Saturday, September 4, 2021

Shit Show


Photo via Curious Historian.

Looks like the only Trump business that isn't falling apart is grifting from Republicans: the Washington hotel is empty, and though they've found another broker to try to sell the lease ($3 million a year), they've lowered the asking price from $500 million to $400 million and still found no takes after two months, they're under legal attack in New York and Washington, and, in the latest, tenants in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue can't pay their rent:

Inside Trump Tower, swank suit-maker Marcraft Clothes once rented the entire 18th floor, outfitting its offices with fireplaces, mahogany-lined closets and two bars for schmoozing customers.

But then Marcraft fell $664,000 behind on rent and went out of business last year — its assets having dwindled to $40.75 in a checking account and “1,200 damaged coats,” according to court filings.

One floor up, a business school once led by Kardashian family matriarch Kris Jenner was consumed by lawsuits, falling $198,000 behind on payments to Trump Tower by October 2020, according to court papers. And on the 21st and 22nd floors, the company that made Ivanka Trump shoes racked up $1.5 million in unpaid rent, according to a lawsuit that the Trump Organization filed this year.

But there's one tenant, this WaPo story says, that's definitely paying its bills: the Make America Great Again PAC, which took over space on the 15th floor previously occupied by the Trump campaign in March, for a monthly rent of $37,541.67, though nobody is known to actually do anything there.

Also, for several months, Trump’s PAC paid the Trump Organization $3,000 per month to rent a retail kiosk in the tower’s lobby — even though the lobby was closed.

Campaign-finance experts said the payments do not appear to be illegal. This kind of PAC has very few restrictions and no expiration date, so Trump is free to spend its money at his own properties as long as he wants.

The so-called "leadership PAC" being, at this point, basically an accounting device for Trump to funnel donor money into the failing hotels and golf courses—at least $750,000 by the end of June, ABC reported in August, including a golf tournament in May at the Trump International in West Palm Beach, for a committee Trump shares with Lindsey Graham, where participants paid $25,000 each to compete.

No wonder he's planning to run again in 2024, or at least pushing out word saying he is, as with Jason Miller's announcement yesterday. Leadership PACking for the Trump presidential campaign is the new Trump University, and Republican voters are the students, always ready to re-up, even as the professional donors begin to drop out:

Wealthy financiers such as Stephen Ross and Larry Ellison have instead opted to spend money on the GOP’s efforts to take back Congress during next year’s midterm elections or have shown support for potential 2024 presidential candidates such as Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Tim Scott of South Carolina.

Donors are also concerned about how Trump’s organization is spending the piles of money it has raised from smaller donations.

“Big money, sophisticated people are just losing interest in this s--- show,” said an advisor to longtime Trump allies in Silicon Valley. Many donors are tired of seeing the former president use his resources on rallies during which he often makes false claims including that the election was stolen from him, this person said.

But who needs Larry Ellison when you've got Mike Pillow and the legions of Q? It's completely legal, unlike the self-dealing out of the Trump Foundation or the fraudulent promises of Trump U, as long as the legions don't get out of hand, and when they do, as on 6 January, they're the ones who end up in jail, not Trump. He doesn't even need to actually run unless he feels like it—as he well might, it's good publicity for the business and he could even win, with all the legal protection that means—the cult is now a messianic cult of permanent expectation. At least through early August they were awaiting his imminent victory regardless of whether he'd won the election or not, and now they're starting to await it whether or not he's even a candidate. I think what they want is really the excitement of the spectacle, and they'll never stop paying for it. The shit show is now a medicine show.

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