21st June, 2012 by Lucy Shaw
US property mogul Donald Trump has fired socialite Patricia Kluge from her own former winery.
Donald Trump and Patricia Kluge
Kluge was forced to sell her Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard in Charlottesville, Virginia, at a foreclosure auction last April.
Trump, a friend of Kluge, bought the 314-hectare estate for US$6.2 million. He has since changed the name to Trump Vineyard Estates and brought in his son Eric as president.
At the time of the takeover, Kluge was offered the role of vice president of operations, but the one-year transitional contract has officially expired.
“We gave her a transition contract for the first year, and that has ended. We are still working with her a little bit, and we still have a good relationship with Patricia,” Donald Trump told the New York Post.
“It’s never easy when you build something like that and you end up working for the people that are owning it,” Trump added, while his son Eric commented:
“It was always known she was going to help us transition from bank owned to Trump owned, she did so very effectively.
“This is an exciting transition. We’ve been winning awards right and left. Business is great. Our trajectory in terms of new business coming in is vertical,” he said.
Kluge’s husband, Bill Moses, oversees the property as general manager – a role that is set to continue.
Kluge famously received a US$100 million divorce settlement in 1990 from broadcasting billionaire John Kluge, the richest man in America in the ‘80s. She declared bankruptcy in June 2011.