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Dan Alexander @DanAlexander21
, 10 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
(1/10) For months, I’ve been wondering why the Trump campaign was paying rent to one of the president’s companies named Trump Plaza LLC. After a 14-hour stakeout and a bunch of phone calls, I think I figured it out. forbes.com/sites/danalexa…
(2/10) The first question: What is Trump Plaza LLC? According to the fine print on one document I found, it’s the president’s company, which has a lease on retail space, two brownstones and a garage at near Third Avenue in New York City.
(3/10) The next question: If the campaign is already renting space in Trump Tower, so why would it need more space at Trump Plaza, which is just a few blocks away?
(4/10) I went over there to see. Here’s the retail space. You can see a GNC, a restaurant and so on—but there’s no sign of the president’s campaign.
(5/10) Underneath is a garage, but you can see here that a non-Trump company—Enterprise 61st LLC—apparently leases that from Trump. Which leaves the two brownstones. It’s hard to tell who the tenants might be inside those buildings.
(6/10) To try to figure it out, I stood outside the buildings for 14 hours. Turns out, stakeouts are a lot less exciting than I had imagined. It mostly consisted of me circling these trees a couple hundred times, eating PB&Js, and getting very, very cold.
(7/10) Every once in a while, someone walked out of the buildings. Six told me they had seen no sign of the campaign. One wouldn’t talk to me. "Excuse me. Hi, my name is Dan Alexander," I said. “I’m busy,” he said, cutting me off, then letting the door close behind him.
(8/10) Perhaps he was a campaign staffer. Someone from ’16 campaign told me staffers sometimes stayed at Trump Plaza. If that’s why the campaign is paying rent—and my guess is it is—it’s an odd arrangement. Seems like the campaign could just pay for a hotel.
(9/10) Through Trump Plaza LLC, Trump got paid $42K from Nov 2017 to Aug 2018. That works out to an average of $4,200 per month, which appears to be slightly more than what recent rentals in the building were going for. You can see past rentals here: streeteasy.com/building/165-e…
(10/10) It’s illegal for candidates to do deals with their own businesses at above-market prices. But even if the campaign is renting an apt similar to the others, it’s paying a small enough premium that it’s hard to see FEC cracking down. Expect the payments to continue flowing.
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