The Truth about Trump and the Russian Mafia

Trump: The Deals and the Downfall by Wayne Barrett

No figure has come to symbolize the excesses of the 1980s as vividly or as powerfully as Donald Trump. As master builder, as media star, as bestselling author, as conspicuously wealthy consumer, Trump reigned — until his spectacular collapse — unchallenged as a unique new breed of entrepreneurial superstar, one who was as confidently victorious on television and the podiums of an endless string of press conferences as he was in the boardrooms and bankers' offices where he waged his epic battles. For all the media attention that has been devoted to him, though, what do we really know about Donald Trump, apart from what he has carefully contrived to foster the myth of a self-made financial genius, a man for whom extravagance was merely a perquisite of success?

Rather than a self-created millionaire, Trump is in fact heir both to a substantial empire built by his equally rapacious father and to the Democratic machine connections that made the empire possible.

Banks advanced him staggering loans, at times based on misleading information; Trump family associations are mob-connected figures; and Trump made compromising alliances with governors, mayors, and perhaps his most powerful benefactor of all, the rogue lawyer Roy Cohn.

David Sater was a top executive at the Bayrock Group — Donald Trump’s most frequent partner on condo and hotel deals — and the son of a reputed Russian mobster. In 2000 he was named as a co-conspirator in a $40 million fraud case that resulted in 19 guilty pleas and the conviction of six mobsters from the Russian mafia and the Gambino crime family.

Tevfik Arif, another Bayrock Group executive who serves as a partner in Trump Soho, was dramatically arrested aboard the world’s largest for-charter luxury yacht and charged with “encouraging” and “facilitating” prostitution. Some of the girls were only 16 years old.

Raoul Goldberg, who brought Trump the site for the 45-story Trump Tower Philadelphia, was sentenced to 46 months in prison in 2000 for trying to ship tens of thousands of ecstasy pills into the U.S.

In 1973, Trump Management Corporation (of which Trump was president at the time) was sued by the Justice Department for discriminating against blacks who wanted to rent apartments in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. The case was settled out of court two years later – and Trump now claims to have a great relationship with “the blacks.”

Trump: The Deals and the Downfall seems destined to be the definitive account of how Trump got ahead and why he fell. It is a sad story, with important lessons for us all." — James B. Stewart, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Den of Thieves

Wayne Barrett's Trump is a fresh, detailed, and vivid account of the tangled connections of money, politics, and power in our times." — Nicholas Pileggi, author of Wiseguy


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