Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort can add New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. to the long list of entities probing into his various business and real estate entanglements.
Bloomberg has learned through anonymous sources that Schneiderman and Vance are both in the early stages of investigations into Manafort’s deals, though exactly what they are looking into remains unclear. Bloomberg notes that Schneiderman “is responsible for enforcing New York’s securities laws under the Martin Act, which gives him broad powers to pursue white-collar crime.”
In March, WNYC issued a lengthy piece of reporting investigating a “series of puzzling real estate deals” made by Manafort which, taken together, “fit a pattern used in money laundering.” The report found that Manafort had a history of buying properties in an all-cash deal using a shell company, transferring the properties into his own name for no money, and then taking out huge mortgages against them.
While the report doesn’t confirm that the deals were used in money laundering, it did lead nine current and former law enforcement and real estate experts who spoke with WNYC to state that the acts merited scrutiny. The report also served to elevate questions of what Manafort was up to into the realm of public discussion.
In mid-April, the New York Daily News found that Manafort was receiving an illegal property tax break on his Trump Tower condo. The tax break, which added up to about $5,000 per year, is available to NYC condo owners only if they use the property as their primary residence. The investigation found that Manafort listed both the Trump Tower condo as well as a condo in Palm Beach, FL as his primary residence. The report also found that Manafort was also receiving a tax break on the Palm Beach condo.
At the time, City Comptroller Scott Stringer said that the issue “raises serious questions and concerns.”
“No matter how powerful someone may be,” Stringer said, “everyone has to play by the same rules.”
- AG launches probe into Paul Manafort's real estate dealings [Bloomberg via Crain’s]
- Eric Schneiderman on Keeping Trump in Check and Maybe, Maybe, Investigating the Russian Ties [NYMag]
- Paul Manafort benefits from illegal tax break on Trump Tower condo: report [Curbed]
- Paul Manafort’s ‘puzzling’ NYC real estate transactions raise eyebrows [Curbed]