We’ve only had a peek at the historically constant appetites of Individual-1 that only became important when he became a “public servant”. That peek got expanded this week.
His political base ignores it or even celebrates such venal behavior, because it “makes libs cry”, it still converges. It’s not going away, despite the now continuing attempts at obstruction.
We watch daily desperation and this week has been no different. Because auctioning stripper-golf caddies for charity might actually be OK, just not for someone whose property hosts it while he’s POTUS*, and while somehow connected to a sex trafficking scandal.
George Houraney, who in 1992 organized a “calendar girl” competition at Trump’s request: “I said, ‘Who’s coming tonight? I have 28 girls coming.’ It was him and Epstein. I said, ‘Donald, this is supposed to be a party with VIPs. It’s just you and Epstein?”
For those who need a reminder, Jeffrey Epstein is also enmeshed in the corruption that is #TrumpRussia. And we return yet again to the Michael Wolff-informed story of the Russian oligarch “Fertilizer-King” who is connected to the world’s most expensive painting as well as a bit of house flipping: an over-priced Florida house sale.
America’s Corruption Is a National Security Threat — Donald Trump is one symptom of a wider problem that’s making the United States weaker on the international stage.
- “Trump, Inc.” and Former FBI Deputy Chief Andrew McCabe Compare Notes McCabe talks about going after Russian organized crime in Brighton Beach as a young agent — and how some of those characters showed up in the Mueller report.
Bannon described Trump Organization as ‘criminal enterprise’, Michael Wolff book claims
- Wolff also details a 2004 Palm Beach property deal involving the now disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein and the Putin-friendly oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev that, the author writes, earned Trump “$55m without putting up a dime”.
Epstein, he writes, invited Trump to see a $36m Palm Beach mansion he planned to buy. According to Wolff, Trump went behind Epstein’s back to buy the foreclosed property for around $40m, a sum Epstein had reason to believe Trump couldn’t raise in his own right, through an entity called Trump Properties LLC, which was entirely financed by Deutsche Bank.
Epstein, Wolff writes, knew Trump had been loaning out his name in real estate deals for a fee and suspected that in his case Trump was fronting for the property’s real owners. Epstein threatened to expose the deal. As the dispute increased, he found himself under investigation by the Palm Beach police.
According to Wolff, Trump made only minor improvements and put the house on the market for $125m. It was purchased for $96m by Rybolovlev, part of a circle of government-aligned industrialists in Russia, thereby earning Trump $55m without risking any of his own money.
Donald Trump and the mansion that no one wanted. Then came a Russian fertilizer King miamiherald.com/news/business/…
- Russian billionaire says it was ‘pure coincidence’ his jet twice shadowed Trump’s charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-…
Comrade Trump’s Politburo
- This article is from 2017 but helps explain why Trump needed the money on a hurry-
- Trump’s Russia dealings is a $640 million loan that Trump took out in 2005 to finance the construction of a downtown Chicago condominium and hotel. As $340 million came due in November 2008, Trump was unable to pay, leading to speculation that he looked to Russia for a bailout.
- In 2010, as Bank of Cyprus was expanding because of its ties with Russian clients, Rybolovlev acquired a 9.7 percent stake in September through a British Virgin Islands-registered offshore. (W. Ross)
- Rybolovlev’s involvement with Bank of Cyprus coincided with that of another Trump associate: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. Ross served as the bank’s vice chairman starting in 2014, when his eponymous private equity fund WL Ross acquired a majority 18 percent stake.
- Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg went in with Ross’s firm on the deal, taking a 5.5 percent stake in the bank. Ross was also joined as a vice chairman by Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, a former KGB agent who is reported to have a close relationship to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- The bank nearly collapsed in 2013 after making tens of millions in bad loans. The Kremlin is reported to have taken a direct role in bailout negotiations over the Bank of Cyprus in 2013.
- Ross reportedly suggested another businessman to lead the bank after its bailout: Josef Ackermann, a Swiss banker who ran Deutsche Bank from 2002 to 2012, during which it allegedly laundered money out of its Moscow branch and lost but eventually regained Trump as a client. After being investigated, it paid out $630 million in a settlement with U.S. federal law enforcement.
- Ross sold his fund in 2006, but remained its chairman until he joined the U.S. government.