His friends were telling reporters just last month that federal investigations were “bankrupting” him, but legal fees haven’t held Michael Cohen back from buying a $6.7 million luxury condominium in Manhattan.
President Trump’s campaign had been covering Cohen’s legal fees regarding the Russia collusion investigation, but the former personal attorney to the president has been on his own dealing with inquiries by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, an investigation with focuses that include payments made to a pornographic actress who alleges she had an affair with Trump. Meanwhile, Cohen’s taxi business has almost certainly taken a huge hit as medallion prices have faltered with the rise of ridesharing.
Despite this, Cohen, who sold a home at Trump World Tower for $3.3 million last year, evidently has cash to burn. To finance the new 19th-floor, 2,700-square-foot apartment, he’s relying on a mortgage from the new building’s developers, Steve Witkoff and Howard Lorber, who are both close confidants of and regular donors to Trump. The Journal reported they will provide Cohen a $3.5 million mortgage. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District’s current investigation into Cohen is said to include possible bank fraud.
The Journal also reported that Cohen was on the clock to make the purchase happen as to avoid a “tax event” stemming from the Trump World Tower sale. The need to roll over the proceeds from the sale into a new purchase is part of the protocol for completing a 1031 exchange, a tax loophole that allows investors to defer taxes on real estate sales by quickly reinvesting the funds into a new asset. 1031 exchanges, however, are not legal for primary residences and can only be used for investment properties.
Though he’s lately been living at the Loews’ Regency Hotel in Manhattan, Cohen’s primary home is at 502 Park Avenue, which he recently put up as collateral against outstanding taxi business-related debts. [WSJ] —Will Parker