Profile picture
, 80 tweets, 22 min read Read on Twitter
1/ A Gotham imbroglio

Felix Sater MEGATHREAD
2/ First of all, @felixsater, of you see anything off here, feel free to correct. This is all from open source documents, I do not have super secret sources handing me info below the table. Most of all, want to represent facts accurately and label speculation as such. Thanks
3/ But a full thread treatment is very much needed for Sater. He is intertwined at the very root of this scandal. He has/had personal contact with many main players on all sides of the story and remains mysterious
4/ It's easy to jump to the end question of "what team was this guy on?" I want to know too. But the truth is likely very complicated. This gets into the world of espionage where nothing is quite as it seems. So this is a gathering of available information plus some speculation
5/ The best source for Sater’s pre-spygate background is in an article from Bill Powell of Newsweek who is apparently not on twitter. I'm going borrow from it here
newsweek.com/2018/06/15/sat…
6/ Sater was born in Russia but his parents emigrated when he was a child. They were a Jewish family and lived in Israel for a year before ending up in Brooklyn.

Their neighborhood was a landing place for other Russian immigrants as well
7/ Sater attended Brooklyn public schools, his father was a cab driver, and apparently made friends with none other than Michael Cohen

Cohen is also Jewish and some have said he speaks a little Russian
8/ Out of high school, Sater enrolls in Pace University in Manhattan, but quickly got a part time job on Wall Street and it was a natural fit. He became a full time broker at 19. "I breathed it in like it was air", referring to the Wall Street atmosphere. This was the late 80s
9/ Sater was making really good money, he got married, moved to an Upper East Side apartment.

But it all came crashing down in an instant...from a stupid bar fight

Sater stabbed a guy in the neck with the stem of a wine glass
10/ He ended up getting convicted of assault and spent time in New York's Riker Island Jail.

Because of the assault charges he was sanctioned on Wall Street so he could not act as a broker as for publicly traded companies, the job he had before the ordeal
11/ Hope I'm emphasizing the backdrop enough here.

New York, New York

This is a Gotham tale full of high stakes real estate deals, high rises and taxi medallions
12/ So after Sater gets out of jail, he is sanctioned from being a broker on Wall Street but he violates those sanctions and subsequently becomes involved with ANOTHER fraud with members of the Genovese and Colombo crime families. He gets caught and is obviously in quite a pickle
13/ This is Dec 1998. Andrew Weissmann is a lead prosecutor of the case, which is filed in EDNY. Loretta Lynch was the AUSA for EDNY at the time
14/ He pleads guilty to racketeering and the case is immediately sealed. Why? Because he begins spying for the FBI and the CIA.

He actually traveled to his native Russia and tapped into the underground of the former Soviet Union tracking down black market weapons
15/ Quick note that this is where my accounting of events diverges from the Newsweek article. The Newsweek article is told with Sater's voice and he seems to gloss over some stuff, understandably. My version of events lines up with the great reporting done by @mikesallah7 in 2012
16/ So from 1998 until 2015, he was a very important informant and asset. Loretta Lynch says so herself.

She said "For more than 10 years, he worked with prosecutors from my Office, the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York and law enforcement.."
17/ "..agents from the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, providing info crucial to national security and the conviction of over 20 individuals, including those responsible for committing massive financial fraud and members of La Cosa Nostra agencies" c6.nrostatic.com/sites/default/…
18/ Sater builds a public life as New York businessman in real estate, hospitality, investing, etc. He joins Bayrock Group in 2003 as a senior adviser at the behest of the company's owner Tevfik Arif

and this is where he starts working with the Trump Organization
19/ Bayrock's offices were on the 24th floor of Trump Tower and were clearly pitching Trump and his team on real estate deals, especially licensing deals.

Bayrock collaborated with the Trump Organization on projects all over the world.
20/ Abe Wallach: "It's not very hard to get connected to Donald if you make it known that you have a lot of money and you want to do deals and you want to put his name on it.

Donald doesn't do due diligence. He relies on his gut and whether he thinks you have good genes."
21/ The most successful Bayrock deal seems to be the licensing on Trump SoHo. The building broke ground in 2006 and Sater apparently played a major role throughout the construction process
22/ However there were also many duds. And the most impactful dud was again a licensing deal but this time on a condo complex in Fort Lauderdale.

Construction initially started in 2005 but the developer went belly up and Trump took his name off the unfinished project in 2009
23/ Sater's past caught up with him in an amazing December 2007 New York Times article by Charles Bagli. It talks about his bar fight, his securities fraud, his CIA connection, the work with Trump.

nytimes.com/2007/12/17/nyr…
24/ Apparently Trump read that 2007 NYT article and was "surprised."

According to Trump's lawyer later: "He had no idea. It was the first time that both the Trump organization and Bayrock learned of Mr. Sater's background."
25/ Adding: “When you go into business with another company, you're going to vet that company certainly, but you're not going to vet every employee, it’s just not appropriate."
26/ Once that information became publicly known, Trump “cut all ties” with Sater. But, the Trump organization acknowledges that they continued to listen to deals pitched by Sater well after that that article came out
27/ Note that that NYT article phrases Sater's cooperation with the CIA in the past tense. There is no mention of ongoing ties.

Also, it mentions Sater's involvement in financial fraud in 1998 but it has very little detail.

How in the world did NYT uncover this information?
28/ Maybe related, there was a 2007 lawsuit filed in state court against “the Trump/Bayrock Organization” where Sater was accused of threatening one of the Arizona partners in a deal in Phoenix, a guy called Earnest Mennes
29/ Sater was alleged to have told Mennes he would call in a relative to “electrically shock Mr. Mennes' testicles, cut off Mr. Mennes' legs, and leave Mr. Mennes dead in the trunk of his car.”
30/ They settled out of court. Doesn't diminish Sater's reputation for violence obviously
31/ Also in this time period (~2006), Michael Cohen joins the Trump orbit. Did Sater bring him in somehow? It's unclear
32/ But back to the ill fated Fort Lauderdale condo complex; several of the investors and people who tired to buy condos hired a lawyer in 2010 and sued the developer and Bayrock.

This is where things get real interesting.
33/ Somehow the lawyers in the 2010 Fort Lauderdale case got wind of the seedy details in Sater's past.

I guess someone slipped them documents?

Likely they recvd info that went beyond the earlier NYT story in the understanding of Sater's level of involvement in fraud from '98
34/ However, when these lawyers try to enter Sater's past into evidence in support of their case against developer/Bayrock, they find out that Sater's criminal docket is sealed.

Sealing should be a very rare occurrence as it deprives public of access to public records in a court
35/ In the course of this legal fight over Sater's sealed docket, it soon becomes clear WHY it's sealed. And that's because Sater is an ONGOING high level informant for the FBI
36/ You can read about these revelations in the Miami Herald articles from that time period:
Jul 01, 2012: "Trump tower promoter’s criminal record was concealed by feds"
miamiherald.com/latest-news/ar…
37/
Jul 31, 2012: "High Court reveals secret deal of Trump developer's crimes"
miamiherald.com/latest-news/ar…
38/ My favorite,
Sep 08, 2012: "Strange Bedfellows: Swindler, Singer missile brokers, the CIA"
miamiherald.com/news/local/com…
39/ Michael Sallah gave me some confirmation of what happened
41/ At this point it seems like Sater's usefulness as an FBI asset should be completely finished but for whatever reason that does not seem to be the case

@nwi_realtor might disagree with me but Sater seems to fit the mold for CS-1 in the Buryakov case
42/ The complaint says: "in the summer of 2014, EVGENY BURYAKOV the defendant, met numerous times with a confidential source working for the FBI ("CS-1"). CS-1 posed as the representative of a wealthy investor looking to work with Bank-1 to develop casinos in Russia"
43/ "Representative of a wealthy investor looking to...develop casinos in Russia"

..."wealthy investor"...

Did Sater use Trump's name as a lure to Buryakov et all?
44/ Of course, Trump brought Miss Universe to Moscow in 2013 (same time period) so that sales tactic would not sound too far fetched IMO
45/ The only problem here, wouldn't these Russian spies have read the Miami Herald and New York Times articles?

Maybe Sater was using a false identity and fooled them. Or maybe they really didn't read those articles. I don't know.
46/ Regardless, through the work of Carter Page and Felix Sater (I think), Buryakov and his two other Russian Non Official Cover officers were taken down

justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/e…
47/ Who worked the Buryakov case and worked these informants? The New York Field Office counterintelligence division.

As in, Bill Preistap, before he got transferred to HQ...
48/ In fact, that promotion of Preistap might have been a direct result of the success of the Buryakov case. But we're still learning about him.

Obviously his name is in the Strzok Page texts a TON. Hopefully we learn more from him soon
49/ Anyway, this whole time the Ft Lauderdale lawsuit is simmering and in fact starting to boil. Serious money gets injected in 2013/2014 when lawsuits are filed in both directions between Bayrock-related people (Kriss) and alleged victims of their schemes
prnewswire.com/news-releases/…
50/ And Sater becomes a main point of contention because the victim side is trying to portray Bayrock as a bunch of mobsters and crooks. Kriss family is LOADED by the way.
51/ The "injustice" of Sater's docket being sealed gets brought up a Congressional Hearing in 2013 of all things by a Utah professor named Paul Cassell who argued that sealing the docket specifically deprived the victims of their mandatory restitution provisions
52/ Trump gives a taped deposition in Nov 2013 where he is asked a bunch of questions about the Fort Lauderdale project. That video is later leaked to ABC during the presidential primaries
53/ 53/ It finally boils over at Loretta Lynch's confirmation hearing where Orrin Hatch asks Loretta Lynch to specifically comment on the Felix Sater "sealed docket" issue. I'm not quite sure where that came from but he did it.
c6.nrostatic.com/sites/default/…
54/ To which Loretta Lynch, to ensure her nomination, explained in very stark terms Sater's cooperation with the FBI over many many years. You could argue that Lynch "spilled the beans" here or at least stoked the fire already burning to unseal the docket.
55/ Because from there on, the pressure level went to HIGH to unseal the docket. And here is where you start to wonder if it became a political tool because you're heading into presidential campaign season.
56/ In fact, read this from July 2015 named "There will never be a President Trump" which specifically mentions Sater and the Fort Lauderdale project
miamiherald.com/opinion/opn-co…
57/ Later that month, the New York lawyers who are most dogged about unsealing Sater's docket (Richard Lerner and Frederick Oberlander) publish an absolutely blistering article (behind paywall. I can DM a copy if you're interested)
law360.com/articles/68883…
58/ Now we're in fall 2015, meaning Fusion GPS is getting in the ring. And Simpson says that the Sater stuff is one of the first things he looks at.
59/ Which leads to a big drop in December 2015!

AP reporter @JeffHorwitz asks Trump about Sater in an interview to which Trump responds "Felix Sater, boy, I have to even think about it. I’m not that familiar with him.” AP released this article on the 4th:
dfw.cbslocal.com/2015/12/04/tru…
60/ Then Fusion favorite Brian Ross does an ABC special on Trump and Sater. As I mentioned before, the 2013 deposition was leaked to them somehow...
abcnews.go.com/Politics/memor…
61/ In fact, "dirty link" between Sater and Trump ends up in the secret DNC Oppo Research "book" on Trump dated Dec 19, 2015 which was later leaked.
thesmokinggun.com/sites/default/…
62/ Linking "mobster" Sater to Trump becomes a favorite pastime of the MSM and their NPC receivers. "TRUMP WORKED WITH THE MAFIA!"

Meanwhile, AP goes to a federal judge with Lerner and Oberlander to once again try to unseal Sater's docket
law360.com/articles/80200…
63/ In that hearing, the Judge sounds resigned to the outcome:

"Judge Schofield noted the once-sealed initial complaint, since supplanted by amended filings, had already been publicized by the Associated Press and the Telegraph."
64/ "The AP, for example, used the doc in a Dec 2015 story detailing ties between Trump and Felix Sater, a convicted felon with mafia ties. 'The cat's out of the bag. The horse is out of the barn. Use whatever metaphor you want,' Schofield said, directing the doc to be docketed"
65/ And thus the long journey of Sater's sealed docket ends in the sunlight.

However, followup complaints against Lerner and Oberlander for leaking sealed info inappropriately get filed. Oberlander was found to have violated professional stds and might lose his license for a yr
66/ I haven't even mentioned Sater's overtures to Michael Cohen about the Trump Tower Moscow project starting in September 2015.

The project was dead and Sater tried to revive it.
67/ Why? I honestly can't figure it out. I'm still holding out the possibility that Sater and Cohen were literally just trying to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. As in, none of this connects back to the CIA or FBI
68/ The reason I say that is the "New York Real Estate" mindset of Sater and Cohen. I honestly believe that these guys romanticize connections to the "mob" and aspire to that. Just look at how they present themselves
69/
70/
71/ But LARPing as a mafia don doesn't equal actually being a mafia don (or a mafia don lawyer)...
72/ It's crazy that this thing is so long and it doesn't even have all the research I have. I'm sure I'll press send then regret missing some things but there you go.
73/ ANNEX OF GREAT RELEVANT LINKS
Larry Johnson Article
turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyr…
75/
John Batchelor Show
audioboom.com/posts/7104661-…
76/
John Batchelor Show
audioboom.com/posts/7104660-…
77/
John Batchelor Show
audioboom.com/posts/7106525-…
78/
John Batchelor Show
audioboom.com/posts/7106524-…
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Nick Weil
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!


This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!