Witkoffs talk inauguration, presidency over lunch in DC

Howard Lorber, Nicholas Mastroianni also stopped by the Café du Parc on Thursday

Jan.January 20, 2017 07:30 AM

The Witkoffs had just flown into Washington, D.C., on their private plane and sat down to lunch at the Café du Parc.

Developer Steve Witkoff’s sons, Alex and Zach, were sorting through packets of various credentials and tickets for inaugural events. They were all planning to attend a candlelight dinner at Union Station Thursday night, a private event for donors to Donald Trump’s inauguration committee.

“He’s been a friend of mine for 30 years, and it’s going to be a very proud moment for me seeing him sworn in,” Steve Witkoff said over bread. “I think the country was looking for a real change where someone would finally make decisions. One thing I know about Donald Trump is he’s a decision maker.”

Witkoff believes New York City real estate will benefit from Trump’s policies, especially if he repeals Dodd-Frank. The law was enacted after the 2008 financial crisis to, among other things, protect against predatory lending and has made it more difficult for banks to invest directly in real estate and CMBS. Experts say it will be difficult for Trump to entirely gut the legislation.

“I think New York City real estate benefits the minute Dodd Frank is defanged, disembowled,” he said over salmon. “Finally we’ve got the loudest voice out there, President-elect Trump, saying it’s got to go.”

“Regulation is so excessive, it’s making it difficult to conduct ordinary course of business,” Alex Witkoff added.

US Immigration Fund CEO Nicholas Mastroianni and Vector Group head Howard Lorber also stopped by the table. Lorber had just returned from a luncheon at the nearby Trump International Hotel, where the president-elect spoke. Witkoff asked how Trump seemed, and Lorber relayed that their friend was “good” and “excited.” Lorber said he’ll be sitting behind the president-elect during the swearing-in ceremony. Witkoff’s sons pointed out that it’s supposed to rain during the ceremony and those sitting closest to the president can’t have an umbrella.

The discussion at some point turned to the fact that the Witkoffs seemed to be missing their credentials for the Inaugural Liberty Ball.

No matter, everyone seemed to agree: perhaps a call to Charlie Kushner could help sort it out.

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