Politics - News Analysis

New York Prosecutors Believe Ivanka Trump Skimmed Millions From The 2016 Inaugural Fund

A new government lawsuit filed in January alleges that Ivanka Trump illegally over-billed the non-profit Inauguration Committee to bilk expenses and benefit the Trump family. It doesn’t take an FBI agent with 30 years of experience to see that all that money pouring in, over $114 million for an inauguration committee, a number that vastly exceeded all previous inauguration funding, despite this being a smaller party. Rumors circulated that much of the money originated outside the United States, which operated as a big red light. Apparently that strobing right light proved too difficult to ignore, and the investigations started.

In the civil complaint, Attorney General Karl Racine charged the Trump inaugural committee and the Trump Organization with using around $1 million of charitable funds to improperly enrich the Trump family.

I suppose the Trumps believe they are a charity. They always seem to vacuum money meant to go to a good cause. To them, there is no “better cause” than newer clothes, vacations, furniture, etc.

An experienced event planner who was working for the inaugural, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, raised concerns directly with Donald and Ivanka Trump that the Trump International Hotel in Washington was trying to overcharge the inaugural committee.

Someone who cares about what is legal versus illegal attempted to intervene and warn Don and Ivanka. Winston-Wolkoff probably knew better than anyone that this was standard practice for the Trumps, and if memory serves, she knew she best leave a trail of evidence proving she wasn’t doing this on her own volition or for her own enrichment. (She got plenty rich anyway).

At the center of the complaint is a four-day rental agreement for the downtown Washington hotel’s ballroom and adjacent spaces. The hotel, and by extension the Trump family, was paid far above market rate, according to internal documents the attorney general obtained by subpoena.

One of the oldest and most reliable ways to move money untracked through from an illegal source, directly to the pockets of the people who intended to receive the money, is for the payee to charge the payor double, triple, the rates for which the rooms would normally rent, and then pocket the difference between the “high end” rate paid by friends, versus those charged during regular events. That money is nothing but a pass through and when done brazenly enough can constitute fraud, or an illegal contribution.

Winston Wolkoff was the one attempting to warn Ivanka about charging too much. Ivanka likely cares for laws as much as daddy does and knew the price would be met.

This particular article doesn’t even get into the most unseemly practices that have been alleged. There are allegations that the committee paid an ungodly rate for services to Winston-Wolkoff, a very good friend of Melania, close to $24 million if memory serves (Winston-Wolkoff has the ring of someone who is comfortable dealing in large amounts of money and someone willing to look the other way on highly lucrative pay structures.) Let’s stipulate that over $20 million was paid to Winston-Wolkoff for her services provided for this 4-5 day event, and questions remain as to why such an extravagant payment went to Winston-Wolkoff, with many believing that she and her 6 week old company were nothing but a pass-through to Donald Trump.

Astounding.

With a straight face, they still walk around discussing the impossibly corrupt Bidens, while evidence of Trump corruption is everywhere. If New York State, and the DC prosecutor (both state jurisdictions outside the oversight of the federal court) investigate this properly, this could be yet another breaking criminal charge set to go off in the last summer of 2020 – perhaps October. Surprise!

Peace, y’all

Jason

[email protected] and on Twitter @MiciakZoom

meet the author

Nicole James is a lifelong Democrat and political activist who first cut her teeth as a teenager volunteering for Mike Dukakis’ presidential campaign. She has worked and volunteered for John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, HFA (Hillary For America) and Organizing For Action. She’s passionate about liberal and progressive causes, and considers President Obama her most favorite president ever. She holds her Bachelor’s from Boston College and her Master’s from Columbia University, both in Economics. When not working as a writer, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her three college-aged children.

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