Politics - News Analysis
Well, Well, Well: Trump and Ivanka Already Tied Up in the Middle of a Serious Criminal Investigation
It is damned hard to own a giant building in mid-town Manhattan (5th Avenue, no less), fly around in your own personal 757 and helicopters, have the whole gold toilet things (I mean, really?), and barely pay any taxes, a business practice for which Trump has a unique talent. The first thing you want to do if this is your goal is to lose one hell of a lot of money every year. From what the NYT has seen of Trump’s taxes, Trump is the Leonardo da Vinci of losing money, he does it as naturally as inhaling Big Macs or other stuff. It is one skill in which he can say “NO one has ever seen someone do what I did, it’s unbelievable – believe me,” and he might well be right. The other thing you want to do is cheat and he seems pretty good at this, too.
New York City criminal prosecutors and NY State civil investigators are honing in on a particular move made by Trump and Ivanka just prior to becoming president and it involves Trump projects in Hawaii and Vancouver Canada. According to the New York Times, the Trump organization paid a consulting firm – T.T.T. LLC (how cute, it rhymes!) 747,000 and change to “consult” on the project.
Now, you know it’s fishy already because Trump actually paid the bill. A red flag if we’ve ever seen one. But where it crosses the event horizon from fishy to possibly criminal is when one learns that T.T.T. LLC is primarily owned and controlled by Ivanka Trump. No problem, nothing against the law in paying a family member to consult on a project and write it off as an expense. Except, Ivanka is also an officer employed by the Trump Organization, the company that paid her. That’s a problem, indeed that can be a crime on paper – harder to defend.
Ivanka has partially admitted it in her financial disclosures upon joining the White House. From the Times:
On a 2017 disclosure she filed when joining the White House as a presidential adviser, she reported receiving payments from a consulting company she co-owned, totaling $747,622, that exactly matched consulting fees claimed as tax deductions by the Trump Organization for hotel projects in Hawaii and Vancouver, British Columbia
And so now we’re starting to get a sense as to why Trump went to the SCOTUS to keep his taxes hidden. After all, this one is recent and practically sticks out like a gold toilet and happened while Trump was considering a run for president. Who knows what’s buried deeper in years past in more complicated transactions, when Trump was considering a run for illicit money? Regardless, subpoenas have gone out for more records on the matter and some small explanations.
To be fair, a tax adviser to the Trump Organization said: such consulting fees were not uncommon. That is undoubtedly true and yet drug deals for a dime bag aren’t uncommon, either – and yet they’re still against those pesky laws, and no matter how “common,” getting caught sucks because you usually can’t talk your way out of them, no matter how pretty the criminal. (Alright, we’ll admit, being pretty helps even in that matter). The point is that you will note that the tax guy said “not uncommon,” he didn’t say “legal,” and as we just demonstrated, there is a technical difference.
What is the big deal? It’s just business, right? Well, walk into a bank tomorrow say you have a gun, say you want all the cash, collect it and run. You’ll probably come out with a few hundred thousand. You will be arrested even though that’s fairly common too, too – and yet people go to prison. Trump basically did the same thing. Instead of paying $747,000 in taxes, he paid nothing, and Ivanka got her check. Trump basically stole 747,000 from the bank, Ivanka kept it.
But the bigger questions are going to center around how a guy that simply never seems to make money can live the lifestyle he lived. Yes, a lot of it was like having a $500 million credit card that’s maxed out and paying the $30 million payment each month but there’s more going on and that’s where one’s going to look at Deutsche bank and why they were giving Trump absurd loans even though he specialized in losing money. Who backed those loans and who really owns the properties Trump bought with the money? If someone else actually owns those properties (even if not written down anywhere, that money is suddenly clean. It’s just on Trump to get it back.)
One reason Trump might be so subservient to those people to the east is that by being nice and doing what they want, he may avoid some of those $30 million payments on those credit cards. Drawing down NATO troops and treating NATO like it’s a pain in the ass might be worth $100 million to certain people.
Anyway, that part is speculation. The willingness to so brazenly pay your own executive a “consulting fee” and write it off is both a big problem and may well be symbolic of the fact that Trump was willing to do a LOT of illegal things to keep losing money and yet “be so rich.”
We knew the meat of this problem a few weeks ago and reported on it. But today the Times said subpoenas just went out. Things are getting real, about sixty days from Trump’s freedom, from government employment restrictions. At which point he’s going to have a little work to do on keep his other freedom.
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