Sunday, 30 April 2017

Trump’s Russian friend: associate of New York’s top Mafia families, & arms procurer for the CIA, FBI informant, indicted for real estate felony: born in Russia, he was The Donald’s top man before the Presidency


 

‘Mr. Trump has sought to distance himself from Mr. Sater in recent years. If Mr. Sater “were sitting in the room right now,” Mr. Trump said in a 2013 deposition, “I really wouldn’t know what he looked like.” – NYT

To celebrate his first 100 days in office on Saturday evening President Trump  flew to a farm expo center  in Pennsylvania Capital,  Harrisburg, where he  held a love-in rally with his most fervent bedrock  supporters  “reprising the populist themes of his campaign and savaging a familiar foe: the news media.” (Trump Savages News Media at Rally to Mark His 100th Day; By MARK LANDLER; New York Times, April 30, 2017; https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/29/us/politics/trump-rally-pennsylvania.html?ref=politics&_r=0)

The New York Times, witheringly dismissed as a part of the “fake news” liberal media, by Trump, pointed out “In a rally timed to coincide with an annual dinner of the White House press corps in Washington, which he declined to attend, Mr. Trump laced into what he referred to as “the failing New York Times,” as well as CNN and MSNBC, which he accused of incompetence and dishonesty.

“Their priorities are not my priorities, and not your priorities,” Mr. Trump said to a sea of supporters, many in familiar red “Make America Great Again” caps. “If the media’s job is to be honest and tell the truth, the media deserves a very, very big fat failing grade,” he said, adding that they were “very dishonest  people, ” the NY Times honestly reported.

Why does Trump hold the liberal media in general, and the New York Times in particular, in such clear political contempt? It probably has something to do with its detailed investigative expose’s at least over the past decade of some of Trump’s  most egregious business activities, and his  closest business  associates, that have got under the notoriously thin skin of the Republican President.

One such article, published nine years ago, revealed details of a close Trump associate, Russian immigrant wheeler-dealer, Felix H.Sater. 

(Real Estate Executive With Hand in Trump Projects Rose From Tangled Past”; By CHARLES V. BAGLI; New York Times, DEC. 17, 2007; http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/17/nyregion/17trump.html)

Here are the opening paragraphs”

 

“It is is a classic tale of reinvention, American style.

Born in the Soviet Union in 1966, Felix H. Sater immigrated with his family to Brighton Beach when he was 8 years old. At 24 he was a successful Wall Street broker, at 27 he was in prison after a bloody bar fight, and at 32 he was accused of conspiring with the Mafia to launder money and defraud investors.

Along the way he became embroiled in a plan to buy antiaircraft missiles on the black market for the Central Intelligence Agency in either Russia or Afghanistan, depending on which of his former associates is telling the story.

But in recent years Mr. Sater has resurfaced with a slightly different name and a new business card identifying him as a real estate executive based on Fifth Avenue. And although he may not be a household name, one of the people he is doing business with isDonald J. Trump.

Mr. Sater — who now goes by the name Satter — has been jetting to Denver, Phoenix, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and elsewhere since 2003, promoting potential projects in partnership with Mr. Trump and others. In New York, the company Mr. Sater works for, Bayrock Group, is a partner in the Trump SoHo, a sleek, 46-story glass tower condominium hotel under construction on a newly fashionable section of Spring Street.

Several years later, another newspaper, the Miami Herald, the local paper for Trump’s holiday resort at Mar o Largo in South Florida, revealed some intriguing new details about Mr Sater and his associates:

·Swindler, Stinger-missile brokers, the CIA

How a developer of Fort Lauderdale Trump Tower, a troubled project that cost investors millions, got the feds to erase his criminal past.

By Michael Sallah
msallah@...

A decade before he launched the celebrated Fort Lauderdale Trump Tower, Felix Sater hatched a bold plan to keep out of prison.

Charged in a New York securities scandal, the 46-year-old businessman traveled to his native Russia where he took on a unique role that went far beyond flipping on dangerous criminals.

He began spying for the CIA.

Tapping into the vast underground of the former Soviet Union, Sater was able to track down a dozen Stinger missiles equipped with powerful tracking devices on the black market.

With the backing of U.S. agents, Sater agreed to buy the weapons — keeping them out of the hands of terrorists. In return, the CIA pledged to keep Sater from going to jail in the stock scam he concocted with New York organized crime figures.

The deal was set.

Damage `incalculable'

Now, years after the failure of the Trump Tower, a legal battle has ensued between burned investors trying to reveal Sater's background and federal agents who say national security is at stake.

"The problem is at scandal level, and the damage done to victims is incalculable," argued attorney Richard Lerner in a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Next month, a New York federal judge will decide whether to release dozens of documents in a dispute that alleges Sater stole millions from investors while he was given sweeping protections by prosecutors.

Saying the government has a duty to protect witnesses, prosecutors are fighting to keep Sater's case hidden in a battle that's expected to be heard by the justices.

Even the federal judge, Leo Glasser, has weighed into the case, arguing in a hearing that revealing some of the secrets could "significantly affect matters of national interest."

Though the federal prosecutor's office in Brooklyn has declined to talk about Sater's role with the government, records just released show he was finally sentenced in 2009 — 11 years after he was charged in the New York stock fraud case.

The outcome: a $25,000 fine, no prison time.

In addition, he was not ordered to pay back his victims — mandatory under federal law — despite losses totaling $40 million.

What remains sealed is the work that Sater performed for the government in the past 14 years that's now the topic of the court fight.

During one hearing, the judge said the case had reached top members "of a national law enforcement security agency. I should say agencies — plural." But he didn't elaborate.

The fight has been taken so seriously the judge is using the name John Doe instead of Sater to hide his identity and to "protect the life of the person."

Despite the drama over hiding his past, some details have been divulged over the years, including records in the National Archives that show he cooperated with prosecutors in the securities scheme.

Then, another defendant in the scam, Salvatore Lauria, co-wrote a 274-page book in 2003 describing the deal they cut with the CIA to stay out of prison.

"We were hoping for a free ride or a get-out-of-jail-free card for our crimes on Wall Street," he wrote in The Scorpion and the Frog: High Crimes and High Times.

When Sater was charged in the securities scandal in 1998, he was already in Russia with another defendant, Gennady Klotsman, according to the book, which used a pseudonym for Sater.

In the next two years, the three men would look for ways to stay out of prison with Sater delving into the dangerous world of arms traders and smugglers.

At the time, Russia was teeming with a network of people selling tanks, fighter planes, radar systems and missiles, wrote Lauria, 43.

"The CIA was worried the weapons would be sold to our enemies," he said.

For Sater, it was the perfect solution.

They would get Russian operatives to buy the anti-aircraft missiles from terrorists — with the CIA kicking in $300,000 for each missile, the book states.

The deal would collapse — with the CIA and FBI at odds over the arrangement — but the crucial contacts in the black market would soon be fruitful for the defendants after the attacks of 9/11.

"Now the information was deemed important enough," Lauria said in the final chapter of his book.

Though Lauria changed his mind and tried to stop publication, saying it was a work of fiction, co-author David S. Barry said his research for the book was drawn from interviews, court documents, police reports, and federal records, among others.

Barry said he spent months communicating with Lauria, getting intricate details about their foray to snare the missiles with the help of Russian brokers.

"It was a straight effort of reporting on my part," said Barry, a former Associated Press reporter who has authored two other books.

Though most of the defendants in the stock swindle were sentenced by 2004, prosecutors pressed the court to delay sentencing for Sater so he could keep working with them — his racketeering crimes hidden.

In the ensuing years, he jumped into the real estate business, joining forces with Donald Trump who lent his name to projects in Fort Lauderdale, Phoenix and New York.

Sater was among the most visible members of the development team, interviewing with the media about the ventures, his conviction never revealed.

He would jet back and forth to South Florida, buying a condo on Fisher Island in 2007 while investing millions with his company in the Midtown Miami project the same year, records show.

Word leaks out

Not until a civil racketeering suit was filed two years ago accusing him and others of massive fraud in the Fort Lauderdale tower and other projects did his role in the $40 million stock scheme come to light.

A former finance director for the developers accused Sater and others of diverting millions from the IRS through shell companies.

The developers have vehemently denied the allegations, but the issue that galvanized the court was the fact that the lawyers inserted the sealed information about Sater in their case.

Prosecutors argued that the case could have been filed without tapping into the highly sensitive records that were somehow leaked to the lawyers.

"Something very bad and perhaps despicable was done by the use of those documents," said Judge Glasser.

Sater's former lawyer, Kelly Moore, also argued that sealing the records was not just crucial to "protecting human life" but "national security," records show.

But lawyers pressing the suit have now taken the case to the Supreme Court, saying the judge went far beyond his bounds by hiding a racketeering case for 14 years — including the entire docket.

"A covert dual justice system of secret criminal trials is illegal and can have no place in American law," wrote Lerner in a brief before the Supreme Court.

Paul Cassell, a former Utah federal judge who joined the appeal, said the victims were deprived of ever knowing whether a ringleader in a major stock scam was punished.

"[Sater] apparently continues to live the high life off of the money that he stole from victims," he wrote in a brief for the National Organization for Victim Assistance.

Though top suspects in the securities scam were ordered to make restitution, including three of the ringleaders, no such order exists for Sater, according to records just released.

"Just as pirates think that `Dead Men tell No Tales,' the government seems to believe that sealed cases will never be subject to public scrutiny," Cassell wrote.

Read more here:
http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/09/08/2992317/strange-bedfellows-swindler-stinger.html

 “A decade before he launched the celebrated Fort Lauderdale Trump Tower, Felix Sater hatched a bold plan to keep out of prison.  Charged in a New York securities scandal, the 46-year-old businessman traveled to his native Russia where he took on a unique role that went far beyond flipping on dangerous criminals.

 He began spying for the CIA.  Tapping into the vast underground of the former Soviet Union, Sater was able to track down a dozen Stinger missiles equipped with powerful tracking devices on the black market.  With the backing of U.S. agents, Sater agreed to buy the weapons — keeping them out of the hands of terrorists. In return, the CIA pledged to keep Sater from going to jail in the stock scam he concocted with New York organized crime figures.”

(Swindler, Stinger-missile brokers, the CIA: How a developer of Fort Lauderdale Trump Tower, a troubled project that cost investors millions, got the feds to erase his criminal past.” By Michael Sallah; Miami Herald, September 2012; http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/09/08/2992317/strange-bedfellows-swindler-stinger.html)

The Miami Herald continued”

 “Now, years after the failure of the Trump Tower, a legal battle has ensued between burned investors trying to reveal Sater's background and federal agents who say national security is at stake.’"The problem is at scandal level, and the damage done to victims is incalculable,’ argued attorney Richard Lerner in a brief before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Though the federal prosecutor's office in Brooklyn has declined to talk about Sater's role with the government, records just released show he was finally sentenced in 2009 — 11 years after he was charged in the New York stock fraud case. The outcome: a $25,000 fine, no prison time.

During one hearing, the judge said the case had reached top members "of a national law enforcement security agency. I should say agencies — plural." But he didn't elaborate.

 The fight has been taken so seriously the judge is using the name John Doe instead of Sater to hide his identity and to "protect the life of the person."

 Despite the drama over hiding his past, some details have been divulged over the years, including records in the National Archives that show he cooperated with prosecutors in the securities scheme.

 Then, another defendant in the scam, Salvatore Lauria, co-wrote a 274-page book in 2003 describing the deal they cut with the CIA to stay out of prison.

 "We were hoping for a free ride or a get-out-of-jail-free card for our crimes on Wall Street," he wrote in The Scorpion and the Frog: High Crimes and High Times.

 When Sater was charged in the securities scandal in 1998, he was already in Russia with another defendant, Gennady Klotsman, according to the book, which used a pseudonym for Sater.  In the next two years, the three men would look for ways to stay out of prison with Sater delving into the dangerous world of arms traders and smugglers.

 At the time, Russia was teeming with a network of people selling tanks, fighter planes, radar systems and missiles, wrote Lauria, 43.  "The CIA was worried the weapons would be sold to our enemies," he said. For Sater, it was the perfect solution.  They would get Russian operatives to buy the anti-aircraft missiles from terrorists — with the CIA kicking in $300,000 for each missile, the book states.

 “…Not until a civil racketeering suit was filed two years ago accusing him and others of massive fraud in the Fort Lauderdale tower and other projects did his role in the $40 million stock scheme come to light.

 A former finance director for the developers accused Sater and others of diverting millions from the IRS through shell companies.  "Something very bad and perhaps despicable was done by the use of those documents," said Judge Glasser.

 Sater's former lawyer, Kelly Moore, also argued that sealing the records was not just crucial to "protecting human life" but "national security," records show. But lawyers pressing the suit have now taken the case to the Supreme Court, saying the judge went far beyond his bounds by hiding a racketeering case for 14 years — including the entire docket.

 "A covert dual justice system of secret criminal trials is illegal and can have no place in American law," wrote Lerner in a brief before the Supreme Court.

 Paul Cassell, a former Utah federal judge who joined the appeal, said the victims were deprived of ever knowing whether a ringleader in a major stock scam was punished. "[Sater] apparently continues to live the high life off of the money that he stole from victims," he wrote in a brief for the National Organization for Victim Assistance.

The New York Times earlier explained: “…much remains unknown about Mr. Sater, 41, and determining the truth about his past is a bit like unraveling the plot of a spy novel: Almost every character tells a different tale.

A federal complaint brought against him in a 1998 money laundering and stock manipulation case was filed in secret and remains under seal. A subsequent indictment in March 2000 stemming from the same investigation described Mr. Sater as an “unindicted co-conspirator” and a key figure in a $40 million scheme involving 19 stockbrokers and organized crime figures from four Mafia families.

The indictment asserted that Mr. Sater helped create fraudulent stock brokerages that were used to defraud investors and launder money. Mr. Sater and his lawyer, Judd Burstein, repeatedly refused to discuss in detail his role in the stock scam.

But a onetime friend, Gennady Klotsman, who is known as Gene and who was accused with Mr. Sater as a co-conspirator, contends that they both pleaded guilty in 1998, and that Mr. Sater began cooperating with the authorities. Prosecutors are unwilling to discuss either the 1998 complaint or the 2000 indictment.

“I’m not proud of some of the things that happened in my 20s,” Mr. Sater said in an interview. “I am proud of the things I’m doing now.”

Trump at the time claimed he was:

surprised to learn of Mr. Sater’s past. ‘We never knew that,” he said of Mr. Sater. “We do as much of a background check as we can on the principals. I didn’t really know him very well.”  Trump said that most of his dealings with Bayrock had been with its founder, Tevfik Arif, and that his son Donald and his daughter Ivanka were playing active roles in managing the project. Neither Bayrock nor Mr. Trump has been accused of wrongdoing.”

The Times further reported:

Mr. Sater has generally kept a low profile on the Trump projects, although he mingled with guests and the owners at the September could jeopardize the brand impression the brand makes.”

Mr. Sater’s first brush with the law came in 1991. Mr. Sater and Mr. Klotsman were at El Rio Grande, a Midtown watering hole, celebrating with a friend and eventual co-conspirator, Salvatore Lauria, who had just passed his stockbroker’s exam.

Mr. Sater later told a judge that he was in a good mood, having made a quick $3,000 in commissions that day. But he got into an argument with a commodities broker at the bar, and it quickly escalated. According to the trial transcript, Mr. Sater grabbed a large margarita glass, smashed it on the bar and plunged the stem into the right side of the broker’s face. The man suffered nerve damage and required 110 stitches to close the laceration on his face.

“I got into a bar fight over a girl neither he nor I knew,” Mr. Sater said in an interview. “My life spiraled out of control.” Mr. Sater was convicted at trial in 1993, went to prison and was effectively barred from selling securities by the National Association of Securities Dealers.

But according to the 2000 federal indictment in the fraud case, Mr. Sater, Mr. Klotsman, Mr. Lauria and their partners gained control in 1993 of White Rock Partners, which later changed its name to State Street Capital Markets. Although the companies “held themselves out as legitimate brokerage firms,” the indictment states, “they were in fact operated for the primary purpose of earning money through fraud involving the manipulation of the prices of securities.”

The trio would secretly gain control of large blocks of stock and warrants in four companies through offshore accounts, the indictment said. In an illegal “pump and dump” scheme, they would inflate the value of the shares through under-the-table payoffs to brokers who sold the securities to unsuspecting investors by spreading false information about the companies. Brokers were prohibited from acting on sell orders from investors unless they found another buyer, the indictment said.

The partners would then sell large blocks of stock at a steep profit. Investors suffered substantial losses as share prices plummeted. Despite the prohibition against selling securities, a subsequent complaint by regulators at the N.A.S.D. recounted how Mr. Sater “cursed, yelled and screamed” at the firm’s brokers in an attempt to motivate them. He also offered cash rewards to brokers who sold the largest block of house stocks.

At the same time, Mr. Sater, Mr. Lauria and others sought protection and help from members of the Mafia in resolving disputes with “pump and dump” firms operated by other organized crime groups. In 1995, for instance, Edward Garafola, a soldier in the Gambino crime family, sought to extort money from Mr. Sater. Mr. Sater, in turn, got Ernest Montevecchi, a soldier in the Genovese crime family, to persuade Mr. Garafola to back off, according to the indictment.

The denouement of Mr. Sater’s career on Wall Street began in 1998 at a locker at a Manhattan Mini Storage in SoHo, where investigators discovered two pistols, a shotgun and a gym bag stuffed with a trove of documents outlining the money laundering scheme and offshore accounts of Mr. Sater and his partners. According to a law enforcement official, as well as Mr. Klotsman and another defendant in the case, Mr. Sater had rented the locker and then neglected to pay the rent. Mr. Sater denied having anything to do with the locker or the guns.

At the time investigators opened the storage locker, Mr. Sater and Mr. Klotsman had gone to Russia, where their wheeling and dealing continued, they said. Their most interesting stories, however, are hard to assess.

Mr. Sater and Mr. Klotsman tried to cut a deal with the C.I.A., according to a book co-written by Mr. Lauria, “The Scorpion and the Frog: High Times and High Crimes.” In exchange for leniency, the book said, they offered to buy a dozen missiles that Osama bin Laden had placed on the black market. The deal later collapsed.

Fast forward a decade, with Trump installed in the White House as 45th President, and Mr Sater re-surfaces on an on line investigative Blog, Talking Points Memo.  at a moment when several Congressional Committees and the Justic Department are investigating the Trump Team past and present associations with Russia.

(“Another Thought About Felix Sater:”; Talking Points Memo, February 20, 2017 http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/another-thought-about-felix-sater)

 

Its author, Josh Marshall, wrote:

It seems clear that the FBI and the CIA knew quite a lot about Felix Sater. They worked with him and had him performed services tied to 'national security' for over a decade. It seems quite likely though we don't know for certain that he worked on the CIA's behalf purchasing weapons on the Central Asian and post-Soviet black market in the years when such weapons were easier to come by. If this is true, that also certainly required him to have pretty deep relationships in the post-Soviet criminal underworld and possibly with state actors as well. These specifics we cannot be certain of. What is clear, from Court statements and the federal governments actions is that Sater was performing services which the US government considered very valuable and very secret.

Sater was also clearly dirty. He had been convicted of securities fraud in league with New York City organized crime families. He had been sued multiple times for defrauding investors in other projects. He had also played a key role arranging investments from Russian and post-Soviet sources to fund various Trump enterprises. There are other things which may be true, for which there is a substantial amount of circumstantial evidence. But everything I'm focusing on here rests on very firm foundations.

“…Sater's business relationship with Trump were extensive enough that there's little doubt that his FBI and likely CIA handlers would have had some knowledge of them since he carried on this relationship while working as an FBI/CIA informant and awaiting sentencing - at least from 2003 to 2009 and perhaps going back to 2000.

Trump's longstanding ties to Sater probably wouldn't have mattered much as long as Trump was just a flashy real estate developer and reality TV star. But one can readily imagine that US law enforcement and perhaps intelligence would have become highly concerned once Trump - with his reliance on money from Russian oligarchs and the post-Soviet criminal underworld - started edging his way toward the presidency and especially after he won election on November 8th, 2016.

My point here is that before US law enforcement and intelligence agencies learned about the Russian hacking campaign, received intercepts about communications between Trump advisors and Russian state officials or got hold of that 'dossier' from the former MI6 agent, they may well have had concerns about Trump and the people around him that stemmed from things they learned long before he ever decided to run for President.)

(See too: “Learning Eye-Popping Details About Mr Sater,” ByJosh MarshallTalking Points Memo, February 19, 2017; http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/learning-eye-popping-details-about-mr-sater )

The hated NY Times picked up the issue of Trump associates’ links to Russia in a story printed in mid-February this year, a month after the Trump inauguration:  and a key player was Felix Sater. The paper  revealed that

 “A week before Michael T. Flynn resigned as national security adviser [over links  to Russia’s President Putin] , a sealed proposal was hand-delivered to his office, outlining a way for President Trump to lift sanctions against Russia.

Mr. Flynn is gone, having been caught lying about his own discussion of sanctions with the Russian ambassador. But the proposal, a peace plan for Ukraine and Russia, remains, along with those pushing it: Michael D. Cohen, the president’s personal lawyer, who delivered the document; Felix H. Sater, a business associate who helped Mr. Trump scout deals in Russia; and a Ukrainian lawmaker trying to rise in a political opposition movement shaped in part by Mr. Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

At a time when Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia, and the people connected to him, are under heightened scrutiny — with investigations by American intelligence agencies, the F.B.I. and Congress — some of his associates remain willing and eager to wade into Russia-related efforts behind the scenes.”

(“A Back-Channel Plan for Ukraine and Russia, Courtesy of Trump Associates,” By MEGAN TWOHEY and SCOTT SHANE;  New York Times, FEB. 19, 2017; https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/19/us/politics/donald-trump-ukraine-russia.html)

Perhaps the real reason Trump so hates the NY Times is not his delicate objection to  “fake news”, but its continued publication of true stories of Trump’s past and present associations  with  criminals, convicted felons and the mafia, especially in New York.

Such inconvenient truths sully his new narcissistic self-image as America’s greatest ever president

Backstory

 

 

https://static01.nyt.com/newsgraphics/2017/02/17/trump-ukraine/assets/sater.jpg

Felix H. Sater

Russian-American businessman with longstanding ties to the Trump Organization.

Felix H.Sater


Criminal convictions

In 1991, Sater got into an argument with a commodities broker at the El Rio Grande restaurant and bar in Midtown. He stabbed the man's cheek and neck with the stem of a margarita glass, breaking his jaw, lacerating his face, and severing nerves.[10][1] Sater was convicted of first degree assault in 1993 and served a year in prison.[2][11] This resulted in Sater being barred from selling securities on the National Association of Securities Dealers (now called the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority).

In 1998, Sater was convicted of charges of fraud in connection to a $7.9 million penny stock pump and dump scheme through his employer, White Rock Partners. In return for a guilty plea, Sater agreed to assist the US government in issues of national security, working in Asia for the CIA. He was ultimately sentenced to a $25,000 fine, and no prison time as a result of gratitude for service to his country. As a result of his assistance, Sater's court records were sealed by Loretta Lynch.

Personal life

Sater resides in Port Washington, New York. He is an active member of the Chabad of Port Washington and was named their Man of the Year in 2010 and 2014.

 

 

“Donald Trump Settled a Real Estate Lawsuit, and a Criminal Case Was Closed,” By MIKE McINTIRE; New York Times, APRIL 5, 2016:  https://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/06/us/politics/donald-trump-soho-settlement.html

The Trump SoHo building, a 46-story luxury condominium-hotel in Lower Manhattan. Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times

For Donald J. Trump, it is a long-held legal strategy, if not a point of pride, to avoid knuckling under to plaintiffs in court.

“I don’t settle lawsuits — very rare — because once you settle lawsuits, everybody sues you,” he said recently.

But Mr. Trump made an exception when buyers of units in Trump SoHo, a 46-story luxury condominium-hotel in Lower Manhattan, asserted that they had been defrauded by inflated claims made by Mr. Trump, his children and others of brisk sales in the struggling project. He and his co-defendants settled the case in November 2011, agreeing to refund 90 percent of $3.16 million in deposits, while admitting no wrongdoing.

The backdrop to that unusual denouement was a gathering legal storm that threatened to cast a harsh light on how he did business. Besides the fraud accusations, a separate lawsuit claimed that Trump SoHo was developed with the undisclosed involvement of convicted felons and financing from questionable sources in Russia and Kazakhstan.

And hovering over it all was a criminal investigation, previously unreported, by the Manhattan district attorney into whether the fraud alleged by the condo buyers broke any laws, according to documents and interviews with five people familiar with it. The buyers initially helped in the investigation, but as part of their lawsuit settlement, they had to notify prosecutors that they no longer wished to do so.

The criminal case was eventually closed.

Mr. Trump’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination rests on the notion, relentlessly promoted by the candidate himself, that his record of business deals has prepared him better than his rivals for running the country. An examination of Trump SoHo provides a window into his handling of one such deal and finds that decisions on important matters like whom to become partners with and how to market the project led him into a thicket of litigation and controversy.

Trump SoHo is one of several instances in which Mr. Trump’s boastfulness — a hallmark of his career and his campaign — has been accused of crossing the line into fraud. Other lawsuits have charged that he peddled worthless real estate sales courses and misled investors into thinking he had built hotels when in fact he had only licensed his name to them. He has won several cases at trial and is continuing to fight others.

Alan Garten, the general counsel for the Trump Organization, said that the condo buyers’ lawsuit was not focused on Mr. Trump himself “in any material way” and that there was little reason not to settle it, adding that it cost Mr. Trump nothing. “It was solely a function of returning deposits,” Mr. Garten said.

He described the case as “buyer’s remorse,” in which people who bought real estate at the wrong time turned to the courts to recoup their investment.

Mr. Garten would not talk about the criminal investigation or whether it was a factor in the decision to settle.

 “The terms of the settlement are confidential, and thus I’m not at liberty to discuss them,” he said.

The district attorney’s office declined to comment, saying it could not provide information on “a criminal investigation which does not result in an arrest or prosecution.”

When Mr. Trump and his co-defendants made the decision to settle the condo buyers’ lawsuit in 2011, it was a far cry from the heady days of 2006, when Mr. Trump closed an episode of his hit television show “The Apprentice” with a splashy plug for Trump SoHo. In typical Trump fashion, he piled on the plaudits for “my latest development.”

 “When it’s completed in 2008,” he said, “this brilliant $370 million work of art will be an awe-inspiring masterpiece.”

Photo

https://static01.nyt.com/images/2016/04/06/us/06TRUMPSOHOweb2/06TRUMPSOHOweb2-master675.jpg

Mr. Trump with Tevfik Arif, center, and Felix H. Sater at the official unveiling of Trump SoHo in September 2007, when it was still under construction. Credit Mark Von Holden/WireImage

Jumping In With New Partners

To the artists and creative types inhabiting its trendy downtown Manhattan neighborhood, Trump SoHo was an oxymoron from the start. Many of them loudly opposed a huge glass tower at 246 Spring Street that would stab the sky high above its low-key surroundings.

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If the plans for it attracted controversy, so too would the company most responsible for its development: Bayrock Group.

Mr. Trump was foggy on how he first came to do business with Bayrock, a small development company whose offices were in Trump Tower in Midtown. In a deposition a few years ago, he said it might have been a Bayrock associate, Felix H. Sater, who first approached him in the early 2000s.

Mr. Sater, a Russian immigrant, had recently joined Bayrock at the behest of its founder, Tevfik Arif, a former Soviet-era commerce official originally from Kazakhstan. Bayrock, which was developing commercial properties in Brooklyn, proposed that Mr. Trump license his name to hotel projects in Florida, Arizona and New York, including Trump SoHo.

The other development partner for Trump SoHo was the Sapir Organization, whose founder, Tamir Sapir, was from the former Soviet republic of Georgia. In addition to receiving a licensing agreement, Mr. Trump would manage the completed condo-hotel, and he was also given a minor equity interest in it.

Emails and testimony in several lawsuits show that Mr. Sater and Mr. Arif worked closely with Mr. Trump and others in the Trump Organization. Mr. Trump was particularly taken with Mr. Arif’s overseas connections. In a deposition, Mr. Trump said that the two had discussed “numerous deals all over the world” and that Mr. Arif had brought potential Russian investors to Mr. Trump’s office to meet him.

 “Bayrock knew the people, knew the investors, and in some cases I believe they were friends of Mr. Arif,” Mr. Trump said. “And this was going to be Trump International Hotel and Tower Moscow, Kiev, Istanbul, etc., Poland, Warsaw.”

What sort of due diligence Mr. Trump did before jumping in with his new partners is unclear. But he, as well as many others, apparently missed some dark spots on Mr. Sater’s résumé. Mr. Garten said the Trump Organization typically did a background check on potential business partners like Bayrock, but not on their individual employees, so nothing about Mr. Sater would have turned up.

Mr. Sater was convicted and sent to prison in 1993 after a New York bar fight in which he stabbed a man in the face with a broken margarita glass. That was a matter of public record. However, what few people beyond insiders at Bayrock knew was that five years later, Mr. Sater was implicated in a huge stock manipulation scheme involving Mafia figures and Russian criminals — and that he became a confidential F.B.I. informant.

Recently unsealed federal court records show that Mr. Sater helped the government disrupt an organized crime ring on Wall Street and deal with an unexplained national security matter involving his foreign connections. He was not the only F.B.I. informant in Bayrock’s offices. Another was Salvatore Lauria, an associate of Mr. Sater, who sometimes showed up to work wearing a court-ordered ankle monitor. Mr. Lauria brokered a $50 million investment in Trump SoHo and three other Bayrock projects by an Icelandic firm preferred by wealthy Russians “in favor with” President Vladimir V. Putin, according to a lawsuit against Bayrock by one of its former executives. The Icelandic company, FL Group, was identified in a Bayrock investor presentation as a “strategic partner,” along with Alexander Mashkevich, a billionaire once charged in a corruption case involving fees paid by a Belgian company seeking business in Kazakhstan; that case was settled with no admission of guilt.

Photo

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Mr. Trump in 2010 with, from left, his children Eric, Ivanka and Donald Jr. at the Trump SoHo ribbon-cutting ceremony. Credit Jessica Rinaldi/Reuters

Slowing Sales and a Lawsuit

The official unveiling of Trump SoHo in September 2007 was quintessential Trump: a red-carpet announcement followed by a big bash, where flavored vodka flowed, dancers whirled and models wandered about. Amid the hoopla, Mr. Trump took the microphone to extol the greatness of the project. Standing beside him, beaming, were Mr. Arif and Mr. Sater.

The timing of Trump SoHo’s completion and marketing could hardly have been worse. The real estate bubble was bursting, and the global economy was on the brink of crisis as the developers began advertising luxury condo-hotel units costing as much as tens of millions of dollars.

The economics of the investment were largely untested in New York real estate. To get around residential zoning restrictions, owners of Trump SoHo units were allowed to live in them only 120 days a year. The rest of the time, the units would be rented as hotel rooms, with the owners sharing in the revenue.

The project was marketed aggressively to potential investors overseas, where exchange rates were favorable and the Trump brand carried a certain cachet. Many early buyers were from Europe, including a French former soccer star, Olivier Dacourt, who put down a deposit of $460,400 on a $2.3 million unit.

After an initial flurry of activity, the pace of sales slowed considerably. In addition to the economic decline, Trump SoHo was jolted by bad publicity when The New York Times published an article in December 2007 revealing Mr. Sater’s criminal past.

According to data the Trump SoHo developers filed with state and federal agencies, only 15 to 30 percent of the units had been sold by the start of 2009. But those numbers did not come close to the grand-sounding sales figures promoted, publicly and in private, by people affiliated with Trump SoHo, according to a lawsuit filed in August 2010 by Mr. Dacourt and other people who had bought units.

In June 2008, Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka was quoted in a Reuters article saying that about 60 percent of the units had been sold. In April 2009, Mr. Trump’s son Donald Jr. appeared in another news article saying that 55 percent of the units were sold by March of that year. More purported cases of puffery occurred in emails and statements by sales agents.

The lawsuit also suggested that Mr. Trump had contributed to the deception, citing a claim he made at the project’s unveiling. Depending on the news account, he said 3,200 prospective purchasers either had signed up to see the units or had requested applications to buy them; the plaintiffs argued that this figure was exaggerated, given how few units had actually been sold at the time. The Trumps and the other defendants denied that there had been any deception.

The inflated numbers were more than just harmless self-promotion and amounted to fraudulent enticement of investors, who believed they were buying into a project that was healthier than it actually was, said Adam Leitman Bailey, the lawyer representing the buyers.

 “They relied on these misrepresentations to their detriment,” he said.

The people familiar with the criminal investigation said that not long after Mr. Bailey’s lawsuit was filed, the district attorney’s office began looking into the allegations it had raised. These people insisted on anonymity for fear of legal repercussions from speaking about confidential agreements or sealed criminal matters.

Documents reviewed by The Times, including a state grand jury subpoena, make clear that an area of focus for prosecutors was determining whether the accusations in Mr. Bailey’s lawsuit rose to the level of a crime. The investigation was being handled by the Major Economic Crimes Bureau.

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Trump SoHo’s condo-hotel concept did not pan out, but the property remained open and became a popular luxury hotel. Credit Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Gradually Cutting Ties

Shortly before the condo buyers’ lawsuit was filed, another suit appeared, this one by Jody Kriss, a former finance director of Bayrock. It claimed that by concealing Mr. Sater’s criminal record, Bayrock had committed fraud on banks and investors with which it did business. Mr. Trump is not a defendant in that case, which is continuing.

Mr. Kriss’s lawsuit was filled with unflattering details of how Bayrock operated, including allegations that it had occasionally received unexplained infusions of cash from accounts in Kazakhstan and Russia. Bayrock and Trump SoHo drew more negative headlines in October 2010, when news spread from Turkey that Mr. Arif had been aboard a luxury yacht raided by the police, who were investigating a suspected prostitution ring that catered to wealthy businessmen. He was charged but later acquitted.

The next year, when it was clear that Mr. Bailey’s lawsuit would be allowed to proceed and with the district attorney’s criminal investigation continuing, Mr. Trump and his co-defendants agreed to settle the condo buyers’ suit. The financial terms were announced publicly, but another part of the settlement was kept secret.

That part required the plaintiffs to notify any investigative agency with which they “may have previously cooperated” that they did not want to “participate in any investigation or criminal prosecution” related to matters in the lawsuit, according to a confidentiality agreement signed by more than 20 people. The plaintiffs could respond to a subpoena or court order, but would also have to notify the defendants that they had received it, the agreement said. The criminal investigation was closed sometime afterward.

As for Trump SoHo, the condo-hotel concept did not pan out. Only about a third of the units were ultimately sold, and one of the project’s lenders foreclosed on the rest, although the property remained open and became a popular luxury hotel, still managed by Mr. Trump’s company.

Mr. Sater left Bayrock after the news of his criminal background was reported. But even after that, his association with Mr. Trump did not end. The Trump Organization later gave him a business card identifying him as a “senior advisor” to Mr. Trump, as well an office. Mr. Garten, the general counsel for the organization, said that Mr. Sater was never an employee, but that he had worked independently to steer potential deals to Mr. Trump. The arrangement lasted about six months, Mr. Garten said. Mr. Sater declined to comment on his dealings with Mr. Trump or with Bayrock.

By the time Mr. Trump sat for a deposition in a lawsuit in November 2013, it was clear he no longer saw the benefit of knowing the Bayrock executives with whom he had once completed big deals. He said he barely knew Mr. Arif: “I mean, I’ve seen him a couple of times; I have met him.”

As for Mr. Sater, “if he were sitting in the room right now,” Mr. Trump said, “I really wouldn’t know what he looked like.”


 

A version of this article appears in print on April 6, 2016, on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Trump Settled Suit, and Legal Storm Blew Over.

Photo

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Michael D. Cohen, second from left, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, with Michael T. Flynn, left, and former Gov. Rick Perry of Texas at Trump Tower in December. Mr. Cohen delivered the peace plan to Mr. Flynn a week before Mr. Flynn resigned as national security adviser. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

Mr. Artemenko said a mutual friend had put him in touch with Mr. Sater. Helping to advance the proposal, Mr. Sater said, made sense.

 “I want to stop a war, number one,” he said. “Number two, I absolutely believe that the U.S. and Russia need to be allies, not enemies. If I could achieve both in one stroke, it would be a home run.”

After speaking with Mr. Sater and Mr. Artemenko in person, Mr. Cohen said he would deliver the plan to the White House.

Mr. Cohen said he did not know who in the Russian government had offered encouragement on it, as Mr. Artemenko claims, but he understood there was a promise of proof of corruption by the Ukrainian president.

 

“Fraud is never good, right?” Mr. Cohen said.

He said Mr. Sater had given him the written proposal in a sealed envelope. When Mr. Cohen met with Mr. Trump in the Oval Office in early February, he said, he left the proposal in Mr. Flynn’s office.

Mr. Cohen said he was waiting for a response when Mr. Flynn was forced from his post. Now Mr. Cohen, Mr. Sater and Mr. Artemenko are hoping a new national security adviser will take up their cause. On Friday the president wrote on Twitter that he had four new candidates for the job.

Correction: February 19, 2017

Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this article gave an incorrect middle initial for Paul Manafort. It is J., not D.

Megan Twohey reported from New York, and Scott Shane from Washington. Michael Schwirtz contributed reporting from Kiev, Ukraine.

Get politics and Washington news updates via Facebook, Twitter and in the Morning Briefing newsletter.

A version of this article appears in print on February 20, 2017, on Page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Trump Associates Push Backdoor Ukraine Plan.

 

 

 

 

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The Scorpion and the Frog: High Times and High Crimes (Hardcover)

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EXCLUSIVE: Donald Trump may have reviewed construction contracts for Trump SoHo – where worker fell to his death



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EXCLUSIVE: Donald Trump may have reviewed construction contracts for Trump SoHo – where worker fell to his death




 


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dnp;

A form used in concrete pouring gave way and a worker fell 40 stories to his death during the construction of the Trump SoHo hotel. A second worker also fell but landed in a net, suspended hundreds of feet above Spring St.

 (SAVULICH, ANDREW)


NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Sunday, July 26, 2015, 2:30 AM

During construction of Donald Trump’s glitzy Trump SoHo hotel in lower Manhattan, tragedy struck hundreds of feet above the city.

A form used in concrete pouring gave way and a worker fell 40 stories to his death. A second worker also fell but landed in a net, suspended hundreds of feet above Spring St.

At the time of the 2008 tragedy, Trump said he had little to do with the project, explaining that he’d simply licensed his name to it — an arrangement he’s made with numerous developers.

But a deposition obtained by the Daily News shows he may have been much more involved and even may have reviewed the contract of the firm that was ultimately cited in the fatal accident.

That firm, Difama Concrete, had earned a notorious reputation for job safety violations in Manhattan before it began work at Trump SoHo.

By 2008, Difama had been hit with 17 serious violations by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration and tagged with $109,000 in fines for its work in New York, records show.

That included a November 2004 incident in which a Difama worker fell 30 feet to his death from a tower at 350 W. 53rd St. Difama faced three violations and $10,500 in fines over the incident; it settled with a $3,500 payment.

Difama was also cited by OSHA for a November 2006 accident at 250 E. 53rd St. in which one of its workers was seriously injured when he fell 18 feet onto an area with “sharp projecting objects.”

A deposition obtained by the Daily News shows Trump may have been much more involved and even may have reviewed the contract of the firm that was ultimately cited in the fatal accident.

A deposition obtained by the Daily News shows Trump may have been much more involved and even may have reviewed the contract of the firm that was ultimately cited in the fatal accident.

 (MIKE PONT/WIREIMAGE)

In that case, OSHA slapped Difama with five more violations and $50,000 in fines. Difama settled for $29,000.

The terrible 2004 accident repeated itself on Jan. 14, 2008, as workers poured concrete on the 42nd floor of Trump SoHo.

The forms holding the concrete collapsed, and Difama worker Yurly Vanchytsky, 53, fell to his death 42 stories below. Co-worker Francesco Palizzotto, then 46, fell into a net on the 40th floor and was covered with concrete.

Palizzotto survived but opened his eyes to find he was suspended hundreds of feet above the street. He was left traumatized and unable to work again, said his attorney Walter Roura.

“He went off the deep end. He suffered a traumatic brain injury,” Roura recalled.

Following the accident, OSHA cited Difama for multiple violations and demanded $68,000 in fines. Difama settled for $40,000.

The hotel was being built by a developer called the Sapir Organization in partnership with Trump in a deal that allowed for the use of Trump’s name.

dnp;

1 | 2At the time of the 2008 tragedy, Trump said he had little to do with the project, explaining that he’d simply licensed his name to it.(SAVULICH, ANDREW)

But a top official at Bovis Lend Lease, the general contractor hired to construct the hotel, noted that Trump personally reviewed all of the trade contracts.

In a deposition taken during one of several lawsuits that came out of the accident, Jan Sokolowski, then Bovis’ general superintendent on the Trump SoHo job, testified that Trump and several of his children were all personally involved during construction of the hotel.

Describing the arrangement, he said, “I believe they have some agreement to use his name and also review contracts.”

Attorney David Cook asked him, “When you say ‘review contracts,’ what type of contracts are you referring to that Trump would review?”

“Contracts with trade,” Sokolowski said.

“Would that include Difama?” Cook asked.

“Yes.”

In a deposition taken during one of several lawsuits that came out of the accident, Jan Sokolowski, then Bovis’ general superintendent on the Trump SoHo job, testified that Trump and several of his children were all personally involved during construction of the hotel.

1 | 2In a deposition taken during one of several lawsuits that came out of the accident, Jan Sokolowski, then Bovis’ general superintendent on the Trump SoHo job, testified that Trump and several of his children were all personally involved during construction of the hotel.(NATI HARNIK/AP)

Sokolowski admitted he didn’t know if Trump had initialed the Difama contract.

But he said he believed Trump had seen it, stating, “I was not part of those meetings, but I do know that Donald did review the contracts.”

Alan Garten, executive vice president and general counsel for the Trump Organization, said Trump was involved in reviewing the hotel’s plans but not in hiring contractors.

“That’s not true. He may have reviewed plans, but he’s not involved in selection of the contract,” Garten said.

Garten said Trump had “no knowledge” of Difama’s prior safety record.

Trump was “not the developer,” Garten said.

“He’s not the owner. He did not oversee construction and he was not involved in selection of the contracts. He licensed his name and he manages the project. I’m sorry. He manages the hotel — not the project.”

In his deposition, Bovis’ Sokolowski noted that Trump’s daughter Ivanka and son Donald Jr. were also “involved in the design” and were at the site on “at least a monthly basis.”



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Worker Is Killed in Accident at Trump SoHo Tower



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Officials have confirmed that a construction worker died at the site of the planned Trump SoHo hotel and condominium tower at 246 Spring Street in Manhattan.




 

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 JANUARY 14, 2008 2:31 PMJanuary 14, 2008 2:31 pm

scaffolding collapse

An injured worker was lowered from the site of a construction accident at the Trump SoHo hotel and condominium tower. A second worker was killed, city officials said, after he fell from the 42nd floor. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Updated, 8:46 p.m. | A construction worker plunged to his death, and two others were injured, after a wooden structure on the 42nd floor of the Trump SoHo hotel and condominium tower under construction in Manhattan collapsed, city officials said. The building, which is to rise 46 stories, has been a persistent source of debate, with community groups complaining about its size and proposed use, even before construction began last May.

The worker fell from the 42nd story — the uppermost story built so far — at 1:52 p.m. when the wooden structure broke apart while concrete was being poured into it, Assistant Chief Thomas Galvin of the Fire Department said at an afternoon news conference. A second worker fell from the 42nd story but was saved by some netting around the 40th floor. That worker was hospitalized with injuries. One other worker suffered minor injuries. All three workers were employed by DiFama Concrete, a concrete subcontractor for Bovis Lend Lease, the general contractor.

scaffold accident

Witnesses reported that a large number of firefighters and emergency medical workers converged on the area, at the hotel and tower, at 246 Spring Street near Varick Street, west of the heart of SoHo, as did police officers from the First Precinct.

The accident tangled traffic in the area, especially around the entrance to the nearby Holland Tunnel late into the afternoon.

The company managing work at the site, Bovis Lend Lease, is the same company that oversaw demolition of the former Deutsche Bank building in Lower Manhattan, where two firefighters were killed in August in a blaze that swept through the contaminated structure.

The Buildings Department announced in the late afternoon that it had ordered all work stopped at the building. The department said in a statement:

Preliminary reports indicate the concrete formwork on the 42nd floor failed, leading to part of the formwork collapsing onto the 40th floor. Buildings forensic engineers have determined the new building under construction is not in danger of further collapse and the crane at the site is stable.

Buildings forensic engineers are conducting interviews and assessing the construction site to determine the exact cause of the partial collapse.

The Buildings Department is vacating the top two floors of two neighboring buildings, 145 and 155 Sixth Avenue, as a safety precaution. The vacate orders will remain in effect until the general contractor at 246 Spring Street, Bovis Lend Lease, makes the construction site safe.

The department also announced that it had issued four violations to Bovis Lend Lease for failing to safeguard the public and property, maintain adequate housekeeping, provide a fire escape hatch, and provide adequate fire extinguishers.

The Trump SoHo tower is being developed by the Trump Organization, the Bayrock Group and the Sapir Organization.

Last month, The New York Times reported that an employee of the Bayrock Group who is involved in the project, Felix H. Sater, was accused by federal authorities in 1998 of money laundering and stock manipulation in a federal complaint that remains under seal. A subsequent indictment in 2000 stemming from the same investigation described Mr. Sater as an “unindicted co-conspirator” and an important figure in a $40 million scheme involving 19 stockbrokers and organized crime figures from four Mafia families. The indictment asserted that Mr. Sater helped create fraudulent stock brokerages that were used to defraud investors and launder money.

Mr. Sater and his lawyer, Judd Burstein, repeatedly refused to discuss in detail his role in the stock scheme. Mr. Sater now spells his last name Satter, he said, in an attempt to distance himself from the past. Neither Bayrock nor Mr. Trump has been accused of wrongdoing.

In September, Mr. Trump and his three children held a news conference at the tower to announce details of the project, even as dozens of opponents gathered outside in protest, holding up placards that read “Dump the Trump” and “Don’t Comb Over Here.”

The building will include 400 apartments priced at more than $3,000 per square foot; those apartments will range from 425 square-foot studios to suites of more than 10,000 square feet. Owners will be permitted to live in those apartments for 120 days out of the year, or 29 days out of any consecutive 36 days; when not living there, owners will be able to rent out their apartments.

As Rob Walker noted in The Times Magazine in October, SoHo long ago shed its reputation as a scruffy haven for artists. The project is being cast as “the downtowning of Trump,” Mr. Walker wrote.

A coalition of public officials and community groups have opposed the project, including several state and city lawmakers, the Municipal Art Society and four Community Boards in Manhattan.

“Once the city issued the building permit, the only recourse was to take the city to court, and that is in process,” said Andrew Berman, executive director of one of the groups, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, which has argued that the zoning for the site does not permit a hotel-condominium, an interpretation the city has disagreed with. “Neighbors have commented on the phenomenal pace of construction, which some speculated was an attempt to head off the legal challenge. People were amazed at how quickly the construction seemed to go. So tragically, in some ways this is not surprising.”

The city’s Board of Standards and Appeals, where the appeal of the Buildings Department’s decision was filed, has not yet set a date to hear the case. “The city has seemed to do everything in its power to shepherd this through and put the brake on community challenges,” Mr. Berman said.

In a statement, the Manhattan borough president, Scott M. Stringer, said that safety violations at the construction site had been reported in recent months:

The accident at the new hotel at 246 Spring Street is another example of the dangerous conditions created by rushed construction in Manhattan. My office did an initial investigation of violations at the site and discovered that there were two Class A violations issued on Oct. 26, 2007. These violations are considered high risk. However, the construction was allowed to continue unchecked and the Environmental Control Board hearing to review the violations was not scheduled until Jan. 24, 2008.

This is unacceptable. The death and injury of construction workers and the compromised safety of emergency responders and surrounding community should not be considered the cost of doing business in Manhattan. Any type of high risk violation should necessitate a halt of unsafe work until the violation is cured. I will continue to investigate this matter and look to see rapid response from all relevant city agencies. I applaud the fire, police and other emergency responders for their bravery and for putting themselves at risk to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers.

The City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, said in a statement:

I want to express my deepest condolences to the family of the worker who was killed in today’s accident at the Trump Soho construction site, and my thoughts and prayers remain with the two others who remain injured at St. Vincent’s Hospital. I continue to monitor the situation closely, and we will remain in close contact with the Office of Emergency Management, the Department of Buildings, and all other relevant agencies as we work to determine the cause of this terrible accident, and to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

Later this afternoon, the Buildings Department said 11 construction-related Environmental Control Board violations had been cited at 246 since construction began in May 2007. The prior violations included violations for operating the crane in an unsafe manner, failing to provide a flagman during hoisting operations and failing to close the sidewalk before hoisting loads over the sidewalk. Eight of the 11 violations were issued to Bovis Lend Lease.

At the afternoon news conference, Patricia J. Lancaster, the commissioner of the Buildings Department, said that remedial work would continue this evening to clear away debris from the site. No construction work will resume on the building until the department is convinced that work can be performed safely, she said.

Aurora Kessler, a spokeswoman for the Trump SoHo project, referred a request for comment to Mary Costello, a spokeswoman for Bovis Lend Lease. Ms. Costello said in an e-mail message sent several hours later, “We are in the process of conducting our own investigation with our concrete subcontractor, while working with local authorities, to determine the cause of this tragic accident. Our hearts go out to the family of the deceased concrete worker and our prayers are with the injured workers.”

Charles V. Bagli, Al Baker, Thomas J. Lueck and Mathew R. Warren contributed reporting.

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