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Trump Shows Sidekick Who the Real Star Is

September 01, 2006|Meg James | Times Staff Writer

Don't upstage "The Donald."

That might be lesson No. 1 in Carolyn Kepcher's next book on business.

NBC said Thursday that Donald Trump's real-life executive and sidekick on "The Apprentice" had been banished from the show's infamous boardroom as well as from her longtime job with Trump.

"Donald and I had different visions for my future role in the company," Kepcher, 37, said in a statement.

The real estate tycoon turned TV personality apparently was peeved that Kepcher was spending more time grooming her celebrity status than the Trump golf courses she oversaw, a person close to Trump said.

A Kepcher ally said she used her days off and vacation time to appear on the lecture circuit and promote her book, "Carolyn 101: Business Lessons from 'The Apprentice's' Straight Shooter."

She joined Trump Organization in 1994 and became general manager of the two Trump National Golf Clubs. After gaining celebrity as the no-nonsense aide on "The Apprentice," Kepcher retained an agent with International Creative Management and, in 2004, published her book. She even tossed her hat in the ring to replace Star Jones on ABC's "The View," sources said.

While playing golf with Tiger Woods on Thursday, Trump took time for a two-minute interview. He didn't exactly cop to canning her. "I did a favor to Carolyn actually," Trump said. "She's going to have a great future."

And no, he didn't use his iconic catchphrase: "You're fired!"

"It was a much softer version than what's on the show," Trump said. "I'm not as cruel in real life."

Kepcher, for her part, said, "I will always be grateful for the opportunities and experiences he has provided me."

That could be another rule for "Carolyn 102": It never pays to dis your ex-boss.

meg.james@latimes.com

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