Russian investors seem to have a newfound ally in the current President of the United States, Donald Trump.
According to a Reuter’s review published March 17 of this year, “At least 63 individuals with Russian passports or addresses have bought at least $98.4 million worth of property in seven Trump-branded luxury towers in southern Florida.” This information is according to public documents, interviews and corporate records. While the President has a history of diminishing unflattering reports on himself, it is clear that public documents and corporate records are not “fake news.”
Since stepping into office last January, President Donald Trump has consistently denied any business relations in the country of Russia. Last month during a press conference, the President stated, “I can tell you, speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia.” The President would continue to close the door on any claims of his involvement in Russia by stating, “I have no loans in Russia. I don’t have any deals in Russia.”
The amount of money invested in the Trump brand is a life changing amount of money. This raises a number of questions, one being, who has the capability to invest large sums of cash into Trump property? Of the 63 Russian individuals investing in the Trump brand, “a former executive in a Moscow-based state-run construction firm that works on military and intelligence facilities, the founder of a St. Petersburg investment bank and the co-founder of a conglomerate with interests in banking, property and electronics” could be considered interesting to the average concerned American.
It should be noted that of these Russian investors, none appear to be in the inner circle of Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, do not let this news put your concerns to rest. According to the Trump administration, there is no wrongdoing on the part of President Trump in regards to business ties in Russia. I however disagree and urge my fellow Americans to do so as well.
“While the president has denied having invested in Russia, he has said little or nothing about Russian investment in his businesses and properties in the United States or elsewhere,” said Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA), ranking Democrat on the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee. “This should concern all Americans and is, yet, another reason why his refusal to release his tax returns should be met with considerable skepticism and concern.”
Without breaking the law, it is impossible to reveal the actual number of Russian’s investing in Trump business. The U.S Census data revealed that there are as many as 1,200 Russia-born residents in Sunny, Isle’s Florida. The actual number of Russian’s investing in Trump properties is not known since as many as one-third of the listed 2,044 units residing in the seven Trump residential towers were purchased through “limited liability companies”. A limited liability company allows the owners to conceal their identity.
Six of the seven properties stem from an agreement the New York property magnate reached in 2001 with father-and-son American developers Michael and Gil Dezer. The six buildings were operated by the Dezers in Sunny, Isles Florida. In order to bear the Trump name, a licensing agreement was reached. During an interview, Gil Dezer said, “The project generated $2 billion in initial sales, from which Trump took a commission.”
Because of a potential one to four percent commission rate on all properties sold in Sunny Isles, Trump potentially made between $20 million and $80 million on the Florida development.
The time for Donald Trump to release his tax returns was during the presidential election. The thought of a man using the White House in order to further expand his wealth is a scary one to say the least. Considering recent scandals and news stories linking President Trump and his administration to Russia, citizens of America should be very concerned.
One act that President Trump could easily make in order to put the concerns of fellow Americans at ease is a full release of his tax returns. President Trump has made it clear that he has no involvement in Russia. However, President Trump has failed to explain the popular interest that Russians seem to have in his American businesses. Given all the chaos that is surrounding our country some may be wondering what can I do? The character Deep Throat in All the President’s Men, said it best “Follow the money.”
John Piatelli can be contacted at email@example.com