Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, has been holding out against giving evidence in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Instead, he has remained silent. Now, Mueller has unearthed a tantalizing piece of information that just might pry him open.
Manafort is a long-time consultant to dictators, His job was to make villanous men more palatable to their publics. He played in the million-dollar field, sometimes winning, sometimes losing.
The shady consultant managed to manipulate $16 million to finance his own expensive homes out of a small bank owned by a Chicago man. The bank primarily serviced military veterans’ loans. Manafort’s loans constituted an unhealthy portion of the bank’s reservoirs, five percent according to federal banking records, so why did the owner do it?
Two NBC News sources said that Manafort offered the banker a White House job. He helped get Stephen Calk a position on Trump’s council of economic advisers in August 2016, but the deal was for a cabinet position.
Once the campaign chair’s millions of dollars in profit from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine began to surface, Manafort left the Trump political organization in August 2016. He left Calk empty-handed with no White House cabinet position.
That same day Manafort left the campaign, he started Summerbreeze, LLC, a holding company. It took a loan out on Manafort’s Bridgehampton home for $3.5 million. Although his name does not show up on financial records, the company gave Manafort’s Florida address as a contact with the Bridgehampton home as collateral.
Other officials at the bank questioned the bank loans, but at least one felt pressured into agreement. Now, that bank employee has been talking to Mueller’s investigators.
Manafort obtained three separate loans from Federal Savings Bank between December 2016 and January 2017. He used those loans to finance his homes in the very exclusive Hamptons and New York City.
Now, Mueller is investigating to determine whether this was a “quid pro quo,” a favor in exchange for something, agreement between Calk and Manafort.
It seems that Trump’s campaign chair had over-collateralized his over-market home loans for his bail. Unfortunately, they are in serious jeopardy of foreclosure, meaning Mueller can pressure the former campaign chair even further.
Federal prosecutors have “substantial evidence” of loan procurement through Manafort’s false representation. That include false income statement reports.
Mueller’s people told a federal judge:
‘We can proffer to the Court additional evidence related to this and the other bank frauds and conspiracies, which the Court may find relevant to the bail risk posed by Manafort.’
The way Manafort broke down the loans was Summerbreeze took a separate $9.5 million December loan with the Hamptons home as partial collateral. The Federal Savings Bank of Chicago, made that loan. The bank loaned Manafort and his wife mortgage loans for $5.3 million and $1.2 million to finance another home at 377 Union Street in Brooklyn, New York in January 2017.
Manafort bought the Brooklyn home for nearly half of that amount, $3 million.
The consultant to dictators filed a lawsuit against the Department of Justice, Mueller, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Featured Image via Getty Images/Joe Raedle.