Don Trump

The use of Don is not a familiar version of Donald; it is a direct implication that Donald Trump is acting like The Godfather character Don Corleone. As the almost daily revelations of the way he handles his business affairs are coupled with hindsight and many of his actions it increasing looks like the Trump organization operates like a criminal enterprise.

The latest revelation broke Thursday night when it was reported by David Farenthold of the Washington Post that the Donald J. Trump Foundation has never procured the required certificates from the State of New York. One of the “advantages” of not procuring the certification (and therefore operating illegally) is that the foundation was not subject to an annual audit that among other things searches for any self-dealing by principles or directors. Making it much more interesting keep in mind that there is no record of Trump making any personal donations to the Foundation since 2008. Much like in his businesses he is operating with other peoples’ money.

This aspect is especially interesting since it has been revealed that on at least two occasions Trump used Foundation funds to settle his or his business’ legal problems. There are also the matters of the Tim Tebow helmet and the portrait. Add to that a “gift” to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s political fund. Interestingly that coincided with the Republican’s office dropping an investigation into Trump University. By the way the New York based “University” was using the word university in violation of New York State law.   Then again, the entire “school” appears to have been a scam in the first place.

This week Kurt Eichenwald of Newsweek reported that Trump broke the Cuban embargo laws by spending over $60,000 in the island country in an effort to explore how to set up a casino there. The statute of limitations has run out on that particular gambit so unlike the problems in New York there is no possibility of criminal charges or civil penalties. The court of public opinion doesn’t have a statute of limitations.

Trump is notorious for not paying sub-contractors or bullying them into accepting a lower amount than the one originally agree upon. After completion of the work Trump tells some small business person who is just trying to feed his family and make payroll that they can either accept the lower amount or sue. Faced with a partial payday or an expensive and draw out court battle what is the desperate little guy supposed to do? Is that really much different from a mobster using muscle in an extortion scheme?

Trump is not the first very wealthy man to run for President. The example that comes to mind is Ross Perot who made a strong (if strange) independent bid in 1992. Perot is currently estimated to be worth about $4 billion. Legitimate estimates of Trump’s current net worth are in the $5 billion neighborhood. I don’t remember anything approaching the level of self-dealing that is the standard operating procedure of the Trump campaign occurring in the Perot campaign. Trump flies around in his private airplane, the cost of which he charges back to the campaign. Many of his events are held at Trump properties again with cost chargebacks not to mention the advertising “premium”. The Washington hotel opening/birther status change is a prime example of using “campaign” media to promote a business venture.

The Trump campaign/business operation – it is often impossible to tell the two apart – look more like a criminal enterprise every day. Atop it all sits Don Trump.

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