According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the incident occurred almost 30 years ago, in 1986. The Hills, poor farmers from Burke County on the eastern edge of the state, were among the many victims of the worst farm crisis since the Great Depression.
Leonard Dozier Hill III couldn’t bear to see the farm his family had lived on for three generations be foreclosed upon. ”That morning, it was going to be auctioned off at the courthouse steps, so he committed suicide,” said Betsy Sharp, Hill’s daughter.
Unfortunately, Hill didn’t realize that life insurance policies didn’t cover deaths that occur by suicide. However, Hill’s suicide struck a nerve with local residents, some of whom painted “farmer killer” on the exterior of the local bank. That’s when Donald Trump decided to get involved.
Trump donated $20,000 to help stave off initial foreclosure. But that wasn’t all — he arranged for the family to make the rounds of the talk shows to raise money. He even managed to call the banker who held the Hills’ mortgage, as he wrote in his biography, “The Art of the Deal.”
“I said to the guy, ‘You listen to me. If you do foreclose, I’ll bring a lawsuit for murder against you and your bank, on the grounds that you harassed Mrs. Hill’s husband to his death,’” Trump wrote.
“All of a sudden, the banker sounded very nervous and said he’d get right back to me. Sometimes it pays to be a little wild.”
Eventually, Trump and another wealthy businessman helped make up the money that donations couldn’t. The Donald then attended a mortgage-burning ceremony down at the Hills’ farm. Now, Leonard Dozier Hill IV lives on that very farm.
According to Newsmax, Trump initially wanted to keep the matter a secret, but news of his generous deed leaked out so Trump leveraged his popularity to help the family.
“We saw a whole different side of him that was kindhearted, to reach out to us, to help us,” Betsy Sharp told the Journal-Constitution. “Most people don’t know and see that side. All they see is just the ‘blurt’ that people put on the TV. They don’t see the other side of him, and that’s what my family got to experience.”