Trump Org Reportedly Seeking Debt Help From Deutsche As Bank Is Probed By DOJ

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Former White House ethics chief Walter Shaub called it the “absolute nightmare” he has warned against.

In another tangled ethics situation for Donald Trump, the president’s Trump Organization is reportedly asking to postpone its loan payments to Deutsche Bank — which is being investigated by the Department of Justice to determine if it complied with anti-money laundering regulations.

The situation highlights the unique power of Trump as president to maneuver a deal for his business hurt by the COVID-19 crisis, particularly with a bank under investigation by his own administration.

Trump did not divest from his businesses when he moved into the White House as other presidents have done to avoid conflicts of interest. The current scenario is the “absolute nightmare that someone (ahem) warned about” when Trump took office, tweeted Walter Shaub, the former head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics under both Barack Obama and Trump.

The Trump Organization has been hit hard amid the coronavirus pandemic as consumers slash their stays in hotels and trips to golf resorts. The company has laid off or furloughed some 1,500 employees in several hotels, The Washington Post reported. As of Friday, 17 of the Trump Organization’s hotels and clubs were closed, according to the Post. The shuttered operations amounted to some $650,000 a day in lost revenue, the newspaper reported.

Loans from Deutsche Bank, the Trump Organization’s biggest creditor,  have reportedly been used for Trump’s Chicago Tower, the Trump National Doral Miami golf resort — which is now shuttered — and his Washington, D.C., hotel, which has closed its bar and restaurant, The New York Times reported. The loans are backed by a personal guarantee from Trump himself, according to the Times. Deutsche Bank has loaned the Trump Organization some $2 billion since 1998, and there are currently an estimated $350 million in loans outstanding, the newspaper reported.

Trump Organization representatives reached out to Deutsche Bank’s private banking unit in New York last month for preliminary talks to discuss new loan arrangements, according to the Times. Company officials are also taking to Palm Beach County about delaying payments of rent owed on land leased from the county, the Post reported.

David Enrich, a Times business reporter who recently authored a book on Deutsche Bank, “Dark Towers,” told NPR that the bank has been “worried” about a situation like this.

Bank officials are now “forced to choose between doing what seems like it’s financially right for the bank and for its regulators, versus doing what’s right to protect the relationship with someone who has the ability to inflict enormous damage on the institution if he is so inclined,” Enrich explained.

This “highlights for ... the umpteenth time here, the perils of having someone in the Oval Office who ... owns huge swaths of businesses and has refused to divest” from them, Enrich noted. “It a very tricky, messy situation.”

Deutsche Bank is currently being investigated by the Justice Department over whether it failed to report suspicious activity that may have been linked to money laundering, the Times and Reuters have reported. A bank whistleblower said that she flagged transactions involving Jared Kushner’s family business and Trump’s former charitable foundation — since closed amid an ethics investigation — for suspicious activity in 2016 and 2017. But the whistleblower said the bank never reported her suspicions to authorities. Trump and a representative of Kushner Cos. have denied any wrongdoing.

The bank, which was linked to a massive $20 billion money-laundering operation headquartered in Russia, paid millions of dollars in fines last year to the U.S. and Germany for other corruption and compliance violations. It’s also at the center of a court battle as the House of Representatives seeks to obtain its records on Trump’s loans.

Neither the Trump Organization nor Trump have commented on his business problems and possible debt rearrangement. But son Eric Trump, who helps manage the Trump Organization, told the Times: “These days everybody is working together. Tenants are working with landlords, landlords are working with banks. The whole world is working together as we fight through this pandemic.”


Andrew Cuomo: China Sending 1,000 Ventilators To New York

The governor said the Chinese government was sending the ventilators as the state faces a shortage of medical equipment amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is seen during a press conference at the field hospital site at the Javits Center on March 30 in New York C

The Chinese government is facilitating the shipment of 1,000 ventilators to the state of New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday.

The ventilators are expected to arrive at John F. Kennedy International Airport the same day. The state of Oregon is also donating an additional 140 ventilators to New York.

“This is a big deal and it’s going to make a significant difference for us,” Cuomo said at a press conference.

“Also, the state of Oregon contacted us and is going to send 140 ventilators, which is, I can tell you, just astonishing and unexpected,” Cuomo said. “And I want to thank Gov. [Kate] Brown, I want to thank all of the people in the state of Oregon for their thoughtfulness.”

As New York scrambles to set up makeshift morgues to deal with the growing number of dead bodies, Cuomo says the state is expecting to hit its peak of the crisis in the coming week.

Also on Saturday, the governor announced plans to sign an executive order that would allow medical students in the state who were slated to graduate this spring to begin practicing now. The new graduates are expected to respond to a staff shortage in hospitals and medical centers in the state.

“Nobody can tell you the number at the top of the mountain,” Cuomo said of the total number of expected deaths at the peak of the pandemic.

As of Saturday, 3,560 people in the state had died from the virus and there were 113,704 confirmed COVID-19 cases. However, two-thirds of people who had been hospitalized after reporting symptoms have since been discharged.

There were a total of 7,826 deaths and 297,575 cases in the U.S. as of Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins’ coronavirus resource center.

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Trump Organization has laid off about 1,500 employees as pandemic hits business

The coronavirus pandemic has forced borrowers and lenders across the globe to discuss ways to pay debts

With most of U.S. President Trump’s hotels and clubs closed amid stay-at-home orders around the world, the Trump Organization has responded by cutting costs, like other companies in the hospitality and tourism industries.

The family business of President Trump is also in informal discussions with Deutsche Bank AG about delaying some loan payments as the coronavirus forces widespread disruptions to the economy, Bloomberg reported Friday.

Trump Organization representatives reached out to the Deutsche Bank’s private banking unit in New York late last month and the talks are ongoing, according to the New York Times.

The global coronavirus pandemic has forced borrowers and lenders across the globe to discuss ways to pay debts while admitting the huge pressure on company bottom lines. But the request from the Trump Organization is especially delicate after Deutsche Bank decided to keep Trump’s business dealings at arms length when he took office.

The Trump Organization has laid off or furloughed employees at hotels in New York, the District of Columbia, Miami, Chicago, Las Vegas, Vancouver and Honolulu, according to public filings and people familiar with the properties, including union officials.

Seventeen of Trump’s clubs and hotels have closed. The remainder of Trump properties are operating at a fraction of their normal capacity: hotels running with restaurants closed, golf clubs operating with clubhouses shut down, and golfers warned not to share carts or touch the flagsticks.

All told, the closed properties generated an average of $650,000 in revenue for Trump per day, according to Trump’s past financial disclosures.

That economic strain has pushed Trump Organization officials to inquire about possible relief, at least temporarily, from the company’s financial obligations at one of its properties.

In Palm Beach County, Fla., the Trump Organization has not paid rent of $54,534.25 that was due April 1 on land it leases from the county government for the Trump International Golf Club West Palm Beach, a county representative said Friday. The Trump Organization said it has until April 10 to make the monthly payment without penalty.

“Because payment has not become due, and in light of Governor’s DeSantis’ executive order shutting down businesses throughout the State of Florida as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic, the County advised us to refrain from making payment until they have finalized their policy for the handling of their numerous leases,” Alan Garten, a Trump Organization executive, said in a statement. “As soon as the County finalizes its guidance, we will, of course, fully and timely comply with its directives as well as continue to comply with the requirements of the lease.”

Palm Beach County officials did not respond to a question about Garten’s comment that the company was advised not to make the payment.

As of Friday, 17 of Trump’s 24 clubs and hotels around the world were closed. The latest to close was Trump’s hotel in Vancouver, Canada — which announced its closure Thursday.

In Chicago, the Trump hotel told investors on Friday that it had made the “heartbreaking decision to” lay off two-thirds of its staff, required the remaining staff to work on two to three days a week, and suspended 401(k) contributions for all.

The company also has to pay an April bill to New York City, related to ice rinks, a carousel and a golf course that the company runs under city contracts. A representative of the city parks department said Friday that “they do not have a past due payment at this time” but declined to say more.

The company has been trying to sell its D.C. hotel lease since late last year, an effort that has been sidelined by the pandemic.

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