Businesses tied to President Donald Trump’s family and associates stand to receive as much as $21 million in government loans designed to shore up payroll expenses for companies struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to federal data released Monday.
A hydroponic lettuce farm backed by Trump’s eldest son, Donald Jr., applied for at least $150,000 in Small Business Administration funding. Albert Hazzouri, a dentist frequently spotted at Mar-a-Lago, asked for a similar amount. A hospital run by Maria Ryan, a close associate of Trump lawyer and former mayor Rudy Giuliani, requested more than $5 million. Several companies connected to the president’s son-in-law and White House adviser, Jared Kushner, could get upward of $6 million.
There’s no ban on businesses connected to Trump’s orbit receiving money. Democrats added a provision to the CARES Act excluding government officials and their family members from receiving some bailout funds, but not those from the PPP.
The firms sought funding under the Paycheck Protection Program, one of the Trump administration’s sweeping pandemic relief efforts. Created in late March by the CARES Act, it allowed small businesses — generally, those with fewer than 500 employees — to apply for loans of up to $10 million. The loans can be forgiven if used to cover payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities. […]
The New York Observer, the news website that Kushner ran before entering the White House and is still owned by his brother-in-law’s investment firm, was approved for between $350,000 and $1 million, data shows. A company called Princeton Forrestal LLC that is at least 40 percent owned by Kushner family members, according to a 2018 securities filing, was approved for $1 million to $2 million. Esplanade Livingston LLC, whose address is the same as that of the Kushner Companies real estate development business, was approved for $350,000 to $1 million. The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The loans to Kushner-related companies were first reported by The Daily Beast.
In addition, up to $2 million was approved for the Joseph Kushner Hebrew Academy, a nonprofit religious school in Livingston, N.J., that’s named for Jared Kushner’s grandfather and supported by the family.
In April, a bank approved a loan of between $150,000 and $350,000 for the Pennsylvania dental practice of Albert Hazzouri, who golfs with Trump and frequents Mar-a-Lago, the president’s private club in Palm Beach, Florida. In 2017, Hazzouri used his access to the president to pass him a policy proposal on club stationery on behalf of the American Dental Association. He addressed the note to Trump “Dear King.” […]
Firms tied to the president’s children also stand to benefit from the program. A small indoor lettuce farming business applied for funds between $150,000 and $350,000, SBA data show. Trump Jr. had invested in Eden Green Technology, a vertical farming company just south of Dallas, whose co-chair, Gentry Beach, was a Trump campaign fundraiser. […]
Monday’s list included a Manhattan law firm whose marquee attorney has fiercely defended Trump for almost two decades. Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP — whose managing partner, Marc Kasowitz, was at one point the president’s top lawyer in the special counsel’s Russia investigation — was set to receive between $5 million and $10 million from Citibank, data show. (The largest loan a company could seek was $10 million.)
Once dubbed the “Donald Trump of lawyering” by The New York Times, Kasowitz represented Trump in the Trump University fraud lawsuit. and during the 2016 campaign he helped keep Trump’s 1990 divorce from being unsealed. ProPublica reported three years ago that Kasowitz bragged to friends that he made between $10 million and $30 million per year. […]
The loans helped a hospital executive tightly linked to another Trump attorney and confidant, Rudy Giuliani. Cottage Hospital, a 25-bed critical access facility in Woodsville, New Hampshire, received between $2 million and $5 million in PPP loans. The hospital’s CEO, Maria Ryan, is a longtime close associate of Giuliani’s.
July 6, 2020
In November 2018, Trump came under fire for writing an unfettered defense of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, littered with exclamation points, over the killing of Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. But according to Bolton’s book, the main goal of the missive was to take away attention from a story about Ivanka Trump using her personal email for government business.
“This will divert from Ivanka,” Trump said, according to Bolton’s book. “If I read the statement in person, that will take over the Ivanka thing.”
June 17, 2020
The Daily Beast
Donald Trump Jr.’s hunting trip to Mongolia last year cost taxpayers at least $75,000, far more than the government initially disclosed, according to a new report from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). The president’s son flew to the Central Asian nation in August 2019 to hunt endangered argali sheep, the largest in the world. The total for the trip was $76,859, which included Secret Service protection, travel, and agents’ accommodations with the ritzy Marmara International camping service. The Secret Service initially told CREW the trip cost roughly $17,000, an underestimate of $60,000. That cost doesn’t encompass the whole trip, though, as it does not include Don Jr.’s stop in Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar to meet with Mongolian president Khaltmaagiin Battulga.
June 9, 2020