Prosecutor returns donation from lawyer in closed Trump case


Donlad Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump were reportedly nearly indicted on a felony fraud charge five years ago for deceptively advertising their hotel and condo development, but the case was suddenly dropped after a lawyer with deep pockets stepped in. Built over a cache of human remains, the 46-story complex never attracted as many foreign buyers as the Trump family had hoped, an inconvenient truth that didn't stop Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. from allegedly inventing cheerier sales numbers.

"I did not at the time believe beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime had been committed", Vance told ProPublica. "I have never made a contribution to anyone's campaign, including Cy Vance's, as a "quid-pro-quo" for anything".

The DA's office had been investigating allegations of securities fraud at the Trump Soho condo-hotel development in lower Manhattan when Kasowitz, who represented the Trumps, first made a $25,000 donation in and requested to meet with Vance. But according to a sworn affidavit by a Trump partner filed with the NY attorney general's office, Ivanka was outright lying: "by March of 2010, nearly two years after the press conference, only 15.8 percent of units had been sold", ProPublica writes-barely cracking the 15-percent the project needed to stay afloat.

One of the contributions, for $25,000, was returned in May 2012, just before Kasowitz met with Vance and two senior prosecutors to argue the Trumps had done nothing illegal. Asked to comment on the timeline, Vance noted that he returned Kasowitz's campaign donation before meeting with him. ProPublica, the New Yorker and WNYC jointly published an article on the dropped probe on Wednesday in which Vance also denied a connection.

That group of 20 House Democrats pointed to contacts Kushner failed to report initially, such as his meetings with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, Russian banker Sergey Gorkov, and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, the latter of which was also attended by then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump June 2016. In another email, they anxious that a reporter might be onto them. A source told Politico that they've been using it "daily" and "pretty much... since they got here". According to a sworn affidavit made by a Trump partner to the New York Attorney General's office, only 15.8 of units had been sold by March 2010. Trump Jr. told a broker in one message that no one would ever find out about those false statements because the deception was kept strictly within the Trump Organization, according to a person who saw the email.

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In short, emails show that the Trump children were intentionally using inflated and false figures about the pace of sales of the condos in an effort to lure more buyers.

In August 2010, some disgruntled buyers sued the Trump Organization in federal court, accusing the Trumps of "a consistent and concerted pattern of outright lies". The suit was subsequently settled, with the Trumps agreeing to return 90 percent of the buyers' deposits as long as the plaintiffs agreed to not coöperate with prosecutors unless they were subpoenaed.

"Vance defended his decision to drop the case with no conditions, even after Kasowitz offered a deal".

According to ProPublica, the Trump SoHo went into foreclosure in 2014, and only 33 percent of units have been sold, while a creditor has taken over ownership.