President Donald Trump has minimized his business ties to Russia. But a Reuters analysis shows that 63 people with Russian addresses or passports have purchased $98.4 million of property at high-rise condos in South Florida bearing the Trump brand.
No wrongdoing by President Trump or his real estate organization emerged from the Reuters analysis, based on interviews, public documents and corporate records. None of the 63 buyers appears to have a close relationship with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
Alan Garten, chief legal officer of the Trump Organization, told Reuters that the result of its analysis is “an overblown story that is media-created.”
Reuters reported that 63 people with Russian addresses or passports bought 77 units at Trump-branded condominium developments in South Florida, mainly in Sunny Isles Beach.
The buyers acquired 64 units at two condominium developments in Sunny Isles Beach: 44 units at Trump Grande, 18201 Collins Avenue, and 20 units at Trump Towers, 16001 Collins Avenue.
Reuters also reported that Russian buyers acquired 13 units at Trump Hollywood, 2711 South Ocean Drive in Hollywood.
The Trump Organization advertises Trump Grande, Trump Towers and Trump Hollywood on its website.
In 2001, Michael Dezer and his son Gil Dezer reached a licensing agreement with Trump in to put his name on Trump Grande and Trump Towers, which have three condo buildings each.
Gil Dezer told Reuters the developments produced $2 billion in initial sales and Trump got a commission from the sales. He said a confidentiality agreement prevented him from disclosing Trump’s income from the developments.
Garten, the chief legal officer of the Trump Organization, declined to disclose Trump’s income from the Sunny Isles Beach condo projects, which he described as a mix of percentages and flat fees.
Miami developer Edgardo Defortuna said Trump probably collected commissions on the initial sales in a range from one percent to four percent, based on amounts commonly paid on sales of branded condo developments.
If Defortuna is right, Trump collected at least $20 million and as much as $80 million from the initial sales at Trump Grande and Trump Towers. [Reuters] – Mike Seemuth