I told you recently about a scrapped deal between Donald Trump’s business and Moscow for a massive Trump Tower project, with negotiations going on at the same time Trump was running for president.
CNN is reporting on details revealed in a recently obtained internal memo, describing the deal.
Around the time presidential candidate Donald Trump was touting his real estate dealings at a Republican primary debate, a proposal was in the works to build a Trump Tower in Russia that would have given his company a $4 million upfront fee, no upfront costs, a percentage of the sales, and control over marketing and design. And that’s not all: the deal included the opportunity to name the hotel spa after his daughter Ivanka.
An internal Trump Organization document from October 2015, obtained by CNN on Thursday, reveals the details of a 17-page letter of intent that set the stage for Trump’s attorney to negotiate a promising branding venture for Trump condominiums, a hotel and commercial property in the heart of Moscow. Trump signed the document later that month, according to Michael Cohen, his corporate attorney at the time. The document CNN obtained does not have Trump’s signature because it is a copy of the deal that Cohen brought to Trump to sign.
Keep in mind that this was going on while Trump was insisting that his company had no dealings with Russia, whatsoever.
He said this, knowing he was lying, and knowing everyone else knew he was lying.
Because he’s a lying liar who lies.
All throughout the primaries, Trump spoke with words of admiration for the Russian strongman, President Vladimir Putin, even while he was trashing the GOP, his opponents, and everybody else.
Everything Trump was saying about Russia and Putin (while insisting he had no dealings with Russia) was positive, and he pushed for a relationship that was directly opposed to the position of the American government and even his own party.
And he did it all while his company was in negotiations with Moscow.
The preliminary agreement for the Moscow project was signed by Trump on or around October 28, 2015, according to a statement Cohen gave last week to Congressional committees investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Also signing was Andrey Rozov, owner of I.C. Expert Investment Company, which would have been responsible for developing the property, which they hoped to build in the heart of Moscow.
The deal was that the Trump Organization would not fund the project, but would control the branding, and would control the management and appearance of the hotel and spa.
The preliminary deal indicated that Trump International Hotels Management LLC would manage the hotel portion of the tower, which was expected to feature a luxury fitness center and spa.
Trump’s company was explicitly given the option to “brand any or all portion of the spa or fitness facilities as ‘The Spa by Ivanka Trump’ or similar brand,” according to the document. And if they did name it after Trump’s daughter, then Ivanka or her designee would be given “sole and absolute discretion” to approve “all interior design elements of the spa or fitness facilities,” the document says.
Trump World Tower Moscow would feature 250 luxury condominium units, 15 floors of hotel rooms, as well as commercial and office space.
To say that the Trump company was not deeply involved in this proposal would be just flat out wrong.
They went into too much detail in the initial documentation, even though it was nonbinding.
If the parties reached a formal licensing deal, the Trump Organization would have received $4 million in upfront payments, including $1 million right away, according to the document. Another $1 million was slated for when a building location was approved, and the remaining $2 million would’ve been paid out when construction began or two years after the contract was signed — whichever came first.
Trump’s company would have received a cut of the profits from sales of condominiums and commercial space. There was a decreasing scale for what percentage of the condo sales the company would receive, based on the price of the unit. The scale started with getting 5% of condos costing up to $100,000.
Trump’s company would also be paid a percentage of other sales affiliated with the property, including commercial and office space and even “concessions, activity fees, catering, conferences and banquet fees,” according to the document. Another 2% of the tower’s gross operating revenue would be set aside to use for “coordinated sales and marketing efforts among all ‘Trump’ branded hotels.”
In other words, the Trump Organization was looking to make a lot of money from their involvement in Russia. There was a vested interest in making Russia out to be a friendly government, in spite of every assurance to the contrary.
Another question that arose was where would the Russian company get the money to fund the project?
Trump’s business associate, Felix Sater, said that he had arranged funding through VTB Bank, a Kremlin-owned bank, currently under sanctions from the U.S. government.
I.C. Expert Investment Company lists seven “banking partners” on its website, including VTB Bank. Three of the other banks are either partially or completely controlled by Russian government entities. The other three are private.
That’s pretty much the price for doing big business in Russia – you get in bed with the Kremlin, and very likely, Trump knew this before signing off on a letter of intent, just as he knew it when he lied to the American people while still only Candidate Trump, saying he had no dealings with Russia.