The Real Deal New York

Banker questioned over Manafort loans was business partners with Howard Lorber

Deal soured and lawsuit is ongoing
July 26, 2017 11:55AM

From left: Paul Manafort, Howard Lorber (Credit: Getty Images) and Stephen Calk

A banker who is being questioned about real estate loans his company provided to Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign manager, is also quietly duking it out with Howard Lorber over a business relationship that went sour.

Stephen Calk, CEO of the Federal Savings Bank and a member of Trump’s economic policy team, had signed an agreement with Lorber’s Douglas Elliman in 2014 to send the brokerage business. Douglas Elliman’s parent company, the Vector Group, also provided Calk’s bank with a “seven-figure infusion,” according to court documents first reported on by Bloomberg.

But within a year, Lorber ended the deal and signed a new agreement with Citizens Financial Group. Calk sued Citizens, claiming that two employees had diverted business to the bank. Despite the lawsuit, Lorber and Calk worked together on Trump’s advisory panel. Calk’s relationship with Douglas Elliman CEO Dottie Herman also appears to have remained cordial.

Calk’s bank provided a $9.5 million loan to an LLC connected to Manafort in December 2016, and then two more loans to Manafort’s wife totaling $6.5 million the next month, according to Bloomberg. Those loans made up 23.5 percent of the bank’s total capital. Federal and state authorities are investigating Manafort’s real estate deals. [Bloomberg] — Kathryn Brenzel