Monday, September 05, 2016

Greenberg Traurig in the news: Miami law firm tethers to Donald Trump ... by gimleteye

Daily News reporter Wayne Barrett chronicled the early Trump years for the Village Voice. Read his latest:

Peas in a pod: The long and twisted relationship between Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani
Sunday, September 4, 2016, 5:00 AM

Let's start with the fact that Donald Trump's top surrogate, Rudy Giuliani, is on the payroll. In January, he joined a law firm, Greenberg Traurig, that represents Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Last year, the firm handled Trump's suit against the Florida city of Doral so his golf course could override noise regulations that barred him from bulldozing before sunrise. More recently, it handled Kushner's $340-million acquisition of the Watchtower properties in downtown Brooklyn.

When Trump paid a $250,000 fine in 2000 for secretly funding a million-dollar lobbying campaign against an Indian casino in upstate New York, he was represented by Greenberg.

Giuliani brought Marc Mukasey, the stepson of ex-U.S. Attorney General and lifelong Giuliani friend Michael Mukasey, with him to Greenberg; Mukasey is now representing legendary leg man Roger Ailes. Mukasey launched into a tirade recently against New York Magazine reporter Gabriel Sherman, calling the Ailes biographer "a virus" willing to "use any woman" to Weinerize the Trump debate adviser. His dad, who once branded Trump a "peril" to national security, delivered a Republican Convention speech the night after Rudy's screed.

This intertwine may or may not have something to do with why the Greenberg firm lets Rudy, one of its newest partners, hired early this year ostensibly to run a cybersecurity unit, travel the country with Trump, introducing him at rallies and fundraisers, challenging Hillary Clinton's health based on stuff he finds in corners of the internet, declaring her Clinton Foundation troubles worse than Watergate, wearing a "Make Mexico Great Again Also" cap, and helping draft policy speeches diagnosing African Americans for white audiences.

I even watched Rudy on TV, before one joint trip to Ohio, loading suitcases into the back of a Trump SUV in front of Trump Tower, the only baggage that slows him down.

Rudy has actually been more visible in his buddy's campaign than he was at times in his own $50 million presidential attempt in 2008, when he managed to convert the months-long top ranking in the polls into a single delegate. The imperial 2016 candidate who hates losers, especially ones who wind up in Vietnamese prisons, has instead embraced an epic dud, his solitary act of empathy in a campaign of callousness. He could've trashed Rudy like he did John McCain: "I like people who weren't caught with their command center down."

But the onetime comb-over twins just had too much in common. Though bombs-away hawks today, they got multiple draft deferments during the Vietnam War, with athlete Donald citing bad feet as his excuse and Rudy using an ear defect to sidestep his ROTC obligations.

Trump is now warning of a rigged election, invoking the image of Philadelphia blacks cheating at the ballot box and calling for voter suppression squads to "monitor" suspect precincts. Rudy said the 1989 mayoral election he lost was stolen and spent millions on suppression squads, dispatching off-duty white cops and firefighters to minority districts, when he won in 1993.

The two amigos also spark similar antipathy in Mexico, their latest joint destination — Donald for a mantra of insults, and Rudy for a multi-million-dollar anti-crime contract his consulting company won in Mexico City that flopped so badly the police chief declared he was "no fan" of Giuliani's. Rudy even tried to lend credence to the Trumpian fantasy that "thousands" of Muslims in Jersey City celebrated 9/11, quibbling only with the number.

Then there's the wife trifecta. No one in American public life, other than perhaps their kindred spirit Newt Gingrich, has ever mastered the art of a bad divorce like Rudy and Donald, carrying on as if spousal humiliation was the point.

Ask the kids. When Trump married mistress Marla Maples nearly four years after he walked out on Ivana, the three convention stars, Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric, didn't show up. Andrew and Caroline Giuliani made strained appearances at Rudy's 2003 wedding to Judi Nathan, but in 2007, both distanced themselves from their father's presidential pursuit, with Caroline Facebooking her preference for Obama, as close to the ex-mayor's heart as she could plunge the dagger.

Rudy's wife Donna found out he wanted a divorce when he announced it on TV, just as Marla had a couple of years before. Rudy then chose Mother's Day to alert the press that he would be having dinner with his new love and led the cameras on a 10-block walk with her after dinner, kissing her goodbye while his wife and kids simmered. His divorce lawyer declared "we're going to have to pry her off the chandeliers to get her out of" Gracie Mansion. Even Donald Trump was offended, writing an open letter to New York Magazine and urging Donna and Rudy "to sit down with each other in a room, without your lawyer, and see if you can settle this."

But Rudy was only following in the divorce-as-spectacle footsteps of Donald, who'd used the New York Post as his personal hammer a decade before, relishing in Marla's "best sex I ever had" headlines even as they horrified young Ivanka and Don. Trump told Newsweek the scandal was "great for business," and pushed Marla to seize on the opportunities it presented, including half a million to pose in "No Excuses" jeans.

He'd brought his mistress to the same Atlantic City boxing matches he brought his wife to, aboard the same helicopter, just as he'd set up Marla in a sparkling suite on the Aspen slopes while he was vacationing with his family. Young Don told his father then "you just love your money," a line he did not revive in his convention script. Ivanka, shocked by headlines on newsstands during her walk to school, just wept.

Rudy and Donald first got together in the late 1980s shortly before Donald became a co-chair of Giuliani's first fundraiser for his 1989 mayoral campaign, sitting on the Waldorf dais and steering $41,000 to the campaign. A year earlier, Tony Lombardi, the federal agent closest to then-U.S. Attorney Giuliani, opened a probe of Trump's role in the suspect sale of two Trump Tower apartments to Robert Hopkins, the mob-connected head of the city's largest gambling ring.

Trump attended the closing himself and Hopkins arrived with a briefcase loaded with up to $200,000 in cash, a deposit the soon-to-felon counted at the table. Despite Hopkins' wholesale lack of verifiable income or assets, he got a loan from a Jersey bank that did business with Trump's casino. A Trump limo delivered the cash to the bank.

The government subsequently nailed Hopkins' mortgage broker, Frank LaMagra, on an unrelated charge and he offered to give up Donald, claiming Trump "participated" in the money-laundering — and volunteering to wear a wire on him.

Instead, Lombardi, who discussed the case with Giuliani personally (and with me for a 1993 Village Voice piece called "The Case of the Missing Case"), went straight to Donald for two hour-long interviews with him. Within weeks of the interviews, Donald announced he'd raise $2 million in a half hour if Rudy ran for mayor. Lamagra got no deal and was convicted, as was his mob associate, Louis (Louie HaHa) Attanasio, who was later also nailed for seven underworld murders. Hopkins was convicted of running his gambling operation partly out of the Trump Tower apartment, where he was arrested.

Lombardi — who expected a top appointment in a Giuliani mayoralty, conducted several other probes directly tied to Giuliani political opponents, and testified later that "every day I came to work I went to Mr. Giuliani to seek out what duties I needed to perform" — closed the Trump investigation without even giving it a case number. That meant that New Jersey gaming authorities would never know it existed.

It's hard to watch Giuliani invoke his 14-year history as a federal prosecutor when he calls for Clinton's prosecution and square it with the seedy launch of his own relationship with Trump.

When Rudy was mayor, Trump hired the lobbying firm that included name partner Ray Harding, the head of the state's Liberal Party, whose ballot line had provided the margin of difference in Giuliani's 1993 election. Harding's firm quickly went from three lobbying clients to 92, and it steered the controversial, 90-story Trump World Tower, the tallest residential tower in city history, through three levels of Giuliani administration approvals despite loud opposition from community groups led by Walter Cronkite.

Both Harding and his son, a top Giuliani official, wound up felons. His other son, Robert Harding, a Giuliani deputy mayor, has long been a lobbyist at Rudy's current employer, Greenberg.

The Giuliani administration also wrote a 1995 letter of support to HUD for $365 million in mortgage insurance for Trump's Riverside South project, affirming that the Westside Yards site was in a blighted neighborhood, a contention so ludicrous that Donald had to eventually withdraw the application. A board of Giuliani appointees, pushed by Harding's firm, also approved renovations at Trump's 100 Central Park South, where Eric Trump now lives.

Rudy wound up a friend, speaking at Fred Trump's 1999 funeral, doing a grope scene with Donald in a 2000 Inner Circle skit, inviting Donald and Melania to his Gracie Mansion wedding and attending Trump's 2005 Mar-A-Lago wedding.

As aligned as Trump and Rudy appear, there are enough stark differences to make the embrace uncomfortable, at least if the blank-slate broadcast interviewers would do a search or two. When Mitt Romney ran against Giuliani, he said Rudy made New York a "sanctuary city," based on Giuliani's urging undocumented people to settle in the city. PoliFact found the assertion "true."

As mayor, Giuliani was the top Republican champion of the assault-weapons ban, sued the gun industry and called for "uniform licensing" of all guns, contending that the free flow of firearms into the city from unregulated states was killing New Yorkers.

Rudy was also one of the only elected pro-choice Republicans who even supported partial birth abortion. He's recently begun to perform same-sex marriages. He is, in all of these respects, an anti-Trump surrogate.

Yet Trump has said he might name Rudy to chair an immigration commission or to head homeland security. Trump apparently forgets that Rudy already gave us one homeland security secretary, his business partner and former correction and police commissioner Bernie Kerik, who blew up like a land mine before he could take office and wound up sentenced to four years in federal prison, partly for lying to the White House.

Giuliani was widely ridiculed when, during a Trump introduction, he declared that "Under those eight years before (Barack) Obama came along, we didn't have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the United States — they all started when Clinton and Obama got into office." It was just one of an array of stunning stumbles he's made on the Trump tour.

It wasn't just that for that moment he seemed to forget 9/11. He also skipped past the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, unwittingly reminding us that he never mentioned it during his mayoralty, when he was so oblivious to terrorism he put the city command center in the very complex that had already been attacked.

He admitted later that he didn't even know who Osama Bin Laden was until after 9/11 when Judi Nathan gave him a book about him, even though Bin Laden was under indictment in the courthouse next to City Hall, charged by federal prosecutors he'd hired, whose subsequent boss, U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, tried unsuccessfully to set up briefing sessions with him.

What is amazing after all these discrediting years, when influence peddler Giuliani played a key role in protecting OxyContin from a government clampdown, is that he is still treated as a voice of reason, even when he echoes, or inspires, Trump. It is, for both, the last gasp of rapacity, a final dance with grand destiny, propelled by howls of aging ambition.

Barrett is the author of "Rudy! An Investigative Biography" and "Trump: The Greatest Show on Earth."


Anonymous said...

Doral doesn't have a noise ordinance which was enforceable. Props to Greenberg Traurig for exposing this (by mistake). Your local governments write violations on things they know they cannot enforce, but it calms the residents into thinking something is going to be done. You can learn a lot from these lawyers.
You'd also have to check if Greenberg Traurig wrote the condo documents for any Trump branded buildings in Florida. Last I checked Chapter 12 of the building code is not enforced and is a major loophole for condo developers in Florida, especially Miami Beach.

Anonymous said...

Greenberg Traurig is constantly in the news from one transgression or another. Too many attorneys? Forced to be overly aggressive? How about that $1 Billion Ponzi scheme from several years ago? Greenberg's clients still in prison. Investors still out their money.

Anonymous said...

Greenberg Traurig is the same firm that held a fundraiser for the creep Keon Hardemon concurrently with Hardemon extorting money from Moishe Mana, a Greenberg client.

Anonymous said...

Sleazebags. Greenberg Taurig and fake environmentalists like Swakon have taken advantage of weak laws and bilked the public over and over again. Lawsuits for land underwater and development on wetlands fill their pockets and destroy our last green spaces.

Anonymous said...

Greenberg attorneys represent billboard visual polluters, sleazy developers and fraudster bankers.