Kline with Trump

Ed Kline with Donald Trump. Kline is a delegate at this year's Republican National Convention and has been friends with Trump for 34 years. 

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BEACHWOOD, OHIO -- A Republican delegate from South Jersey knows Donald Trump personally and has a different take on why the real-estate mogul stiffed some contractors.

Ed Kline, a former state Assemblyman and Brigantine mayor, battled with Trump as an elected official and later befriended the presumptive Republican nominee. Kline’s construction company did work for Trump after Kline left office, including jobs for the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Hotel.

Democrats have recently criticized Trump for short-changing contractors, and a number of news reports have focused on the topic. But Kline said Tuesday that Trump didn’t pay some contractors because they did change orders -- charging Trump more money than originally agreed upon.

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“Donald Trump does not pay people when they have a change order,” Kline said. “When you give Donald Trump a price, you stick to it.”

He added that Trump is sometimes “very picky” and wants the best for his buildings and properties, another reason Trump may have not paid some contractors.

Kline is New Jersey’s 2nd Congressional District delegate for the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Atlantic County Republican Committee Chairman Keith Davis said the committee chose Kline as the area’s delegate because of his personal relationship to Trump. Kline said he and Trump have been friends for 34 years. 

Davis also brought Atlantic City’s famous White House Subs. Atlantic County Republicans have brought the sandwiches to conventions since 1984. The subs were on platters Monday at the hotel where the New Jersey Republican delegation is staying.

“To profile our area. To profile Atlantic City,” Davis said on why the local Republicans bring the subs. “And of course you have a logical connection. It’s called White House subs and that’s the goal of all of this. To capture the White House.”

Trump’s business dealings and casino bankruptcies in Atlantic City have come under scrutiny lately. Davis said that line of attack requires a lot of explaining and may not translate well into a national campaign.

Kline, who wore a Trump golf shirt and hat Tuesday, says he’s now easily recognized in Atlantic County as a Trump ally.

“People walk up to me and say ‘I’m with you. I’m with Donald,’” he said.

Kline wasn’t always with Donald. As mayor of Brigantine in 1986, Kline had a public battle with Trump over road improvements in front of Trump Castle. After Trump bought the property from Hilton, Trump refused to adhere to a reconstruction agreement made by Hilton, Harrah’s, Brigantine and Steve Wynn.

Kline and Trump traded barbs in the press, but eventually struck a deal.

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