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Tue Feb 13, 2018, 10:40 AM

Trump's Biggest Potential Conflict Of Interest Is Hiding In Plain Sight

Retweeted by David Fahrenthold: https://twitter.com/Fahrenthold

"The fact that in order to figure out how much a company is paying the president of the United States, you have to have some guy like me wandering around getting pestered by security guards and stuff. It's all absurd." – @DanAlexander21 to @AndreaWNYC



Open For Business

Feb 13, 2018

Last year, Trump's attorney Sheri Dillon made a promise to the country: The Trump Organization would donate all the profits its hotels collected from foreign governments to the U.S. Treasury. But what she didn't mention was what the president would do with the profits from his commercial tenants. According to Dan Alexander and Matt Drange in Forbes Magazine, that's where the real money is.

The two investigative reporters dug through financial documents, real estate websites and even measured off square footage in some properties with their feet to come up with a $175 million in commercial rent. That's the estimated amount that the president's company is collecting from "law firms that lobby the federal government, banks controlled by foreign states, and big media companies that cover Trump."

In this bonus episode of Trump Inc., Alexander tells WNYC's Andrea Bernstein how he uncovered these little-known payments to the president's company.

FEB 13, 2018 @ 07:10 AM

Trump's Biggest Potential Conflict Of Interest Is Hiding In Plain Sight

Dan Alexander , FORBES STAFF

This story appears in the February 28, 2018 issue of Forbes.


The largest American office of China's largest bank sits on the 20th floor of Trump Tower, six levels below the desk where Donald Trump built an empire and wrested a presidency. It's hard to get a glimpse inside. There do not appear to be any public photos of the office, the bank doesn't welcome visitors, and a man guards the elevators downstairs--one of the perks of forking over an estimated $2 million a year for the space.

Trump Tower officially lists the tenant as the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, but make no mistake who's paying the rent: the Chinese government, which owns a majority of the company. And while the landlord is technically the Trump Organization, make no mistake who's cashing those millions: the president of the United States, who has placed day-to-day management with his sons but retains 100% ownership. This lease expires in October 2019, according to a debt prospectus obtained by Forbes. So if you assume that the Trumps want to keep this lucrative tenant, then Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. could well be negotiating right now over how many millions the Chinese government will pay the sitting president. Unless he has already taken care of it: In September 2015 then-candidate Trump boasted to Forbes that he had "just renewed" the lease, around the time he was gearing up his campaign.

It's a conflict of interest unprecedented in American history. But hardly unanticipated. The Founding Fathers specifically built this contingency into the Constitution through the Emoluments Clause, which prohibits U.S. officials from accepting gifts, titles or "emoluments" from foreign governments. In Federalist 75, Alexander Hamilton framed the threat thus: "An avaricious man might be tempted to betray the interests of the state to the acquisition of wealth." Scholars have been debating what exactly constitutes an "emolument" since the moment Trump won the election, and nearly 200 congressional Democrats sued the president over possible violations in June. Much of the yammering in this area surrounds Trump's hotels, especially the one in Washington, D.C., which has billed $268,000 in hotel rooms and catering to the Saudi government, and his international licensing deals, which allow foreign tycoons and hucksters, many with connections to their local governments, to pay the Trump Organization more than $5 million a year in order to profit from the president's name in far-flung locales.

But that's all small potatoes. The real money in the Trump empire comes from commercial tenants like the Chinese bank. Forbes estimates these tenants pay a collective $175 million a year or so to the president. And they do so anonymously. Federal laws, drafted without envisioning a real estate billionaire as president, require Trump to publicly disclose the shell companies he owns--but not the hundreds of businesses pouring money into them or even the extent of the money involved.
....

With additional reporting by Deniz Cam, Angel Au-Yeung, Yinan Che and Humberto J. Rocha.

Do you know of a tenant at a Donald Trump-owned building that’s missing here? Let us know by emailing trumptenants@forbes.com. Prefer something more secure? Click here for details on how to send us information anonymously. Matt and Dan can be reached via Signal/WhatsApp, at 626-233-1063 and 614-214-8036, respectively.

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Reply Trump's Biggest Potential Conflict Of Interest Is Hiding In Plain Sight (Original post)
mahatmakanejeeves Feb 13 OP
Girard442 Feb 13 #1
Hermit-The-Prog Feb 13 #2
stuffmatters Feb 13 #3

Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Feb 13, 2018, 10:53 AM

1. The huge problem with corrupt societies is this: they do not work.

Companies that make useful things and provide needed services will be driven out of this country and replaced by those whose business model is kissing Trump's ass.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Feb 13, 2018, 12:18 PM

2. LOCK HIM UP!

Greedy scofflaw should be in prison for the rest of his natural life.

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Response to mahatmakanejeeves (Original post)

Tue Feb 13, 2018, 07:26 PM

3. So much important info in this post. TY!

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