A Huntington Beach woman who was a contestant on Donald Trump’s reality TV show, “The Apprentice,” said Friday that the Republican presidential candidate in 2007 kissed her on the lips, grabbed her breast and made other advances when she visited him twice — in his New York office and later at his bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
The woman, Summer Zervos, who owns Sunny’s Family Restaurant in Huntington Beach, was 31 at the time she was a contestant on the fifth season of “The Apprentice” in 2006 — an experience reported on at the time by the Huntington Beach Independent. At a press conference arranged by attorney Gloria Allred on Friday, Zervos said Trump made unwanted, aggressive sexual advances to her after she inquired about getting a job with his company.
“I had the utmost admiration for Mr. Trump," Zervos said. "And even after I was fired [as a contest on the show] I continued to see him as a possible mentor and a potential employer."
Zervos' allegations were among several from women who have come forward this week after the release of an "Access Hollywood" video in which Trump talked about his sexual advances toward women, and his denial during Sunday's presidential debate of actually committing such acts.
Zervos said that during a 2007 visit to New York she contacted Trump to see if they could meet for lunch. At his suggestion, she said, they met in his office. “When I arrived, he kissed me on the lips. I was surprised but felt that perhaps it was just his form of greeting.”
Zervos said Trump "was extremely complimentary" about how she handled herself on the television show. "He said that he had never met anyone with my combination of being smart, attractive and with as large a set of balls as I had,” Zervos said. “He said he would love to have me work for him.”
Although she was excited at the prospect of working in the Trump organization, when she was about to leave Trump again kissed her on the lips. "This made me feel nervous and embarrassed," she said. "This is not what I wanted or expected.”
Despite her uneasiness with the interaction, which she said she shared with "loved ones," Zervos agreed to stay in touch with Trump — who called her his "OC Angel" — and she met him again when Trump came to Los Angeles in December 2007.
Zervos said she met Trump at his bungalow at the Beverly Hills Hotel. She described their interaction as follows:
“I stood up and he came to me and started kissing me open-mouthed as he was pulling me towards him. I walked away and I sat down in a chair. He was on a loveseat across from me and I made an attempt at conversation. He then asked me to sit next to him. I complied. He then grabbed my shoulder and began kissing me again aggressively and placed his hand on my breast. I pulled back and walked to another part of the room. He then walked up, grabbed my hand and walked me into the bedroom. I walked out. He then turned me around and said ‘Let’s lay down and watch some telly telly.' He put me in an embrace and I tried to push him away. I pushed his chest to put space between us and I said, ‘C’mon, man, get real.’ He repeated my words back to me, 'Get reeeaaall,' as he began thrusting his genitals. He tried to kiss me again, with my hand still on his chest, and I said, ‘Dude, you’re trippin’ right now' — attempting to make it clear I was not interested. He said, ‘What do you want?’ I said, ‘I came to have dinner.’ He said, ‘OK, we’ll have dinner.’”
Zervos said that before and during a dinner in which they shared a club sandwich, Trump's tone changed into that of someone having a business conversation or conducting a job interview. She said he also encouraged her to default on her home loan — which she said was in good standing — so she could work out a better deal with the bank.
“He told me to call the bank and tell them I was leaving the keys on the table and for them to just pick them up. He said that would be a mini version of what he does. He urged me not to make another payment on my home loan,” she said.
Zervos said that even though Trump had "sexually harassed" her, she still wanted a job in his organization. In her subsequent attempts to talk to him or his representatives, she was offered a low-paying job at the Trump National Golf Club in Palos Verdes. Then she was told that the company had no jobs available for her.
Despite the rejection, Zervos said at the time she harbored “no ill will whatsoever” toward Trump and always complimented him in conversations with customers at her restaurant.
After seeing Trump campaigning earlier this year, Zervos — who told reporters at the press conference that she is a Republican — said she sent an email to a Trump assistant on April 21, telling him that “I have been incredibly hurt by our previous interaction…. I hope to hear from you and wish you continued success.”
Servos said Trump never responded.
After hearing the "Access Hollywood" video tape and Trump's denial of sexual assault during Sunday's presidential debate, Zervos decided to come forward with her story.
“You do not have the right to treat women as sexual objects just because you are a star," Zervos said.
Even though Zervos appeared at Friday's press conference with Allred, the attorney said she is not pursuing legal action against Trump and has no political agenda.
On Friday, Trump denied he was ever alone in a hotel room with Zervos.
According to an Associated Press report, the Republican presidential nominee said in a written statement that he has only a vague recollection of Zervos and never acted inappropriately toward her.
In his statement, Trump lashed out at the media for creating "a theater of absurdity that threatens to tear our democratic process apart and poison the minds of the American public," the AP reported.
Trump has also denied a series of allegations of sexual misconduct that have arisen in the past week, calling his accusers liars.
This story has been updated with Trump's response to Zervos' allegations.