Trump pardons Zangrillo, Jemal, other real estate figures

In final hours in power, president grants clemency to 143 convicts and defendants

Robert Zangrillo and Rick Renzi with Donald Trump (Getty)
Robert Zangrillo and Rick Renzi with Donald Trump (Getty)

In his final hours in office, President Donald Trump granted pardons to dozens of friends, partners and executives, including several from the real estate world.

One went to Eliyahu Weinstein, who was sentenced to prison in 2014. He and his company, Pine Projects, were convicted for a Ponzi scheme that resulted in $200 million in losses. His jail sentence of 264 months was commuted, according to the New York Times.

Another was received by Miami developer Robert Zangrillo, who was charged as part of Operation Varsity Blues, a federal investigation that found affluent Americans cheating to get their children into colleges. Zangrillo allegedly conspired with a consultant to bribe athletic officials at the University of Southern California to designate his daughter as a recruit to the crew team. He received a pardon.

Head of A&H Acquisitions Alex Adjmi, who was arrested in 1993 and pleaded guilty to five felonies, also was pardoned. [See separate story here.] And Washington, D.C., developer Douglas Jemal, an older brother of Nobody Beats the Wiz founder Marvin Jemal, got a pardon for his 2006 fraud conviction. The elder Jemal, who hails from Brooklyn, is close to the Kushners, as he and Charles Kushner own neighboring homes on the Jersey Shore.

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The 73 convicts and defendants receiving clemency in Trump’s final 24 hours as president ranged from Steve Bannon, the former Trump administration chief strategist, to rapper Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., better known as Lil Wayne. The president spared venture capitalist and top Trump fundraiser Elliott Broidy, who was part of the 1MDB scandal, from punishment as well.

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Three former Republican members of the House, including Rick Renzi, who was sentenced in 2013 to three years for a bribery scheme involving an Arizona land swap deal, were in Trump’s pardon parade.

Trump also pardoned former Observer editor-in-chief Ken Kurson, who was charged in October with cyberstalking. The publication includes the real-estate supplement Commercial Observer, which Jared Kushner bought in 2006.

Recently, Trump pardoned Jared’s father Charles Kushner, the Kushner Companies patriarch who spent over a year in prison on charges including falsifying tax returns, making illegal campaign donations and retaliating against a witness.

[NYT] — Sasha Jones

Correction: Robert Zangrillo was charged, not convicted, as part of the Operation Varsity Blues investigation.