Trump and The National Enquirer
The AP revealed a secret payment made by the National Enquirer to prevent a former Trump doorman from talking about an alleged Trump affair with an employee. We then wrote about the cache of Trump dirt the Enquirer bosses cleared out of a safe following the 2016 election, and about the Enquirer’s rough finances and ties to a New Jersey hedge fund. We also covered the Enquirer’s parent company’s strange foray into pro-Saudi propaganda.
Donald Trump’s 2020 campaign is off to an interesting start. Brad Parscale has teamed up with a penny stock firm with ties to a felon. That company was secretly hiring Cambridge Analytica alumni and then falsely denying it.
Paul Manafort’s Covert Lobbying
Paul Manafort was fired the from Trump’s campaign the day after we published a story contradicting Paul Manafort’s assertion that he and Rick Gates never brought their foreign political work back to the United States. This stuff led to the demise of the Podesta Group and a lot of trouble for Mercury Public Affairs and Skadden Arps. Later, we published a story confirming that some of the payments in the Black Ledger — which Manafort said was totally fabricated — were identical to wire transfers from Panama into Manafort’s bank accounts.
AP Exclusive: Before Trump job, Manafort worked to aid Putin
I obtained documents showing that Manafort had been working not just for Ukrainian political interests but Russian businessman Oleg Deripaska — and that the work had been pitched as explicitly meant to benefit both Deripaska and the Russian government. Deripaska’s libel suit against the AP has been thrown out of court.
I first wrote about Trump Panama in the summer of 2015, looking at how Trump’s management company had been fired after it ran the finances of a Panamanian luxury high rise into the ground. Trump got fired amid allegations of mismanagement and skimming – but that was just the start. The AP broke every development and physical brawl until Trump’s name got stripped with a crowbar from what is now a Marriott property.
Tale of Trump and partner in Azerbaijan real estate project
The New Yorker later covered this same development deal in much greater detail. We used it as a jumping off point to show that Trump’s due diligence process can sometimes miss things, such as whether his partner’s a strangely wealthy son of a government minister with alleged ties to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
Trump took $17 million in insurance for damage few remember
A hurricane hit Mar-a-Lago, and insurance paid out $17 million. Yet there is little indication in Palm Beach building permit records or Mar-a-Lago members’ memories that serious damage ever occurred.
Trouble remains following failed for-profit schools’ revival
The supposed remake of Corinthian Colleges as a non-profit didn’t change much. The Education Department fired Zenith Education Group’s independent monitor in response to this story.
Morgan Stanley pushed murky Chinese stock to market
Morgan Stanley’s Asian private equity arm invested in a Chinese chemical company, took it public with a $8 billion valuation, and then sold it off to global investors through an IPO. We wrote about some problematic elements of the company’s operations, finances and public reporting. Its stock was frozen a few months later, and it has never resumed trading.