Of all Trump Organization enterprises, its decade-old condo-hotel project in lower Manhattan serves most concretely as a focus of interest for prosecutors, lawyers and reporters.
Touted on the 2006 season finale of the future president’s reality TV show “The Apprentice,” the Trump SoHo, near the entrance of the Holland Tunnel, dissatisfied some of its investors.
In 2010, some sued in federal court, claiming “fraudulent misrepresentations and deceptive sales practices,” which the defendants denied.
The latest episode in the high-rise saga comes by way of ProPublica, which reported Wednesday on how President Donald Trump’s son Donald Jr. and daughter Ivanka avoided a criminal indictment in the dust up.
According to the news site, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance declined to prosecute. “I did not at the time believe beyond a reasonable doubt that a crime had been committed,” he told ProPublica.
“I think I made the right call.”
But along the way, Vance and top aides first met with longtime Trump personal lawyer Marc Kasowitz, shortly after Vance returned a $25,000 campaign contribution from Kasowitz. Another donation was logged later on.
The allegation was that the Trump siblings used inflated figures about how well the condos were selling to pull in more buyers.
This is — or was — just one area of investigative interest involving the 46-floor building at 246 Spring St. Another leads toward Eastern Europe and questions about the nature of a Trump-Russia relationship.
From its inception, developers of this Trump-branded property included Long Islanders Felix Sater and Tevfik Arif.
Sater faced criminal charges years ago in New York for assault and a stock-fraud scheme. Sater later became a valued confidential informant for the FBI.
Earlier this year, Sater and a Ukrainian lawmaker reportedly helped deliver a proposed peace deal for Ukraine to White House aides.
Later it was revealed that Sater promised in an email to use Russian government connections to help build a new Trump Tower in Moscow. The presidential campaign already was underway.
As you’d expect, the activities of Sater, who escorted and introduced people to Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump during a visit to Russia, have drawn interest from special counsel Robert Mueller.
Same goes for Arif. He was born to a Turkish family in Kazakhstan, then a Soviet republic. His resume includes 17 years working for the U.S.S.R. ministry of trade.
Arif hired Sater for the Bayrock Group, the development company for Trump SoHo. Both men worked on other Trump projects around the world.
That’s an interesting set of connections and questions to radiate from a single prime real estate location.