Buzzfeed Breaks Widespread ‘Trump Lawyer Ripoff Scandal’ & It’s A Very Big Deal


Michael Cohen, the personal lawyer of President Donald Trump, has been found to be at least somewhat responsible for a failed Florida gambling cruise operation that ripped people off.

Cohen has claimed as a defense that he was supposedly just an unwitting investor, but considering a report by Buzzfeed News, that doesn’t hold up. Cohen was one of Atlantic Casino’s founding partners, having gone into business with a few of his close friends.

To be fair, there is at least one piece of evidence supporting Cohen’s claim that he shouldn’t be held liable for the failings of Atlantic Casino: he was apparently not personally named as a defendant in any one of the dozens of lawsuits that were brought against the casino company.

These lawsuits are birthed out of the fact that the people running Atlantic Casino seem to have had no idea what they were doing, with the company having stopped paying its bill just a few months after it was founded. The company sold off its boat to pay debts to the marina and a consulting company, but as for the employees who never got paid — they were out of luck.

Their case was dismissed once it became clear that Atlantic Casino had no assets and would never be able to pay up.  Adrian Neiman Arkin, the Miami attorney who once represented the workers, commented morbidly that “generally in Florida, owners aren’t personally on the hook for anything. Most of these employees got nothing.

Remarkably, despite Cohen being one of Atlantic Casino’s founding partners, and not just some random guy who got latched onto the operation after its creation, he initially denied that he ever had anything to do with Atlantic Casino. Buzzfeed eventually presented to him copies of the documents showcasing Cohen’s 30% stake in the company.

The people who made up the rest of the company’s ownership and management team present more oddities beyond those of the financial escapades.

One of the associates of the Atlantic Casino management team was Tatiana Varzar, along with her husband, Michael. Michael was sentenced to 52 months in prison in the 1990s for his involvement in a massive tax evasion scheme that benefited some of New York’s most infamous crime families.

Another individual involved with the management team of Atlantic Casino — and, concurrently, with Michael Cohen — is Alvin Malnik. Malnik was both a client of the lawyer that helped draw up the paperwork to found Atlantic Casino and an associate of Cohen’s in other ventures in southern Florida.

Malnik was also a known associate of the mob. Vincent Teresa, a mob turncoat, told federal investigators that “it was a known fact among the criminal world that dealing with Al Malnik was the same as dealing with Meyer Lansky.”

Cohen currently occupies a prominent but unofficial position in the Trump Administration. As Trump’s personal lawyer, he’s close to the President, and has been instrumental in “negotiating complex foreign developments” in the description of Buzzfeed.

As Buzzfeed notes, considering these details from Cohen’s past helps to explain exactly why Trump likes him so much.

Featured Image via BRYAN R. SMITH/ AFP/Getty Images