Donald Trump’s White House claimed developer Geoff Palmer lobbied the former president to pardon Miami developer Robert Zangrillo, whom federal prosecutors had charged in the college admissions scandal.
The Trump administration said the pardon was also supported by Colony Capital chairman Tom Barrack, but Barrack denied that, according to the Los Angeles Times. Trump granted the pardon in his final hours as president.
Palmer is an active political donor and a longtime supporter of Trump. As of October, his company had donated $6.4 million to candidates, committees, and superPACs affiliated with Trump and the Republican Party.
Prosecutors allege that Zangrillo paid associates of Rick Singer, the alleged mastermind of the admissions scheme, to finish his daughter’s high school and community college classes.
They alleged he then paid Singer $250,000 to get her into the University of Southern California as a recruit of the crew coach.
A spokesperson for Barrack said he “had nothing whatsoever to do” with the pardon. Barrack is an alumnus and university trustee of USC.
Another source told the Times that Zangrillo tried to meet with Barrack for help with the case, but was rebuffed.
A spokesperson for the school declined the comment on the pardon. Some at the school were outraged that Barrack’s name came up in relation to the scandal.
“I hope it’s true that a USC trustee, with a fiduciary duty to the university, played no role in securing a pardon for a wrongdoer whose actions have done so much harm to USC’s reputation,” said Ariela Gross, a law professor who chairs Concerned Faculty of USC. [LAT] — Dennis Lynch