Trump Jr. was deposed in inauguration funds probe

Source: The Hill | February 24, 2021 | Joseph Choi

Donald Trump Jr. was deposed early this month as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged misuse of Trump inauguration funds, according to court documents filed on Tuesday.

The Feb. 11 deposition with investigators from the Washington, D.C., attorney general’s office is part of multiple probes into whether the inaugural committee misspent donated funds from the record $107 million it received.

It specifically looked into a block of rooms at the Madison Hotel, which was owned by Loews Hotels at the time, for which the Trump Organization signed a contract to use during former President Trump’s 2017 inauguration. According to the court documents, $49,358.92 was paid for the rooms by the Presidential Inauguration Committee (PIC).

Court documents point to Lindsay Santoro, who was then Trump Jr.’s executive assistant, as the “point of contact” for the contract regarding the block of rooms. The person who signed and authorized the contract was Gentry Beach, who is described as a close friend of Trump.

According to the documents, Trump Jr.’s deposition “raised further questions about the nature of the Loews Madison invoice and revealed evidence that Defendants had not yet produced to the District.”

Trump Jr. testified that he had not authorized Santoro or Beach to “enter into the contract on behalf of the Trump Organization.”

Beach allegedly claimed that the rooms were being reserved for people who had been “major donors to the PIC.”

People who were associated with the Madison Hotel rooms and invoice included individuals that Trump Jr. described as a college friend and another as a “Trump family driver.” Trump testified that one of the people associated with the rooms was a “New York socialite” who appears on the reality show “Real Housewives of New York.”

The court documents revealed new information involving former PIC Chairman Rick Gates as well. Gates allegedly had no knowledge of the Madison Hotel rooms before receiving an invoice from a collection agency.

“Mr. Gates said that the occupants were individuals associated with the PIC, but he couldn’t recall the names, nor were they employees of the PIC,” the court documents read.

Soon after Trump Jr.’s deposition, prosecutors said they were able to obtain documents from the collection agency that contacted Gates.

“These documents directly contradict Mr. Gates’s testimony, revealing that the invoice was not for PIC donors at all, but the payment was to cover rooms in the reserved block that were not used.”

Emails between the collection agency, Gates and the Trump Organization reveal an apparent sense of confusion over who would be paying for the Madison Hotel rooms.

One email said, “Rick Gates will provide payment, but needs the name changed. They plan to pay immediately when they receive the revised invoice. It just cannot say ‘The Trump Organization.’”

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