According to a report from the Daily Beast, the Trump Organization -- and by extension Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump -- may have created another legal headache for themselves due to their history of not paying their bills.
As reported by the Beast's Jose Pagliery, Washington D.C, District Attorney Karl Racine is incorporating a dispute between the family's business and a D.C. hotel over an unpaid $49,358 bill into his investigation over the misuse of inauguration funds dating back to 2017.
At the center of the dispute was the Trump Org.'s refusal to pay for the block of rooms they booked at the Loews Madison Hotel after 13 people didn't show up -- which then led to the bill being sent to a collection agency.
According to Pagliery, that financial dispute put Trump and family back in the "crosshairs in an ongoing investigation into how the Trump kids used the Presidential Inauguration Committee to throw lavish parties of their own."
Lending credence to the charges is Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who helped coordinate the inaugural festivities and now is working with investigators.
According to Winston Wolkoff, "It was their friends. It should never have been sent to the PIC. That’s misuse of funding. The Trump Organization being involved in any way and getting the PIC to pay any sort of balance anywhere on their behalf? It just doesn’t seem legitimate."
While the bill was eventually "paid by the Presidential Inaugural Committee at the direction of Rick Gates," the investigation has turned up a series of communications that show that Don Jr.'s aides were in the loop over the fight over the money.
"In the typical fashion of an aggressive collections agency, Campbell Hightower & Adams in Arizona started bombarding the company with phone calls and emails in June 2017, picking up where the Loews Madison Hotel had left off," the report states. "A collector, identified only as 'Sherie,' jotted down notes when she repeatedly communicated with Don Jr.’s executive assistant, Kara Hanley," which led Hanley to deny the company had anything to do with the bill.
That, in turn, led to another Don Jr. aide to enter the conversation, with the report noting, "A few weeks later, Sherie notified the Trump Organization that she had just found out that yet another Don Jr. executive assistant, Lindsey Santoro, had initially requested the rooms and added [Don Jr. college buddy Gentry] Beach as the main contact for the deal. That information seemed to cement even further that the company was indeed involved."
According to the report, that raised red flags.
"The District of Columbia’s AG hopes this evidence proves that the Trump Organization should remain part of the lawsuit, which seeks to seize money it deems was misused and divert it instead to another nonprofit. Otherwise, the civil investigation would continue only against the PIC (which is no longer active) and the Trump International Hotel Washington (which is being sold anyway)," the Beast reports, adding, "When approached by The Daily Beast, the AG’s office pointed to the arguments it made in court. The Trump Organization’s lawyer didn’t respond to a request for comment. The collection agency didn’t return calls on Friday.
Notably, these documents described yet another layer of Trump Organization involvement: how company chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg puzzlingly assumed the responsibility of auditing the nonprofit PIC’s finances. Last summer, D.C. investigators wanted to interview him under oath, but he was then indicted for criminal tax fraud in New York City."
You can read more here.
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