“He always got somebody to put up funds for him. To put up the money. And he’d put up the brilliance.”
Donald Trump used to brag that he was the “King of Debt,” that he “loved debt,” and on those particular claims, boy could he ever back it up. Back in the 80a through the early 2000s, he would take out massive loans, not worrying too much about the terms. He had an unshakeable faith in his ability to create “winners” even back then. All too often, he would find himself back at the bank, begging to renegotiate the terms. He would threaten to walk out of the bank and straight to bankruptcy court unless the banks played ball with him. He was always “restructuring” debt, consolidating debt, wiping off debt.That was the “art of the deal,” Trump’s M.O., how he appeared to be so rich and yet always seemed to need more money.
Then, about ten years ago, it all stopped. Trump started to pay cash – lots of it, for properties. Stranger still, Trump made the change in strategy at a point in time when no other investor was paying cash for property. Interest rates were so low that money was cheap and the economy risky. It made far more sense from a financial perspective to use the bank’s money to buy the property and pay the note’s terms, while your money stayed invested in higher yielding investments, like what would become a hard-charging market through the last decade.
Something changed, something caused Trump to change his views on using “debt” as the principle means of building a business. It might be tempting to point to his four bankruptcies in and around the time that his Atlantic City ventures went bottom-up, as the possible reason for the shift. However, IF Trump learned any lesson during his bankruptalooza tour, it would be “never use your own money when others’ will do just fine.” It was not the bankruptcies that changed Trump’s basic approach. After all, when confronted with his failures in Atlantic City, he is quick to note how much money he personally made on the deals.
Something else changed.
The Washington Post has a fantastic piece of reporting about a question that has bothered me since I first read of the pattern two years ago.
In the nine years before he ran for president, Donald Trump’s company spent more than $400 million in cash on new properties — including 14 transactions paid for in full, without borrowing from banks — during a buying binge that defied real estate industry practices and Trump’s own history as the self-described “King of Debt.”
Trump’s vast outlay of cash, tracked through public records and totaled publicly here for the first time, provides a new window into the president’s private company, which discloses few details about its finances.
It shows that Trump had access to far more cash than previously known, despite his string of commercial bankruptcies and the Great Recession’s hammering of the real estate industry.
In the article, Eric Trump explains to us dolts that the decision was made because “they wanted to invest in themselves,” an answer that may as well have been, “because we felt like it.” He brags that they had such “incredible cash flow” coming out of their traditional properties (i.e. Trump Tower, and his “branding” business) that they could afford to do it, adding like only a Trump could: “It’s a nice problem to have.” He is talking about a period a few short years after many people lost everything in the Atlantic City fiasco – which the city itself still hasn’t recovered from – perhaps if Trump had such large cash flow coming into the organization, he could have used some of it to prop-up the Atlantic City deals, saved others from financial ruin, and keep a few of those bankruptcies off the books. But, now I’m getting off track.
Back to Eric, and back to the money.
The Post was not the first to ask about this peculiar new business plan. In fact, Eric got a near identical question several years ago. But, the last time he was asked, his father was not running for president, and thus his answer contained far more truth. From a Vanity Fair article that came out last year:
“So when I got in the cart with Eric,” Dodson says, “as we were setting off, I said, ‘Eric, who’s funding? I know no banks—because of the recession, the Great Recession—have touched a golf course. You know, no one’s funding any kind of golf construction. It’s dead in the water the last four or five years.’ And this is what he said. He said, ‘Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.’ I said, ‘Really?’ And he said, ‘Oh, yeah. We’ve got some guys that really, really love golf, and they’re really invested in our programs. We just go there all the time.’ Now that was three years ago, so it was pretty interesting.
So, Eric, which is it? Because it cannot be both. The articles reference the same period. You either made a decision to “invest in yourself” because you had such incredible cash flow coming out of the recession, or you went to Russia and got it. One or the other. We’re waiting …
No, we’re not. Because we know the answer, because it is the only answer that makes sense. When money is cheap, as it was during the ultra-low interest rate period following the recession, people do not spend their own cash, unless the cash itself is a “problem” that needs “cleansing.” (Oh, and do not let that part about banks not touching golf bother you. Banks were more than happy to finance large golf resorts so long as some of that loan was secured by tying it to all that cash flow that Eric noted as being a good problem to have.) No, they got all the “financing” they needed out of Russia because the Trumps are one of the few wealthy American families willing to deal with some of the world’s most ruthless criminals, killers, literally. These Russian billionaires are bursting with cash and need it spent on “things” that are “worth a lot” but hard to determine a precise value, in other words, not stocks, not currency, but high end real estate.
The media is already taking note of the Post’s important and timely piece. Everyone knows the context, even if it cannot be said aloud; Russia. Sam Stein commented on MSNBC via Rawstory:
“This is super weird,” he said. “$400 million in cash just laying around to play with and buy golf courses is basically unheard of—especially when you can borrow money really cheap right now,” he said. “I looked it up because money-laundering is a very specific legal definition and what we do not know is the origins of the money they had on.. you have to have criminally generated money put into something that looks legally appropriate. Who knows where this money came from?”
The people who gave Trump the cash know where the money came from.
And THAT, is the problem that has haunted Trump throughout his presidency, and explains how it is that we have a Russian oligarch sycophant as president. See, Trump likes to run around and say “there’s no collusion, everyone agrees on that,” because in Trump’s mind, the only way one could “collude” with Russia is to sit around a big table and say “yes” when Russia offers to help you win the election, and promise to do whatever they ask in exchange for that help. (Which, ironically, might have happened in Trump Tower). But, that is not the only way to collude.
Trump knows he can “conspire” with Russia without a word needing be said, no meetings, no agreement. Trump knows that he has laundered hundreds of millions of dollars for Putin and the Russian mob. Trump also knows that he damn sure has not reported those “loans” to the American people. He would be removed from office on the spot. But, Trump knows that Russia could leak evidence of his money-laundering crimes, should it ever come into Russia’s interest to do so.Thus, from the very beginning, Trump has been vulnerable to Russia, vulnerable enough to perhaps have even followed an order to run for president.
Collusion is just another word for “conspiracy,” in this matter. A “conspiracy” can occur if Trump knows Russia is working to get him elected president, and knows why – because they have him over a barrel, Russia literally owns him. By saying nothing about such obvious conflicts, Trump creates a conspiracy, and each act to hide the conflict, to hide the “Russian thing” becomes another act in furtherance of the conspiracy.
The Washington Post story is a critical step in proving this conspiracy, even though the story itself, having been written by sober, responsible, journalists, cannot mention “money laundering” and the Russian collusion” issue expressly. The reader understands the pretext throughout, again, some “understandings” are so obvious that nothing need be said.
Watch the discussion for yourself. Let the importance sink-in. This is the type of evidence that Mueller focuses upon, why he hired prosecutors whose specialty is high-end illegal money transfers. Mark this date on your calendar, the date the Washington Post puts its finger on the collusion-conspiracy problem with an in-depth report, one day after Rudy Giuliani proved to the world that Trump has lied his ass off throughout the entire Stormy matter.
The walls are closing in, fast.