Posts tagged with "The Trump Organization"

Air Force does pricey refuels in Scotland and crews layover at TrumpTurnberry—all on US voters’ dime

September 11, 2019

The Trump Organization and President Donald Trump, himself, were directly involved in developing a partnership between his Turnberry golf resort on the southwest coast of Scotland and Glasgow Prestwick Airport, The New York Times first reported this week.

The partnership, which began a year before Trump’s presidential campaign kicked off, worked to add TrumpTurnberry to a list of hotels used by the airport’s aircrew on stopovers— despite the fact that it is significantly farther away from the airport than other hotels used in a similar manner and has higher advertised prices, according to the Times.

What’s more, the president has arranged with the U.S. Air Force to refuel American aircraft—paying consumer prices for the fuel—at the Glasgow Prestwick Airport, a military maneuver that has not been approved by the Scottish government.

And the Air Force pilots and crew for those planes also are staying at the Trump Turnberry–on the dime of U.S. voters.

“We provide a full handling service for customers and routinely arrange overnight accommodation for visiting aircrew when requested,” the Prestwick airport said in a statement on Monday.

“We use over a dozen local hotels, including TrumpTurnberry, which accounts for a small percentage of the total hotel bookings we make,” it added.

The report comes amid controversy over U.S. military personnel staying at the resort while traveling through the airport in March, The Hill reported..

Trump has repeatedly denied involvement in the move, tweeting Monday, “I know nothing about an Air Force plane landing at an airport (which I do not own and have nothing to do with) near Turnberry Resort (which I do own) in Scotland, and filling up with fuel, with the crew staying overnight at Turnberry (they have good taste!) NOTHING TO DO WITH ME”

However, Air Force plane stops at Prestwick have increased from 180 in 2017 to 257 in 2018—and 259 so far, including 220 overnight stays, in 2019. That means lots of money is being made–both by the Trump resort and the airport.

Air Force officials could not tell the Times how many times crews had been sent to TrumpTurnberry specifically but said they are combing through vouchers to determine the exact count.

According to Natasha Bertrand, a reporter for Politico and an MSNBC contributor, the House Oversight committee has begun an investigation into whether U.S. military expenditures have been propping up TrumpTurnberry.

She says, “A peculiar refueling stop in Glasgow by a U.S. Air Force crew, who stayed overnight at the resort—there&back—tipped them off.’

What’s more, she tweeted, “One crew member was so struck by the choice of hotel—markedly different than the Marriotts and Hiltons the 176th maintenance squadron is used to—that he texted someone close to him and said the crew’s per diem allowance wasn’t enough to cover food and drinks at the ritzy resort.”

The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment.

Research contact: @TrumpTurnberry



Subpoenaed for his financial records, Trump sues; intends to be a ‘no show’

April 23, 2019

“I won’t show you mine, no matter how many other politicians show you theirs.” That’s the attitude of President Donald Trump–who started the week by suing House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Marylandd) in a last-ditch bid to block a congressional subpoena of his financial records, The Washington Post reported..

The lawsuit—which was brought on behalf of Trump and his company, The Trump Organization —seeks a court order to prevent Trump’s accounting firm Mazars USA from complying with what his lawyers, William Consovoy and Stefan Passantino, claim is an improper use of subpoena by congressional Democrats because it has “no legitimate legislative purpose.”

“Democrats are using their new control of congressional committees to investigate every aspect of President Trump’s personal finances, businesses, and even his family,” the filing by Trump claims. “Instead of working with the President to pass bipartisan legislation that would actually benefit Americans, House Democrats are singularly obsessed with finding something they can use to damage the President politically.”

The filing, in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, further escalates a clash between the White House and the Democratic-controlled House over congressional oversight.

Mazars said last week that it “will respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations.”

Lawyers for the president and the Trump Organization previously wrote in a letter to Mazars’ counsel that an expected committee subpoena “would not be valid or enforceable.”

In the complaint filed Monday, Trump’s lawyers argue that the subpoena of Mazars “lacks a legitimate legislative purpose,” The Washington Post reported.

“With this subpoena, the Oversight Committee is instead assuming the powers of the Department of Justice, investigating (dubious and partisan) allegations of illegal conduct by private individuals outside of government,” it says. “Its goal is to expose Plaintiffs’ private financial information for the sake of exposure, with the hope that it will turn up something that Democrats can use as a political tool against the President now and in the 2020 election.”

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Forbes: The president has shifted $1.3 million of campaign-donor money into his business

March 21, 2019

“I’m using my own money. I’m not using the lobbyists. I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich.”

That’s what now-President Donald Trump famously stated at the start of his campaign in June 2015; noting in a follow-up tweet, “By self-funding my campaign, I am not controlled by my donors, special interests or lobbyists. I am only working for the people of the U.S.!”

And he did largely finance his primary campaign. But after he was officially named the Republican nominee for president, his financing model changed. From July 2016 to November of 2016, outsiders contributed $234 million while Trump put up just $16 million.

And he has been “on the take” since then, according to a report by Forbes. In fact, the president has charged his own re-election campaign $1.3 million for rent, food, lodging, and other expenses since taking office, according to a Forbes analysis of the latest campaign filings.

Although outsiders have contributed more than $50 million to the 2020 re-election effort, the “billionaire” president has not handed over any of his own cash, Forbes says. The net effect: $1.3 million of donor money has turned into $1.3 million of Trump money.

Last December, Forbes first reported on the first $1.1 million that President Trump moved from his campaign into his business, The Trump Organization.  An accounting of the money goes as follows, according to the business news outlet:

  • The campaign put more than $800,000 into Trump Tower Commercial, the holding company through which Trump owns his interest in the original Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.
  • Trump Tower Commercial took in an additional $225,000 in rent from the Republican National Committee, which coordinated those payments with the campaign.
  • The campaign also has paid $54,000 to Trump Plaza, which controls a property that includes two brownstone apartment buildings in New York City. (The reason for those payments, which are listed as “rent,” remains unclear, according to Forbes.).
  • Trump Restaurants has received $60,000 in campaign funds (ostensibly, for a kiosk where tourists can buy T-shirts, hats and other 2020 campaign memorabilia).

Since then, his campaign has filed additional documentation, showing that it spent another $180,000 at Trump-owned properties in the final three months of 2018.

Regarding the Trump Tower rent, alone, Forbes said that campaign representatives did not respond to requests for comment, and an RNC official declined to answer questions on the payments—“leaving it unclear exactly how much space they leased inside Trump Tower.”

But it appears to be plenty, the news outlet said, noting that, “ Leading up to the 2016 election, the president’s campaign paid an average of $2,700 in monthly Trump Tower rent for every person listed in campaign filings as receiving a ‘payroll’ payment. The 2020 operation, by contrast, is shelling out an average of $6,300 in monthly rent for every such person.”

The rent for the tourist kiosk at Trump Restaurants also appears to be high. The Trump Organization did not respond to a list of questions, including whether the stand is in fact the basis for the payments and how many square feet it occupies. However, a Forbes reporter paced out the space to take a rough measurement of 60 square feet.

With monthly payments of $3,000, the magazine noted, that implies that the campaign is paying $600 per square foot in annual rent for the kiosk. By comparison, Forbes reported, Gucci rents prime space upstairs, along Fifth Avenue, for only $440 per square foot.

Whether the rent at any of these business locations has been misrepresented or not is a key question—because federal regulations allow candidates to put campaign money into their own businesses only if they pay going rates.

Finally, Trump’s 2020 campaign also has spent about $120,000 at the president’s hotel in Washington, D.C. The hotel has been the focus of an emoluments-related lawsuit by Maryland and Washington, D.C. plaintiffs, who claim that the president has used his luxury inn near the White House to unconstitutionally profit from his political office.

The president’s own spending at the hotel—and reimbursements from the campaign—probably will not be challenged. However, the money he has reaped from foreign diplomats who wish to gain favor by staying at the Trump International Hotel—and from U.S. politicians who hold dinners and events there—may come back to haunt him as the case moves ahead.

Research contact: @DanAlexander21