An excerpt from a newly published book that was recently published by The Guardian claims that Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump took part in an effort to deceive buyers in a condo project that they worked on together,
The author says that the situation was under a criminal investigation.
Back in 2017 the media outlet ProPublica reported that the siblings were being investigated by the Manhattan District Attorney in 2012. Prosecutors in the case had gathered a mountain of evidence to show that Trump Jr and his sister had lied to prospective buyers about the Trump SoHo project. Prosecutors had obtained a series of emails that showed the two talking about providing false information to investors.
However, the case took an odd turn when Cy Vance, who was the Manhattan District Attorney at the time gave the order to drop the case he had opened. It was later learned that the case was dropped shortly after Vance received a $25,000 campaign donation from a Trump lawyer.
The new book that details the scandal was written by ProPublica journalist Andrea Bernstein. The book “American Oligarchs: The Kushners, The Trumps and The Marriage of Money And Power,” is now available at bookstores across the nation. Amazon has the book listed as a “Bestseller.”
Donald Trump introduced the condo project back in 2006. He unveiled the project on an episode of his reality show “The Apprentice.” The project moved along slowly. By 2009 only between 15 to 30 percent of the units had been sold. When completed it was a 46-story-hotel-condo.
In 2008, The New York Times reported that Ivanka Trump had spoken with Reuters and stated that 60 percent of the units had sold. In 2009, Donald Trump Jr. Told Real Deal Magazine that 55 percent of the condos had been sold.
Buyers brought a lawsuit in which they alleged that Trumps had defrauded them by inflating their sales claims. Those claims resulted in Manhattan prosecutors opening an investigation.
Emails that were obtained in the probe “showed a coordinated, deliberate and knowing effort to deceive buyers,” Bernstein tells in her new book. “In one email, the Trumps discussed how to coordinate false information they had given to prospective buyers. Because the sales levels had been overstated at the beginning of the sales process, any statement showing a lower level could reveal the untruths.”
“In another email, according to a person who read them, the Trumps worried that a reporter might be on to them,” Bernstein wrote. “In yet another email chain that included Don Jr. and Ivanka, the younger generation of Trumps issued the email equivalent of a knowing chuckle, saying that nobody would ever find them out, because only people on the email chain or in the Trump Organization knew about the deception.”
Bernstein shares that an individual that read the emails told her that “there was ‘no doubt’ that the Trump children ‘approved, knew of, agreed to and intentionally inflated the numbers to make more sales.’”
“They knew it was wrong,” another individual shared with the author. “It couldn’t have been more clear they lied about the sales and knew they were lying.”
“Yet another said, ‘I was shocked by the words Ivanka used.’ Was there any doubt the Trumps knew they were lying and that it was wrong? ‘Ten thousand percent no,’” Bernstein wrote.
In November of 2011, the lawsuit was settled. Trump and the co-defendants in the case agreed to refund 90 percent of the $3.16 billion they had received in deposits. They refunded the funds with the guarantee that they did not have to admit to any wrongdoing.
In the agreement, prospective buyers were barred from cooperating with Manhattan prosecutors.
Bernstein spoke with Vance, who told her that “he had never before seen a letter where plaintiffs in a civil case asserted that no crime had been committed.”
The criminal investigation was dropped.
In 2017, Trump’s renamed the SoHo project The Dominick after The Trump Organization agreed to leave the project. At the time, Bloomberg reported that the Trump Organization’s exit gave new life to the projects sagging financial situation.