Monday, October 31, 2022

the last book I ever read (Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America, excerpt six)

from Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America by Maggie Haberman:

Most banks had stopped lending to Trump after his run of bankruptcies, in a way that effectively made it impossible for him to build on the scale he had in the 1970s and ’80s. There was one major exception: Deutsche Bank, a lesser player on Wall Street that was willing to take on heightened risk in order to build up its presence in the United States. In order to borrow, Trump agreed, once again, to personally guarantee his loans, which put him on the hook when they came due years later. When Trump in 2006 suddenly paid more than $10 million in cash to buy a huge patch of land in northeast Scotland, his mother’s native country, with the goal of building a golf resort, it wasn’t clear where he had come up with the money to do so.

The Trump SoHo, on which ground was broken that same year in Lower Manhattan, was more typical of his new projects. Trump did not invest any of his own money in the 391-room condominium and hotel, instead offering his name and deploying his eldest son and daughter to serve as liaisons to a new demographic to which Trump wanted to appeal, in exchange for an 18 percent equity stake. The majority partner was the Bayrock Group, a New York real estate firm known to be led by the Soviet-born investors Tevfik Arif and Felix Sater. The latter had an especially notable background: Sater had been convicted for both first-degree assault (shoving a broken margarita glass into a man’s face) and fraud (a pump-and-dump penny-stock scheme involving the Genovese crime family) before becoming a government informant. He maintained an office at Trump Tower and a business relationship with its namesake that he said was more than cordial. The building they erected together would be the final one constructed in New York with Trump’s name.

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