Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Breaking: Trump pocketed $17 million for mythical hurricane damage

That's what is reported in several sources like ABCnews: Trump Took $17 Million in Insurance for Damage Few Remember. This one is juicy. By my count, this is the 21st scandal attached to Trump.

Donald Trump said he received a $17 million insurance payment in 2005 for hurricane damage to Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Palm Beach, but The Associated Press found little evidence of such large-scale damage.

Two years after a series of storms, the real estate tycoon said he didn't know how much had been spent on repairs but acknowledged he pocketed some of the money. Trump transferred funds into his personal accounts, saying that under the terms of his policy, "you didn't have to reinvest it."

In a deposition in an unrelated civil lawsuit, Trump said he got the cash from a "very good insurance policy" and cited ongoing work to the historic home.

"Landscaping, roofing, walls, painting, leaks, artwork in the — you know, the great tapestries, tiles, Spanish tiles, the beach, the erosion," he said of the storm damage. "It's still not what it was."

Trump's description of extensive damage does not match those of Mar-a-Lago members and even Trump loyalists. In an interview about the estate's history, Trump's longtime former butler, Anthony Senecal, recalled no catastrophic damage. He said Hurricane Wilma, the last of a string of storms that barreled through in 2004 and 2005, flattened trees behind Mar-a-Lago, but the house itself only lost some roof tiles.

"That house has never been seriously damaged," said Senecal, discussing Mar-a-Lago's luck with hurricanes. "I was there for all of them."

[Snip - lots of good stuff here.]

About that "very good insurance policy"?

Much of Trump's property insurance business has long been handled by Pamela Newman, a leading insurance broker for Aon Risk Services Inc. Neither Newman nor AON would discuss the case with AP.

Two former Aon employees familiar with the company's work for Trump said Trump's company was routinely late on insurance premium payments and regularly threatened to take its business elsewhere. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential business matters and because they feared retribution since they continue to work in the insurance industry. Representing Trump allowed Newman to bring up her work on behalf of Trump in sales pitches to wealthy clients, sometimes offering him as a reference, the employees said.

Newman's ties to Trump have endured. He and she both sit on the board of New York's Police Athletic League. She has attended galas at Mar-a-Lago and donated the legal maximum of $2,700 to his presidential exploratory committee before he announced his run. She followed up last July with $25,000 in donations to the Make America Great Again PAC, according to Federal Election Commission records.

According to the Trump deposition, Newman led the effort to obtain a payout on the Mar-a-Lago insurance policy. Trump did not identify which insurer actually footed the bill and the AP was unable to identify who paid the claim.

...

In the depositions, Trump said he knew little about that process that produced his $17 million payday, but praised the policy and said Newman took care of it.

"We had a very good insurance policy, actually," he said.

Indeed.

If Trump pockets that much in what looks like an insurance scam, think about what he will pocket should he become CEO of Fort Knox.

Actually.

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