December 15, 2018

Trump Organization fleeced Trump inaugural committee

Slate -The eleven-billionth Trump corruption story of the last 48 hours involves the Trump inaugural committee (which was a freestanding non-profit entity that raised money from corporations and rich folks) getting fleeced by the Trump Organization’s D.C. hotel:
During the planning, Ivanka Trump, the president-elect’s eldest daughter and a senior executive with the Trump Organization, was involved in negotiating the price the hotel charged the 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee for venue rentals. A top inaugural planner emailed Ivanka and others at the company to “express my concern” that the hotel was overcharging for its event spaces, worrying of what would happen “when this is audited.”
That’s from ProPublica and WNYC, which obtained emails between Ivanka, inaugural official Rick Gates (who’s since pleaded guilty to financial fraud and lying to investigators in another matter being investigated by Robert Mueller), and inaugural event planner Stephanie Winston Wolkoff. Wolkoff, a friend of Melania Trump’s, was flabbergasted at the price that the Trump hotel had quoted for potential use of its event space—and her previous experience includes events like the Met Gala mega-celebfest, so it’s not like she’s a Puritan when it comes to luxe party spending. The Wolkoff email that ProPublica obtained, moreover, was sent after Ivanka had already interceded to lower the Trump Org’s proposed price—and Wolkoff thought the new price was still twice as high as it should be.

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