This Week in Conflicts: More Details on the Plan for a Trump Tower in Moscow, a Look at How President Trump Inflated his Net Worth and an International Leader Stays at Trump’s D.C. Hotel


Vladimir Putin & Donald Trump in Helsinki, July 2018. (Image Credit: via Wikimedia Commons)

This week, an international leader stays at President Donald Trump’s Washington, D.C. hotel, journalists dig into who was involved in plans for a Trump tower in Moscow and the Washington Post explains how the president would inflate his net worth for investors and lenders.

Vladimir Putin & Donald Trump in Helsinki, July 2018. (Image Credit: via Wikimedia Commons)

Details on Trump Moscow Tower

In a recent episode of Trump, Inc., the team at ProPublica and WNYC dug into who President Trump and his team were working with to build a Trump tower in Moscow.

According to their reporting, “(President) Trump’s partner on the project didn’t appear to be in a position to get the project approved and built.”

That partner, according to the podcast, is Andrey Rozov. In a letter, he told Michael Cohen, President Trump’s former attorney, he had worked on developments before, including one outside of Moscow, an office building in New York City and two projects in North Dakota.

“Rozov’s Moscow project has faced lawsuits from homeowners, some of which have settled and some of which are ongoing, and the company developing it filed for bankruptcy,” according to the podcast. “It remains unfinished. Property records show that Rozov owned his New York building for just over a year. He bought it for about $35 million in cash, took out an almost $13 million loan several months later, made no significant improvements and then sold it for a 23 percent profit. Trump’s former business associate, Felix Sater, who once pleaded guilty to financial fraud and reportedly later became an asset for U.S. intelligence agencies, is listed on the sale as an “authorized signatory.”

The Trump Organization, the White House, and Michael Cohen did not comment on the report.

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC 2011 in Washington, D.C. (Image Credit: Gage Skidmore)

How Trump Inflated His Net Worth

In a multimedia story, the Washington Post explains how President Trump inflated his net worth to lenders and investors over the years.

The president, according to the story, would send official-looking documents called, “Statements of Financial Condition.” The documents contained lots of numbers meant to provide details into the debts he had and how much his properties were making or losing.

“But, for someone trying to get a true picture of (President) Trump’s net worth, the documents were deeply flawed,” according to the Washinton Post. “Some simply omitted properties that carried big debts. Some assets were overvalued. And some key numbers were wrong.”

The news organization provides some specific examples, including:

  • A 2011 financial statement that said President Trump had 55 home lots to sell at his golf course in Southern California. But, according to city records, the president had only 31 lots zoned and ready for sale. “He claimed credit for 24 lots — and at least $72 million in future revenue — he didn’t have,” according to the Post.
  • He claimed his Virginia vineyard had 2,000 acres but it has about 1,200.
  • He said Trump Tower has 68 stories, but it has 58, according to a story in the New York Times.

These documents are under scrutiny now and being looked at as part of multiple investigations into whether President Trump ever committed fraud.

Trump hotel Washington D.C. (Image Credit: Flickr user Maxence)

Trump D.C. Hotel Visitor

The Romanian prime minister stayed at President Trump’s Washington, D.C. hotel while in town for a conference, according to the latest reporting from the podcast Trump, Inc.

“She is the first foreign government leader known to have booked a room at the property in more than a year,” the story said. “The stay at the Trump International Hotel by Viorica Dancila, who is attending the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference, provides the latest piece of evidence that Trump’s company continues to do business with foreign officials.”

These payments could violate the foreign emoluments clause of the U.S. Constitution. The clause bans public officials from receiving gifts and payments from foreign governments without the approval of Congress.

In an ongoing lawsuit, the attorneys general in Maryland and Washington, D.C., argue that by not divesting from his business, President Trump and the Trump Organization, are profiting from payments from foreign governments. The lawsuit specifically calls out payments and business associated with the Trump International Hotel in D.C. The plaintiffs also allege Maryland and D.C. companies are losing out on potential business because people are choosing Trump-owned properties, instead of local businesses.

According to the podcast, “Dancila was seen Friday night inside the hotel’s atrium surrounded by a group of about eight people after leaving the hotel’s BLT Prime restaurant. She made her way to one of the building’s elevators, which are operated with room keys of hotel guests. She was seen again on Sunday, entering an elevator shortly after 6 p.m. On Monday she tweeted a picture of herself meeting with Vice President Mike Pence at AIPAC.”

More conflicts of interest in the news

About this Project

Sunlight’s “Tracking Trump’s Conflicts of Interest” project provides a free, searchable database detailing President Donald J. Trump’s known business dealings and personal interests that may conflict with his public duties as President of the United States. The project also documents news coverage of these potential conflicts. Read our reporting to stay current on related news, explore our database, and learn more about the project. As we continue to learn about the First Family’s business holdings, the database will be updated. To help with those updates, get involved by contacting us here. You can also contact us if you’re familiar with any of the conflicts we’re tracking.

Lynn Walsh is an Emmy award-winning freelance journalist who has worked in investigative, data and TV journalism at the national level as well as locally in California, Ohio, Texas and Florida. She produces content focused on government accountability, public access to information and freedom of expression issues. She’s also helping to rebuild trust between newsrooms and the public through the Trusting News project.