Former President Donald Trump and his family company have a long history of making it difficult for contractors, but there is one bill they almost certainly wish they had paid.
In front of 2017 Presidential Inauguration, The Trump Organization has reserved a block of room at Loews Madison Hotel. When at least 13 people failed to show up, the Trump Organization refused to pay the bill, something it has done many times in the past. The company then dodged a credit collection agency and eventually got rid of it by pushing the $49,358 bill to the nonprofit presidential inaugural committee, the PIC.
That dodged payment is now the attorney general’s bottom line for the District of Columbia’s latest effort to get the Trump Organization back up and running. An investigation is ongoing on how the Trump kids use Presidential Inauguration Committee to organize their own lavish parties.
“It was their friends. It was never sent to the PIC. It is the misuse of capital. Is the Trump Organization involved in any way and requiring the PIC to pay any kind of balance on their behalf? It just doesn’t seem legit,” said Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who coordinated the opening events and is now the main government witness in this case.
Winston Wolkoff is no longer a friend of Trump. Although she stayed close to her family for over a decade and eventually became a “Trusted Advisor” to First Lady Melania Trump, there was a setback after Winston Wolkoff felt that the Trump White House had making her the scapegoat for her late inauguration. New York Times identified a company affiliated with her, WIS Media Partners, as the recipient of a whopping $26 million, and Winston Wolkoff subsequently overcame Justice Department resistance to publish her tell-all book summon Melania and I.
DC Attorney General Karl Racine continues to investigate how the inaugural committee allegedly missed out on more than $1 million and allegedly used it to essentially enrich Trump’s own company en route to the White House. And the Attorney General’s office is trying to recover from a courtroom failure late last year.
In November, DC Superior Court Judge José M. López apparently dropped the local attorney general’s investigation when he cut the Trump Organization out of the case. His reasoning, which surprised those who watched the case, was that the family company was not directly involved – although Don Jr., Ivanka, and other employees at the company’s New York office are doing a lot of paperwork. So he removed the Trump Organization from the lawsuit.
The November 8 judge’s order depends on the company’s claims that the Texas financier Gentry Beach There is no authority to list the Trump Organization as he pulls out his American Express credit card and makes a large and expensive booking. However, Beach is no stranger to the Trump Organization. He is a college friend of Donald Trump Jr. and carefully selected to serve on the nonprofit’s finance committee. He also given by journalists even before the inauguration as part of a nonprofit — directed by Eric Trump, Don Jr. and another wealthy Texan — apparently auctioning off access to the Trump home.
Since then, Racine’s office has filed documents with the court seeking to reverse that, pointing to numerous receipts and memos showing that even debt collectors would not be fooled when the Trump Organization found way out of this case.
In typical style of an aggressive collector’s agent, Campbell Hightower & Adams of Arizona began hitting the company with phone calls and emails in June 2017, picking up where the Loews Madison hotel had stopped.
One collector, identified only as “Sherie,” took notes as she repeatedly communicated with Don Jr.’s executive assistant, Kara Hanley.
“Unfortunately, this is not an agreement made by anyone at the Trump Organization. Best, Kara,” Hanley wrote on June 8.
“A contract was signed and then 13 people didn’t show up in the rooms you booked [sic] so under contract terms those rooms still have to pay. What am I missing? ‘ Sherie wrote back.
A few weeks later, Sherie informed the Trump Organization that she had just discovered that another executive assistant to Don Jr., Lindsey Santoro, had requested the original rooms and added Beach as the primary contact for the deal. . That information seems to reinforce that the company is indeed involved.
And when the hotel contacted the collection agency in July to ask for the bill to abruptly change the debtor listed to the “58th Presidential Inauguration Committee”—with a particularly eerie note saying… “Can’t say ‘Trump Organization'” – Sherie became suspicious.
“I hesitate because they all seem to be pointing fingers and making excuses as to why they are not paying and this seems to be another conspiracy so there is no name for the Trump Organization,” Sherie wrote back on July 10. .
Records show that the final bill was paid by the President’s Inaugural Committee at the direction of Rick Gates, an ally of the Trump political executive who served on the committee — and ultimately sat down. jailed for unrelated crimes investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller on Russia.
The AG of the District of Columbia hopes this evidence demonstrates that the Trump Organization should remain part of the lawsuit, which seeks to seize the money it believes to have misused and transfer it to another organization. other non-profit organizations. Otherwise, the civil investigation will only continue against PIC (no longer active) and Trump International Hotel Washington (where It’s on sale anyway).
In court filings, an attorney for the Trump Organization and Trump Hotel blasted the AG’s last attempt as “re-emphasised arguments” in search of “a few half-eaten apples.” On December 14, attorney Rebecca Woods reiterated that Don Jr.’s friend, Beach, had no express authority to execute the agreement. She also wrote that investigators should not be allowed to seek sworn testimony from him or Santoro, the executive assistant.
When approached by The Daily Beast, AG’s office outlined the arguments it made in court. Attorneys for the Trump Organization did not respond to a request for comment. The toll collection agency did not return the call on Friday.
Notably, none of these documents describe another layer of Trump Organization involvement: how the company’s chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg confusingly assumed responsibility for the financial audit of the nonprofit PIC. Last summer, DC . investigators want to interview him under oath, but then he charged with tax fraud in New York City.
The request of the local attorney general is now up to the judge — but this time it’s a different request. On New Year’s Eve, the case was turned over to DC Superior Court Judge Yvonne Williams, a former NAACP attorney appointed to the bench by President Barack Obama.