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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Saturday, October 21, 2017

A new report has been released that suggests money was the motivating factor behind Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. suddenly dropping the criminal case against Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump in August 2012.

According to a joint report by ProPublica, the New Yorker and WNYC, the DA’s office was far into a criminal investigation of Trump Soho development, and had solid email evidence supporting that the Trump children lied to condo buyers to make their sales success seem greater than it was at the development. Despite all the work put into the probe and supposed solid proof of deceit, DA Vance dropped the case on August 3, 2012, which was four months after Trump’s personal attorney Marc Kasowitz had a private meeting with him. 

Then in September 2012, one month after this decision, Vance’s campaign was contacts by Kasowitz regarding hosting a re-election fundraiser in January that would bring in $32,000. In October 2013, an additional $9,000 was raised at another fundraiser. In early 2012, Kasowitz had also donated $25,000 to the DA, but that some was returned before their meeting. 

Reporters were told by Vance, “We did the right thing. Another five and a half months go by. Marc Kasowitz has no matter pending before the office for the Trumps or anybody else. It’s 2013 and it’s an election—and I welcome his support.” Despite all of that, Vance still said that he would return the donations. He said, “I don’t want the money to be a millstone around anybody’s neck, including the office’s.”

The Trump Soho case goes back to 2008. Amid a tanking real estate market, the newly built Trump Soho at 246 Spring Street was struggling to find buyers for its hotel-condo units. Donald Jr. and Ivanka repeatedly claimed that more than 50 percent of units had been sold even though that figure was widely inflated. 

According to The Real Deal recent and previous reports, “inflating sales numbers can give buyers a false sense of what a unit is really worth.  It also violates the Martin Act, which regulates the sale of condos like securities. Trump’s lawyers had long told prosecutors that Donald Jr. and Ivanka’s statements might have been exaggerations but did not rise to the level of criminality. They also framed the sales disputes as simple ‘buyers remorse.’ In August 2010, some buyers sued the Trump Organization, eventually winning a settlement. Under the terms of the deal, they agreed to state that no law was broken and that they would only cooperate with a criminal investigation if subpoenaed. Still, the report claims prosecutors were bullish on the case, largely because they had email evidence clearly showing that Donald Jr. and others in the company were aware they had lied to buyers.”

By Rebecca Gold