It has long been rumored that money buys a lot of things for rich people that poor people can’t even dream of. As President Donald Trump bedecks his entire penthouse in gold-plated everything, including toilets, we look at such grandiose opulence with either an eye of longing or a sneer of disgust. Regardless, it is his money and how he spends it is no real concern to us “little people” at the bottom.
Until and unless it becomes a matter of buying children out of legal trouble. To subvert our legal system using bribes in any form is an illegal act. Yet, in Trump’s world, it is as commonplace as everyone else buying toilet paper.
In 2012, New York prosecutors and the Major Economic Crimes Bureau were preparing a case against the two oldest children, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump, Jr. involving their SoHo condominium project. The investigation had begun in 2010 with allegations stemming from the Trump children intentionally and knowingly misleading potential buyers of the luxury hotel/condos, inflating sales numbers to make more sales.
The entire case started as a civil complaint from several
suckers buyers who had purchased units in the building. The sales were contingent on the selling of at least 15 percent of the units by law under the Martin Act. In April 2008, a claim was made by the Trump children that 31 percent of the condos had been purchased. Then in an article published in The Real Deal, Donald, Jr. bragged that 55 percent of the units had been purchased. The number was inflated to 60 percent by June 2008, when Donald, Jr., Ivanka, and younger sibling Eric held a press conference at Trump Tower in Manhattan, where Ivanka boasted:
‘We’re in a very fortunate position, where we have enough sales and now we are strategically targeting certain buyers.’
That was all a bunch of lies. From a ProPublica report on the case:
‘According to a sworn affidavit by a Trump partner filed with the New York attorney general’s office, by March of 2010, almost two years after the press conference, only 15.8 percent of units had been sold.’
The civil cases were settled out of court, with ProPublica reporting:
‘The defendants agreed to return 90 percent of the buyers’ deposits, plus their attorneys’ fees. But they extracted a rare concession in return: The plaintiffs agreed not to cooperate with prosecutors unless they were subpoenaed. (Garten, the Trump Organization’s chief legal officer, noted that the settlement terms were confidential and declined to comment on them.)’
With the agreement that civil litigants would not cooperate with the prosecutors in the criminal case, the road got tougher for the MEBC, but the roadblocks were not insurmountable, and investigators felt they still had a strong case. One attorney for the buyers, who had been helping the prosecutors, after the settlement turned to aiding the Trumps. He penned a letter to the district attorney, Cyrus Vance, Jr. which stated, in part:
‘We acknowledge that the Defendants have not violated the criminal laws of the State of New York or the United States.’
Enter Mark Kasowitz, Donald Trump, Sr.’s personal attorney. Before arranging a meeting with Vance (skipping all the investigators and attorneys actually working on the case), Kasowitz made a $25,000 “donation” to Vance’s re-election campaign fund. Vance, in keeping with legalities, returned that donation before meeting with Kasowitz.
They met, they talked, and Kasowitz presented his case, asking that the charges and investigation be dropped. That meeting happened in early May 2012. Kasowitz waited and waited. Nothing happened. On August 1, he suggested a settlement, proposing that:
‘The Trump Organization would not admit to wrongdoing but would agree not to mislead people in the future and would submit to outside monitoring.’
But low and behold — prosecutors notified the Trump’s defense attorneys that the investigation was being dropped on August 3, 2012.
Shortly after that, Kasowitz rejoined the fundraising team of Vance, donating $32,000 of his own money to Vance’s re-election coffers and raising an additional $9,000 from other partners and employees in his firm. Then Kasowitz hosted a breakfast fundraiser that brought in another $9,000. While the donations were legal at that time because the case against the Trump children had been dropped, they still raised questions.
It is interesting to note that, according to two people, Kasowitz has been heard boasting that he had represented the Trump children in a case that was “really dangerous,” and that it was “amazing I got them off.” Kasowitz, of course, has vehemently denied making such claim.
According to the information contained in the ProPublica report, this has all the earmarks of money buying troublesome children out of legal issues. When the kids got in trouble, daddy sent his hatchet man in to save the day and get them off the hook.