Manhattan DA dropped criminal case against Trump children. Then he received a big check

Marc Kasowitz’s donations to Cyrus Vance Jr. raise questions over 2012 decision

New York /
Oct.October 04, 2017 09:05 AM

Why did Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. abruptly drop a criminal case against Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump in August 2012? A new report suggests money may have something to do with it.

The DA’s office believed the Trump children repeatedly lied to condo buyers by inflating their sales success at the Trump Soho development, had solid email evidence to support it, and were deep into a criminal investigation, according to a joint report by ProPublica, the New Yorker and WNYC. Then, on Aug. 3, 2012, Vance dropped the case. The decision came four months after a private meeting between Vance and Trump’s personal attorney Marc Kasowitz.

A month after the decision, in September, Kasowitz contacted Vance’s campaign about hosting a fundraiser for his re-election that would raise $32,000 in January. He raised another $9,000 at another fundraiser in October 2013. And Kasowitz had also donated $25,000 to Vance in early 2012, although the DA returned that money prior to the meeting.

“We did the right thing,” Vance told the reporters. “Another five and a half months go by. Marc Kasowitz has no matter pending before the office for the Trumps or anybody else. It’s 2013 and it’s an election—and I welcome his support.” Still, Vance said he plans to return the donations.

“I don’t want the money to be a millstone around anybody’s neck, including the office’s,” he said.

The Trump Soho case goes back to 2008. Amid a tanking real estate market, the newly built Trump Soho at 246 Spring Street was struggling to find buyers for its hotel-condo units. Donald Jr. and Ivanka repeatedly claimed that more than 50 percent of units had been sold even though that figure was widely inflated. As The Real Deal has previously reported, inflating sales numbers can give buyers a false sense of what a unit is really worth.  It also violates the Martin Act, which regulates the sale of condos like securities.

Trump’s lawyers had long told prosecutors that Donald Jr. and Ivanka’s statements might have been exaggerations but did not rise to the level of criminality. They also framed the sales disputes as simple “buyers remorse.” In August 2010, some buyers sued the Trump Organization, eventually winning a settlement. Under the terms of the deal, they agreed to state that no law was broken and that they would only cooperate with a criminal investigation if subpoenaed.

Still, the report claims prosecutors were bullish on the case, largely because they had email evidence clearly showing that Donald Jr. and others in the company were aware they had lied to buyers. [WNYC]Konrad Putzier 


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
From left: One57 and HNA Group’s Chen Feng, 15 Hudson Yards, 188 E 64th Street and Barry Skolnick (Photos via Getty, StreetEasy, 15 Hudson Yards)
Luxury market hot streak rolls on as Hudson Yards and One57 condos find buyers
Luxury market hot streak rolls on as Hudson Yards and One57 condos find buyers
The $8.9 million Mill Basin property (Douglas Elliman)
Massive Mill Basin townhouse tops Brooklyn contracts
Massive Mill Basin townhouse tops Brooklyn contracts
Meet the 20-somethings funneling their crypto millions into real estate
Meet the 20-somethings funneling their crypto millions into real estate
Meet the 20-somethings funneling their crypto millions into real estate
Cohabs' CEO Youri Dauber and James Grasso (Twitter, LinkedIn)
European co-living company Cohabs plans $50M NYC expansion
European co-living company Cohabs plans $50M NYC expansion
 Jay Bialsky and 2 West Water Street in Sag Harbor (Getty, renderings via Bespoke Real Estate)
The drama behind Jay Bialsky’s $25M listing in Sag Harbor
The drama behind Jay Bialsky’s $25M listing in Sag Harbor
From left: 80 Columbus Circle with Robert Stiller and 737 Park Avenue with Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani (Photos via Google Maps, Agnovos, State of Qatar, Godsfriendchuck/Wikimedia)
Mandarin Oriental, 737 Park units sell at substantial losses
Mandarin Oriental, 737 Park units sell at substantial losses
Steve Cohen and 151 East 158th Street (Getty, Google Maps)
Steve Cohen’s $30M condo sells above asking — after a 74% cut
Steve Cohen’s $30M condo sells above asking — after a 74% cut
Nicole Oge, Casa Blanca founders Hannah Bomze and Erez Zaurer (Getty, Casa Blanca)
Former Elliman, WeWork marketing chief joins “Bumble for homes” startup
Former Elliman, WeWork marketing chief joins “Bumble for homes” startup
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...