike Pence should be our nominee effective immediately."

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Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski: "I cannot and will not support Donald Trump for president."

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Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse: Donald trump "is obviously not going to win [and should] step aside."

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Idaho Senator Mike Crapo: Donald Trump should step aside due to "disrespectful, profane and demeaning" behavior.

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Utah Senator Mike Lee: Donald Trump is a "distraction.

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Maine Senator Susan Collins: Donald Trump is "unsuitable for the presidency ... I [can] not support his candidacy."

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Texas Senator John Cornyn: "I am disgusted by Mr Trump's words about women."

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Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman: "The time has come for Governor Pence to lead the ticket."

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Utah Representative Mia Love: Stated she "cannot vote for" Donald Trump. 

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Ohio Senator Rob Portman: "I can no longer support [Trump]."

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Colorado Representative Mike Coffman: Donald Trump should withdraw "for the good of the country."

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Missouri Representative Ann Wagner: "I withdraw my endorsement and call for Governor Pence to take the lead" in the race.

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Nevada Representative Joe Heck: "I believe our only option is to formally ask Mr. Trump to step down."

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Arizona Senator Jeff Flake: Donald Trump is "wrong about his level of support. He needs to withdraw from the race."

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Virginia Representative Barbara Comstock: Trump's remarks were "disgusting, vile, and disqualifying."

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Illinois Senator Mark Kirk: Donald Trump is a "malignant clown — unprepared and unfit to be president of the United States."

(AP Photo/M. Spencer Green, File)

Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan: "I will support Governor Mike Pence for President."

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Colorado Senator Cory Gardner: Donald Trump's flaws are "beyond mere moral shortcomings ... I cannot and will not support someone who brags about degrading and assaulting women."

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New Jersey Representative Scott Garrett: Has stated he is "appalled" by Trump's actions.

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Nebraska Senator Deb Fischer: "It would be wise for [Trump] to step aside."

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South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard: "Enough is enough. Donald Trump should withdraw in favor of Governor Mike Pence."

(AP Photo/James Nord)

Former New York Governor George Pataki: "Enough! [Trump] needs to step down."

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Former GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina: "Donald Trump does not represent me or my party."

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Michigan Representative Fred Upton: Donald Trump needs to "step down."

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Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam: Trump should "step aside and let Gov. Mike Pence assume the role as the party's nominee."

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Utah Governor Gary Herbert: "I will not vote for Trump."

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Alabama Governor Robert Bentley: "I cannot and will not vote for Donald Trump."

(AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

California Representative Steve Knight: Trump's comments were "inexcusable."

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That lawsuit is the basis of a new video from Hillary Clinton's campaign, released Tuesday. The video, which features a tearful interview with a retired nurse who says she was denied an apartment, notes that while the racial discrimination allegations began when Fred Trump was running the company, they persisted after his son became president of the firm.

Trump denies the company discriminated against blacks.

"There is absolutely no merit to the allegations," his spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, said in an email to NBC News. "This suit was brought as part of a nationwide inquiry against a number of companies, and the matter was ultimately settled without any finding of liability and without any admission of wrongdoing whatsoever."

Clinton has brought up the discrimination case before, saying during a debate last month that Trump started his real-estate career by getting sued for refusing housing to blacks. In response, Trump portrayed the litigation as no big deal and said dispensing with the suit without admitting wrongdoing "was very easy to do."

Court documents, however, show that putting the allegations behind him was tougher than the candidate suggests.

Three years after the consent decree, the Justice Department went back to court to say the Trumps were not complying with the settlement. The claim was not resolved before the decree expired.

Then, in 1982, Trump Management and eight other New York City landlords were hit with a class-action discrimination lawsuit by a housing advocacy group. Two years later, they settled by agreeing to rent one of every four vacant apartments in some neighborhoods to blacks, according to a New York Times account from the time.

The breadth of the allegations doesn't surprise Maxine Brown, who applied for an apartment in a Queens building owned by Fred Trump in 1963.

"I was turned away because of my color," said Brown, 86, whose account was first reported by the New York Times in August.

Brown's application was taken by rental agent Stanley Leibowitz, who said there's no doubt Brown didn't get the apartment because she's black — and no doubt that Donald Trump, then just 17, knew that.

"Mr. Trump and his son Donald came into the office. I asked what I should do with this application because she's calling constantly and his response to me was, 'You know I don't rent to the N-word. Put it in a drawer and forget about it,'" Leibowitz, 89, told NBC News.

"Donald Trump was right alongside his father when I was instructed to do that."

Brown also filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission and was offered an apartment after the hearing; she still lives there. Fortt also took an apartment in a Trump building as a settlement.

"I wasn't interested in suing Trump. I wasn't interested in getting money. What I wanted was a place to live," she said.

Fortt, now 72, has kept the papers from her case for more than 40 years but said she would not have spoken up about her experience if Donald Trump hadn't brushed off the allegations that resurfaced during his presidential run.

"I think it's important that history not be erased," she said.

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