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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 141)

Official Who Defended Ukraine Envoy Is Testifying in Impeachment Inquiry

Westlake Legal Group merlin_162303825_aae655a2-e957-427c-97bb-beaf5620fb6a-facebookJumbo Official Who Defended Ukraine Envoy Is Testifying in Impeachment Inquiry Yovanovitch, Marie L Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry State Department Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Reeker, Philip Presidential Election of 2020 Presidential Election of 2016 impeachment

WASHINGTON — House impeachment investigators met on Saturday for a rare weekend session to question a high-ranking State Department official about his knowledge of what other witnesses have described as a shadow foreign policy intended to pressure Ukraine for President Trump’s personal political gain.

The official, Philip T. Reeker, is acting assistant secretary in charge of European and Eurasian Affairs. He oversaw officials who interacted directly with Mr. Trump and his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani on Ukraine matters, at a time when Ukraine was being pressed to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and unproven theories about Democratic collusion with Ukrainians in the 2016 presidential election.

Mr. Reeker, who is answering questions behind closed doors, should be able to provide investigators with additional details about at least one aspect of the unfolding story: the ouster this spring of Marie L. Yovanovitch, a career foreign service officer, as the ambassador to Ukraine.

But it is unclear how much he knew about what others have called demands by Mr. Trump that the new Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, publicly announce an investigation of the Biden family before Mr. Trump would agree to meet Mr. Zelensky or to release $391 million in military aid.

Like others who have testified so far, Mr. Reeker, 54, is a longtime diplomat. Congressional committees subpoenaed him to testify after the State Department instructed Mr. Reeker not to comply voluntarily, according to two people familiar with the matter.

A 27-year veteran of the foreign service, Mr. Reeker has been posted around the world, including in Iraq, Germany, Italy, Hungary and Macedonia. In his most recent role, he divided his time between Washington and Europe.

The unusual weekend interview indicated that a fast-moving inquiry could be accelerating as it enters its second month. House Democrats have so far scheduled four more depositions with potentially consequential witnesses in the coming week, and they may conduct more than one a day in an effort to clear the way for a more public-facing phase of the inquiry by mid- to late November.

Democrats have been under intense pressure from Republicans accusing them of trying to hide the proceedings from voters and of shirking the responsibility of holding a full vote of the House to legitimize the inquiry. But they met on Saturday with new momentum behind them after a federal judge ruled on Friday that the inquiry was legally legitimate and that, despite recent precedent, no such vote was necessary.

Mr. Trump continued on Saturday to rail against the inquiry, dismissing it on Twitter as “just as Corrupt and Fake as all of the other garbage that went on before it.” Without presenting evidence, he also accused Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader who initiated the impeachment inquiry in September, of neglecting her San Francisco district, which he described as a hellscape of environmental and sanitary violations.

“Pelosi must work on this mess and turn her District around!” he wrote. It was not the first time the president had seized on high homelessness rates in the city to criticize Democrats.

Investigators are certain to ask Mr. Reeker about his efforts to protect Ms. Yovanovitch. An informal campaign against her, largely orchestrated by Mr. Giuliani, was already in full swing by the time Mr. Reeker began overseeing the State Department’s activities for the region this spring.

In an email to an adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Mr. Reeker wrote that in casting Ms. Yovanovitch as a “liberal outpost,” critics were pushing a “fake narrative” that “really is without merit or validation.” But she was recalled to Washington in May, months before her tenure was to end. He will very likely be asked about how Mr. Pompeo and his leadership team responded to his concerns and communicated with Ms. Yovanovitch about her recall.

By then, two diplomats who had Mr. Trump’s trust were in charge of executing American policy in Ukraine: Gordon D. Sondland, a Republican fund-raiser who had been named ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt D. Volker, the special envoy to Ukraine. Rick Perry, the energy secretary at the time, also played a significant role. Mr. Sondland has testified that Mr. Trump directed all three men to take their cues from Mr. Giuliani.

William B. Taylor Jr., who took over as the top American diplomat in Ukraine after Ms. Yovanovitch left, has testified that Mr. Sondland told him that Mr. Trump would not release the military aid or meet with the Ukrainian leader until Mr. Zelensky had announced that the Biden family was under investigation.

Hunter Biden, the son of the former vice president who hopes to challenge Mr. Trump for the White House next year, served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. Mr. Trump also wanted Ukraine to investigate whether the country had helped Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Official Who Defended Ukraine Envoy Is Testifying in Impeachment Inquiry

Westlake Legal Group merlin_162303825_aae655a2-e957-427c-97bb-beaf5620fb6a-facebookJumbo Official Who Defended Ukraine Envoy Is Testifying in Impeachment Inquiry Yovanovitch, Marie L Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry State Department Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Reeker, Philip Presidential Election of 2020 Presidential Election of 2016 impeachment

WASHINGTON — House impeachment investigators met on Saturday for a rare weekend session to question a high-ranking State Department official about his knowledge of what other witnesses have described as a shadow foreign policy intended to pressure Ukraine for President Trump’s personal political gain.

The official, Philip T. Reeker, is acting assistant secretary in charge of European and Eurasian Affairs. He oversaw officials who interacted directly with Mr. Trump and his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani on Ukraine matters, at a time when Ukraine was being pressed to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and unproven theories about Democratic collusion with Ukrainians in the 2016 presidential election.

Mr. Reeker, who is answering questions behind closed doors, should be able to provide investigators with additional details about at least one aspect of the unfolding story: the ouster this spring of Marie L. Yovanovitch, a career foreign service officer, as the ambassador to Ukraine.

But it is unclear how much he knew about what others have called demands by Mr. Trump that the new Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, publicly announce an investigation of the Biden family before Mr. Trump would agree to meet Mr. Zelensky or to release $391 million in military aid.

Like others who have testified so far, Mr. Reeker, 54, is a longtime diplomat. Congressional committees subpoenaed him to testify after the State Department instructed Mr. Reeker not to comply voluntarily, according to two people familiar with the matter.

A 27-year veteran of the foreign service, Mr. Reeker has been posted around the world, including in Iraq, Germany, Italy, Hungary and Macedonia. In his most recent role, he divided his time between Washington and Europe.

The unusual weekend interview indicated that a fast-moving inquiry could be accelerating as it enters its second month. House Democrats have so far scheduled four more depositions with potentially consequential witnesses in the coming week, and they may conduct more than one a day in an effort to clear the way for a more public-facing phase of the inquiry by mid- to late November.

Democrats have been under intense pressure from Republicans accusing them of trying to hide the proceedings from voters and of shirking the responsibility of holding a full vote of the House to legitimize the inquiry. But they met on Saturday with new momentum behind them after a federal judge ruled on Friday that the inquiry was legally legitimate and that, despite recent precedent, no such vote was necessary.

Mr. Trump continued on Saturday to rail against the inquiry, dismissing it on Twitter as “just as Corrupt and Fake as all of the other garbage that went on before it.” Without presenting evidence, he also accused Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader who initiated the impeachment inquiry in September, of neglecting her San Francisco district, which he described as a hellscape of environmental and sanitary violations.

“Pelosi must work on this mess and turn her District around!” he wrote. It was not the first time the president had seized on high homelessness rates in the city to criticize Democrats.

Investigators are certain to ask Mr. Reeker about his efforts to protect Ms. Yovanovitch. An informal campaign against her, largely orchestrated by Mr. Giuliani, was already in full swing by the time Mr. Reeker began overseeing the State Department’s activities for the region this spring.

In an email to an adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Mr. Reeker wrote that in casting Ms. Yovanovitch as a “liberal outpost,” critics were pushing a “fake narrative” that “really is without merit or validation.” But she was recalled to Washington in May, months before her tenure was to end. He will very likely be asked about how Mr. Pompeo and his leadership team responded to his concerns and communicated with Ms. Yovanovitch about her recall.

By then, two diplomats who had Mr. Trump’s trust were in charge of executing American policy in Ukraine: Gordon D. Sondland, a Republican fund-raiser who had been named ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt D. Volker, the special envoy to Ukraine. Rick Perry, the energy secretary at the time, also played a significant role. Mr. Sondland has testified that Mr. Trump directed all three men to take their cues from Mr. Giuliani.

William B. Taylor Jr., who took over as the top American diplomat in Ukraine after Ms. Yovanovitch left, has testified that Mr. Sondland told him that Mr. Trump would not release the military aid or meet with the Ukrainian leader until Mr. Zelensky had announced that the Biden family was under investigation.

Hunter Biden, the son of the former vice president who hopes to challenge Mr. Trump for the White House next year, served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. Mr. Trump also wanted Ukraine to investigate whether the country had helped Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Official Who Defended Ukraine Envoy Set to Testify in Impeachment Inquiry

Westlake Legal Group merlin_162303825_aae655a2-e957-427c-97bb-beaf5620fb6a-facebookJumbo Official Who Defended Ukraine Envoy Set to Testify in Impeachment Inquiry Yovanovitch, Marie L Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry State Department Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Reeker, Philip Presidential Election of 2020 Presidential Election of 2016 impeachment

WASHINGTON — House impeachment investigators planned to meet on Saturday for a rare weekend session to question a high-ranking State Department official about his knowledge of what other witnesses have described as a shadow foreign policy intended to pressure Ukraine for President Trump’s personal political gain.

The official, Philip T. Reeker, is acting assistant secretary in charge of European and Eurasian Affairs. He oversaw officials who interacted directly with Mr. Trump and his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani on Ukraine matters, at a time when Ukraine was being pressed to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and unproven theories about Democratic collusion with Ukrainians in the 2016 presidential election.

Mr. Reeker, who is expected to answer questions behind closed doors, should be able to provide investigators with additional details about at least one aspect of the unfolding story: the ouster this spring of Marie L. Yovanovitch, a career foreign service officer, as the ambassador to Ukraine.

But it is unclear how much he knew about what others have called demands by Mr. Trump that the new Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, publicly announce an investigation of the Biden family before Mr. Trump would agree to meet Mr. Zelensky or to release $391 million in military aid.

Like others who have testified so far, Mr. Reeker, 54, is a longtime diplomat. Congressional committees had been expected to subpoena him to testify because the State Department has instructed officials not to comply with requests for depositions.

A 27-year veteran of the foreign service, Mr. Reeker has been posted around the world, including in Iraq, Germany, Italy, Hungary and Macedonia. In his most recent role, he divided his time between Washington and Europe.

The unusual weekend interview indicated that a fast-moving inquiry could be accelerating as it enters its second month. House Democrats have so far scheduled four more depositions with potentially consequential witnesses in the coming week, and they may conduct more than one a day in an effort to clear the way for a more public-facing phase of the inquiry by mid- to late November.

Democrats have been under intense pressure from Republicans accusing them of trying to hide the proceedings from voters and of shirking the responsibility of holding a full vote of the House to legitimize the inquiry. But they met on Saturday with new momentum behind them after a federal judge ruled on Friday that the inquiry was legally legitimate and that, despite recent precedent, no such vote was necessary.

Mr. Trump continued on Saturday to rail against the inquiry, dismissing it on Twitter as “just as Corrupt and Fake as all of the other garbage that went on before it.” Without presenting evidence, he accused Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader who initiated the impeachment inquiry in September, of neglecting her San Francisco district, which he described as a hellscape of environmental and sanitary violations.

“Pelosi must work on this mess and turn her District around!” he wrote. It was not the first time the president had seized on high homelessness rates in the city to criticize Democrats.

Investigators are certain to ask Mr. Reeker about his efforts to protect Ms. Yovanovitch. An informal campaign against her, largely orchestrated by Mr. Giuliani, was already in full swing by the time Mr. Reeker began overseeing the State Department’s activities for the region this spring.

In an email to an adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Mr. Reeker wrote that in casting Ms. Yovanovitch as a “liberal outpost,” critics were pushing a “fake narrative” that “really is without merit or validation.” But she was recalled to Washington in May, months before her tenure was to end. He will very likely be asked about how Mr. Pompeo and his leadership team responded to his concerns and communicated with Ms. Yovanovitch about her recall.

By then, two diplomats who had Mr. Trump’s trust were in charge of executing American policy in Ukraine: Gordon D. Sondland, a Republican fund-raiser who had been named ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt D. Volker, the special envoy to Ukraine. Rick Perry, the energy secretary at the time, also played a significant role. Mr. Sondland has testified that Mr. Trump directed all three men to take their cues from Mr. Giuliani.

William B. Taylor Jr., who took over as the top American diplomat in Ukraine after Ms. Yovanovitch left, has testified that Mr. Sondland told him that Mr. Trump would not release the military aid or meet with the Ukrainian leader until Mr. Zelensky had announced that the Biden family was under investigation.

Hunter Biden, the son of the former vice president who hopes to challenge Mr. Trump for the White House next year, served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. Mr. Trump also wanted Ukraine to investigate whether the country had helped Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Official Who Defended Ukraine Envoy Set to Testify in Impeachment Inquiry

Westlake Legal Group merlin_162303825_aae655a2-e957-427c-97bb-beaf5620fb6a-facebookJumbo Official Who Defended Ukraine Envoy Set to Testify in Impeachment Inquiry Yovanovitch, Marie L Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry State Department Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Reeker, Philip Presidential Election of 2020 Presidential Election of 2016 impeachment

WASHINGTON — House impeachment investigators planned to meet on Saturday for a rare weekend session to question a high-ranking State Department official about his knowledge of what other witnesses have described as a shadow foreign policy intended to pressure Ukraine for President Trump’s personal political gain.

The official, Philip T. Reeker, is acting assistant secretary in charge of European and Eurasian Affairs. He oversaw officials who interacted directly with Mr. Trump and his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani on Ukraine matters, at a time when Ukraine was being pressed to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and unproven theories about Democratic collusion with Ukrainians in the 2016 presidential election.

Mr. Reeker, who is expected to answer questions behind closed doors, should be able to provide investigators with additional details about at least one aspect of the unfolding story: the ouster this spring of Marie L. Yovanovitch, a career foreign service officer, as the ambassador to Ukraine.

But it is unclear how much he knew about what others have called demands by Mr. Trump that the new Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, publicly announce an investigation of the Biden family before Mr. Trump would agree to meet Mr. Zelensky or to release $391 million in military aid.

Like others who have testified so far, Mr. Reeker, 54, is a longtime diplomat. Congressional committees had been expected to subpoena him to testify because the State Department has instructed officials not to comply with requests for depositions.

A 27-year veteran of the foreign service, Mr. Reeker has been posted around the world, including in Iraq, Germany, Italy, Hungary and Macedonia. In his most recent role, he divided his time between Washington and Europe.

The unusual weekend interview indicated that a fast-moving inquiry could be accelerating as it enters its second month. House Democrats have so far scheduled four more depositions with potentially consequential witnesses in the coming week, and they may conduct more than one a day in an effort to clear the way for a more public-facing phase of the inquiry by mid- to late November.

Democrats have been under intense pressure from Republicans accusing them of trying to hide the proceedings from voters and of shirking the responsibility of holding a full vote of the House to legitimize the inquiry. But they met on Saturday with new momentum behind them after a federal judge ruled on Friday that the inquiry was legally legitimate and that, despite recent precedent, no such vote was necessary.

Mr. Trump continued on Saturday to rail against the inquiry, dismissing it on Twitter as “just as Corrupt and Fake as all of the other garbage that went on before it.” Without presenting evidence, he accused Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic leader who initiated the impeachment inquiry in September, of neglecting her San Francisco district, which he described as a hellscape of environmental and sanitary violations.

“Pelosi must work on this mess and turn her District around!” he wrote. It was not the first time the president had seized on high homelessness rates in the city to criticize Democrats.

Investigators are certain to ask Mr. Reeker about his efforts to protect Ms. Yovanovitch. An informal campaign against her, largely orchestrated by Mr. Giuliani, was already in full swing by the time Mr. Reeker began overseeing the State Department’s activities for the region this spring.

In an email to an adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Mr. Reeker wrote that in casting Ms. Yovanovitch as a “liberal outpost,” critics were pushing a “fake narrative” that “really is without merit or validation.” But she was recalled to Washington in May, months before her tenure was to end. He will very likely be asked about how Mr. Pompeo and his leadership team responded to his concerns and communicated with Ms. Yovanovitch about her recall.

By then, two diplomats who had Mr. Trump’s trust were in charge of executing American policy in Ukraine: Gordon D. Sondland, a Republican fund-raiser who had been named ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt D. Volker, the special envoy to Ukraine. Rick Perry, the energy secretary at the time, also played a significant role. Mr. Sondland has testified that Mr. Trump directed all three men to take their cues from Mr. Giuliani.

William B. Taylor Jr., who took over as the top American diplomat in Ukraine after Ms. Yovanovitch left, has testified that Mr. Sondland told him that Mr. Trump would not release the military aid or meet with the Ukrainian leader until Mr. Zelensky had announced that the Biden family was under investigation.

Hunter Biden, the son of the former vice president who hopes to challenge Mr. Trump for the White House next year, served on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. Mr. Trump also wanted Ukraine to investigate whether the country had helped Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Symbol of ’80s Greed Stands to Profit From Trump Tax Break for Poor Areas

Westlake Legal Group 26milken-promo-facebookJumbo Symbol of ’80s Greed Stands to Profit From Trump Tax Break for Poor Areas United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Treasury Department Tax Credits, Deductions and Exemptions Mnuchin, Steven T Milken, Michael R Milken Institute Federal Taxes (US) Enterprise Zones Area Planning and Renewal

RENO, Nev. — In the 1980s, Michael Milken embodied Wall Street greed. A swashbuckling financier, he was charged with playing a central role in a vast insider-trading scheme and was sent to prison for violating federal securities and tax laws. He was an inspiration for the Gordon Gekko character in the film “Wall Street.”

Mr. Milken has spent the intervening decades trying to rehabilitate his reputation through an influential nonprofit think tank, the Milken Institute, devoted to initiatives “that advance prosperity.”

These days, the Milken Institute is a leading proponent of a new federal tax break that was intended to coax wealthy investors to plow money into distressed communities known as “opportunity zones.” The institute’s leaders have helped push senior officials in the Trump administration to make the tax incentive more generous, even though it is under fire for being slanted toward the wealthy.

Mr. Milken, it turns out, is in a position to personally gain from some of the changes that his institute has urged the Trump administration to enact. In one case, the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, directly intervened in a way that benefited Mr. Milken, his longtime friend.

It is a vivid illustration of the power that Mr. Milken, who was barred from the securities industry and fined $600 million as part of his 1990 felony conviction, has amassed in President Trump’s Washington. In addition to the favorable tax-policy changes, some of Mr. Trump’s closest advisers — including Mr. Mnuchin, Jared Kushner and Rudolph W. Giuliani — have lobbied the president to pardon Mr. Milken for his crimes, or supported that effort, according to people familiar with the effort.

While the Milken Institute’s advocacy of opportunity zones is public, Mr. Milken’s financial stake in the outcome is not.

The former “junk bond king” has investments in at least two major real estate projects inside federally designated opportunity zones in Nevada, near Mr. Milken’s Lake Tahoe vacation home, according to public records reviewed by The New York Times.

One of those developments, inside an industrial park, is a nearly 700-acre site in which Mr. Milken is a major investor. Last year, after pressure from Mr. Milken’s business partner and other landowners, the Treasury Department ignored its own guidelines on how to select opportunity zones and made the area eligible for the tax break, according to people involved in the discussions and records reviewed by The Times.

The unusual decision was made at the personal instruction of Mr. Mnuchin, according to internal Treasury Department emails. It came shortly after he had spent time with Mr. Milken at an event his institute hosted.

“People were troubled,” said Annie Donovan, who previously ran the Treasury office in charge of designating areas as opportunity zones. She and two of her former colleagues said they were upset that the Treasury secretary was intervening to bend rules, though they said they didn’t realize at the time that Mr. Mnuchin’s friend stood to profit. The agency’s employees, Ms. Donovan said, “were put in a position where they had to compromise the integrity of the process.”

The opportunity zone initiative, tucked into the tax cut bill that Mr. Trump signed into law in 2017, has become one of the White House’s signature initiatives. It allows investors to delay or avoid taxes on capital gains by putting money in projects or companies in more than 8,700 federally designated opportunity zones. Mr. Trump has boasted that it will revitalize downtrodden neighborhoods.

But the incentive, also championed by some prominent Democrats, has been dogged by criticism that it is a gift to wealthy investors and real estate developers. From the start, the tax break targeted people with capital gains, the vast majority of which are held by the very richest investors. The Treasury permitted opportunity zones to encompass not only poor communities but some adjacent affluent neighborhoods. Much of the money so far has flowed to those wealthier areas, including many projects that were planned long before the new law was enacted.

Investors and others — including Mr. Milken’s institute — have been pushing the Treasury Department to write the rules governing opportunity zones in ways that would make it easier to qualify for the tax break. That campaign worked, and Mr. Milken is among the potential beneficiaries.

Geoffrey Moore, a spokesman for Mr. Milken, confirmed that Mr. Milken had investments inside opportunity zones, though they are a sliver of his overall real estate holdings. He disputed that Mr. Milken had used his institute or Washington connections to benefit his investments and said no one at the institute “has any specific knowledge of Mike’s personal investments.”

Mr. Moore added that Mr. Milken’s support for opportunity zones was based on his longstanding belief “that jobs and the democratization of ownership are the keys to helping people in economically struggling areas.”

A spokesman for the Milken Institute, Geoffrey Baum, said that “to suggest that the work of the Milken Institute is motivated by or connected to Mr. Milken’s investments is flat-out wrong.” He said the institute advocated changes that were intended to spread the benefits to more low-income communities, not to help the wealthy.

The White House declined to comment on whether Mr. Trump is considering a presidential pardon for Mr. Milken.

Mr. Milken — operating from an X-shaped trading desk in Beverly Hills, Calif. — was a Wall Street legend. He pioneered the junk bond, which enabled financially risky companies to borrow billions of dollars and ignited a wave of often-hostile corporate takeovers that came to define a go-go era. His firm, Drexel Burnham Lambert, hosted an annual event, which came to be known as the Predators’ Ball, where the era’s greatest financiers mingled. Mr. Milken became a billionaire.

Then, in 1989, federal prosecutors charged him with violating securities and tax laws and with being part of a lucrative insider-trading ring. The next year, Drexel Burnham went bankrupt.

Mr. Milken pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison and paid $600 million in fines. After cooperating with the government, he ended up serving about two years behind bars.

Mr. Milken emerged with a considerable fortune intact. He invested in companies in for-profit education, health care and fast food, according to securities filings and company announcements. He also acquired lots of real estate, coming to own roughly 700 properties around the United States, Mr. Moore said.

He continued to attract scrutiny from regulators, including one case in which Mr. Milken paid $47 million to resolve the Securities and Exchange Commission’s allegations that he had violated his lifetime ban from the securities industry.

Mr. Milken, however, has largely managed to restore his reputation — and his clout. His family gave tens of millions of dollars to his Milken Institute, which he founded in 1991 and whose board of directors he leads. After battling prostate cancer, he helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars to fund cancer research.

In Washington, Mr. Milken, 73, and his institute have courted influence, wooing and sometimes adding former federal officials. His family recently spent more than $85 million to buy three buildings opposite the White House and the Treasury Department, which he is transforming into his institute’s new Washington offices.

The most public display of his renewed stature comes each spring in Los Angeles when Mr. Milken presides over a glitzy gathering at the Beverly Hilton — the same venue where his famed Predators’ Balls took place three decades ago.

The Milken Institute’s annual conference attracts thousands of the world’s most powerful people — from government, finance, medicine, Hollywood and the like — for a frenzy of high-powered networking and conspicuous consumption. Recent guests have included Leon Black, the chairman of Apollo Global Management; David M. Solomon, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs; Eric Schmidt, the former chief executive of Google; and the New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Mr. Milken is the power broker at the center of the action. Onstage, he interviews famous guests. In private, he organizes exclusive dinners. Some have called the event the Davos of North America.

In the Trump era, cabinet secretaries and White House advisers have been among the event’s marquee guests, more so than in other recent administrations. Coveted speaking roles have gone to Ivanka Trump and her husband, Mr. Kushner, giving them access to an elite audience.

At last year’s event in Beverly Hills, attendees included Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Mr. Mnuchin. The Treasury secretary was accompanied by several senior aides, including Daniel Kowalski, who is overseeing the department’s drafting of the opportunity zone rules.

Mr. Kowalski, who has spent months drumming up support across the country for opportunity zones, is well acquainted with the Milken Institute.

After the tax incentive became law, it was up to the Treasury, and Mr. Kowalski in particular, to put it in effect through a series of rules. Officials at the Milken Institute met repeatedly with him to try to influence that rule-writing process. The institute submitted a series of letters and presentations to the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service, and at times directly to Mr. Mnuchin, pushing for rules that would make the tax break easier to qualify for.

“Helping to shape the rules of the road” is how the Milken Institute describes its work on opportunity zones.

The institute “is incredibly active,” Mr. Kowalski said in an interview. He said he thought he had discussed opportunity zones with Mr. Milken, although he said he could not specifically recall. He disputed that Mr. Milken or his institute exerted any special influence over the Treasury Department.

Among the Milken Institute’s proposals was for the Treasury to give investors a generous amount of time to build on opportunity zone land and to reduce the amount that investors had to spend upgrading properties to be eligible for the tax break. Those changes would make it easier for investors to reap the benefits.

The institute also asked the Treasury a question that would clarify if investors who owned land in opportunity zones before the tax law was passed were eligible to receive the benefits. The Treasury ruled that such investments were permissible, a controversial decision since the purpose of the opportunity zone initiative was to spur new investments, not reward existing projects.

Mr. Milken’s spokesman, Mr. Moore, said Mr. Milken “never attended any meeting focused on opportunity zone regulations with any federal agency, nor did he consult with any institute representatives who may have interacted with any agency.”

But Aron Betru, who led the Milken Institute’s opportunity zone efforts, told The Times in an interview that he did discuss opportunity zones with Mr. Milken, though he said he was not aware of Mr. Milken’s specific investments. And in 2018 Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Milken attended a small, private event, sponsored by the institute, to discuss opportunity zones.

High above Reno, on a vast hillside where wild horses roam, is the site of one of Nevada’s biggest opportunity zones.

The center of this area is known as Comstock Meadows, a reference to the 1859 discovery of the so-called Comstock Lode, one of the largest deposits of silver ever found in the United States. The find generated hundreds of millions of dollars in wealth, creating a boomtown in nearby Virginia City.

Today it is home to the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center. Lured by cheap land, Google is building a huge new complex inside the industrial park. Tesla and Switch, the data-center company, recently opened their own operations. And down the street, Mr. Milken co-owns a company that holds nearly 700 acres of empty land.

He and his partner — Chip Bowlby, president of a development company called Reno Land — planned to use that space to open a so-called tech incubator, where smaller companies could set up operations, among other possible uses.

Being inside an opportunity zone would potentially be a huge boon for the venture. It would mean that start-ups at the tech incubator could attract tax-advantaged money from outside investors.

Nevada officials wanted to nominate the census tract that included the industrial park as an opportunity zone. But in early 2018, Treasury officials had ruled that the area was ineligible because its residents were too affluent.

Major landowners at the site, including Mr. Bowlby, urged state and local officials to try to get the Treasury to reverse that ruling, said Kris Thompson, the project manager at the industrial center.

Storey County, where the industrial park is situated, deployed Jon Porter, a former House Republican from Nevada who is now a lobbyist, to push the matter. Dean Heller, at the time a Republican senator, and Brian Sandoval, then the governor, also were enlisted and had phone calls with Mr. Mnuchin around that time, according to Treasury records. Mr. Heller, Mr. Porter and Mr. Sandoval did not respond to requests for comment.

Just as that lobbying intensified in the spring of 2018, Mr. Milken opened his institute’s annual conference in Beverly Hills.

Mr. Mnuchin was a featured guest. “It’s great to be here with you and all my L.A. friends,” the Treasury secretary said in an onstage interview on April 30.

That afternoon, the institute organized an invitation-only meeting with Mr. Mnuchin and his staff to discuss opportunity zones. Other listed attendees included Sean Parker, the former Facebook president and an early advocate of opportunity zones, and Raymond J. McGuire, a top Citigroup executive. Mr. Betru was the moderator.

Within days, the Treasury Department had shifted its position and was now willing to let the state nominate the area around the Nevada industrial park as an opportunity zone.

Mr. Mnuchin told Mr. Kowalski to inform other Treasury officials that they should accept Storey County’s nomination, according to email records reviewed by The Times.

Mr. Mnuchin spoke on the phone on May 8 with Mr. Sandoval. Forty-five minutes later, Mr. Sandoval formally nominated the site to be part of an opportunity zone, email records show. And the decision was soon officially blessed by the Treasury Department. (While the Treasury’s reversal has been reported, Mr. Milken’s connection has not been previously disclosed.)

Treasury officials said the change was part of an effort to iron out inconsistencies in different Treasury rules. But the switch provoked intense protests from Treasury and I.R.S. employees.

“Failure to apply the designation standards equally across the board will call into question the legitimacy of the process by which the designations were made,” an unnamed I.R.S. employee wrote in an internal memo in May 2018. It added that the appearance of “arbitrary” Treasury standards risked “opening the door for accusations that the determination process was influenced by political considerations or bias.”

“Any such controversy would in turn taint the opportunity zones and potentially chill or cloud the incentive for investors to invest in the opportunity zones,” the memo said.

In an interview this month at an event co-sponsored by the Milken Institute in Jackson, Miss., Mr. Kowalski would not comment on whether Mr. Mnuchin had been the driving force behind the Treasury’s reversal. “I can certainly say he was apprised of the situation,” Mr. Kowalski said.

Brett Theodos, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, which has advised state governments including Nevada on their nominations of opportunity zones, said the Treasury’s decision-making appeared problematic. “Making exceptions for the politically connected is deeply troubling,” he said.

Spokesmen for Mr. Milken and Mr. Mnuchin said the two men had never discussed the Storey County issue. Mr. Mnuchin’s spokesman, Devin O’Malley, said Mr. Mnuchin “had no knowledge of Milken’s investments in Nevada.”

In August 2018, Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Milken met again. This time, the occasion was a small conference hosted by the Milken Institute to discuss opportunity zones. The event took place at the Hamptons home of the real estate developer Richard LeFrak, a business associate of Mr. Trump, according to the event’s agenda.

A handout from the event, which was later posted online, showed a map of all 8,764 opportunity zones in the United States, but focused on the virtues of just one specific area: Reno. The handout promoted the city as a “hub to the western United States.”

The handout did not mention that Mr. Milken was a major investor in two projects in opportunity zones in that area: the tech incubator in the industrial park and a housing, hotel and retail development on the site of an old shopping mall in Reno.

As his institute was continuing to push the Treasury to tinker with its opportunity zone rules, Mr. Milken gave Mr. Mnuchin a flight in January on his private jet to Los Angeles, where both men have homes.

Three months later, the Treasury Department heeded the institute’s request and clarified that investors could receive the opportunity zone tax benefits by simply leasing properties to themselves. As a result, investors who had long owned land inside opportunity zones were now eligible for the tax break.

In a separate round of rule changes, Treasury agreed to loosen rules governing how quickly developers had to start work on opportunity zone projects and how much money they had to spend — both revisions that the Milken Institute, among many others, had sought.

This was a potential win for Mr. Milken. His partner, Mr. Bowlby, had bought the Nevada real estate — for both the tech incubator and the residential and retail complex — before the areas were designated as opportunity zones.

Mr. Bowlby, who didn’t respond to requests for comment, said at a public event this year that he was using a lease on his Reno project with Mr. Milken “so we can still be qualified for the opportunity zone.”

The Treasury’s leasing decision has faced criticism.

“Anybody who owned property in the zone prior to 2018 would have been out of luck until these rules,” said Michelle Layser, a tax law professor at the University of Illinois College of Law. “This really opens the door.”

Mr. Moore, the spokesman for Mr. Milken, denied that he received special treatment.

“Your insinuation that Mike has reaped personal financial benefits from Milken Institute programs is outrageous,” he said. “It’s clear that you are less interested in the objective truth than in assigning to Mike Milken sinister motives that simply do not exist.”

Mr. Moore said that Mr. Milken hadn’t hidden the fact that he had investments in the Nevada opportunity zones. He said Mr. Milken had described them at the Hamptons event that Mr. Mnuchin attended. “There was nothing secretive about it,” he said.

Mr. Kowalski said he hadn’t been aware that Mr. Milken was an investor in the Nevada projects at the same time that his institute was seeking to change the rules governing opportunity zones.

Was he surprised? Mr. Kowalski paused. “Nothing surprises me anymore,” he said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Symbol of ’80s Greed May Profit From Trump Tax Break for Poor Areas

Westlake Legal Group 26milken-promo-facebookJumbo Symbol of ’80s Greed May Profit From Trump Tax Break for Poor Areas United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Treasury Department Tax Credits, Deductions and Exemptions Mnuchin, Steven T Milken, Michael R Milken Institute Federal Taxes (US) Enterprise Zones Area Planning and Renewal

RENO, Nev. — In the 1980s, Michael Milken embodied Wall Street greed. A swashbuckling financier, he was charged with playing a central role in a vast insider-trading scheme and was sent to prison for violating federal securities and tax laws. He was an inspiration for the Gordon Gekko character in the film “Wall Street.”

Mr. Milken has spent the intervening decades trying to rehabilitate his reputation through an influential nonprofit think tank, the Milken Institute, devoted to initiatives “that advance prosperity.”

These days, the Milken Institute is a leading proponent of a new federal tax break that was intended to coax wealthy investors to plow money into distressed communities known as “opportunity zones.” The institute’s leaders have helped push senior officials in the Trump administration to make the tax incentive more generous, even though it is under fire for being slanted toward the wealthy.

Mr. Milken, it turns out, is in a position to personally gain from some of the changes that his institute has urged the Trump administration to enact. In one case, the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, directly intervened in a way that benefited Mr. Milken, his longtime friend.

It is a vivid illustration of the power that Mr. Milken, who was barred from the securities industry and fined $600 million as part of his 1990 felony conviction, has amassed in President Trump’s Washington. In addition to the favorable tax-policy changes, some of Mr. Trump’s closest advisers — including Mr. Mnuchin, Jared Kushner and Rudolph W. Giuliani — have lobbied the president to pardon Mr. Milken for his crimes, or supported that effort, according to people familiar with the effort.

While the Milken Institute’s advocacy of opportunity zones is public, Mr. Milken’s financial stake in the outcome is not.

The former “junk bond king” has investments in at least two major real estate projects inside federally designated opportunity zones in Nevada, near Mr. Milken’s Lake Tahoe vacation home, according to public records reviewed by The New York Times.

One of those developments, inside an industrial park, is a nearly 700-acre site in which Mr. Milken is a major investor. Last year, after pressure from Mr. Milken’s business partner and other landowners, the Treasury Department ignored its own guidelines on how to select opportunity zones and made the area eligible for the tax break, according to people involved in the discussions and records reviewed by The Times.

The unusual decision was made at the personal instruction of Mr. Mnuchin, according to internal Treasury Department emails. It came shortly after he had spent time with Mr. Milken at an event his institute hosted.

“People were troubled,” said Annie Donovan, who previously ran the Treasury office in charge of designating areas as opportunity zones. She and two of her former colleagues said they were upset that the Treasury secretary was intervening to bend rules, though they said they didn’t realize at the time that Mr. Mnuchin’s friend stood to profit. The agency’s employees, Ms. Donovan said, “were put in a position where they had to compromise the integrity of the process.”

The opportunity zone initiative, tucked into the tax cut bill that Mr. Trump signed into law in 2017, has become one of the White House’s signature initiatives. It allows investors to delay or avoid taxes on capital gains by putting money in projects or companies in more than 8,700 federally designated opportunity zones. Mr. Trump has boasted that it will revitalize downtrodden neighborhoods.

But the incentive, also championed by some prominent Democrats, has been dogged by criticism that it is a gift to wealthy investors and real estate developers. From the start, the tax break targeted people with capital gains, the vast majority of which are held by the very richest investors. The Treasury permitted opportunity zones to encompass not only poor communities but some adjacent affluent neighborhoods. Much of the money so far has flowed to those wealthier areas, including many projects that were planned long before the new law was enacted.

Investors and others — including Mr. Milken’s institute — have been pushing the Treasury Department to write the rules governing opportunity zones in ways that would make it easier to qualify for the tax break. That campaign worked, and Mr. Milken is among the potential beneficiaries.

Geoffrey Moore, a spokesman for Mr. Milken, confirmed that Mr. Milken had investments inside opportunity zones, though they are a sliver of his overall real estate holdings. He disputed that Mr. Milken had used his institute or Washington connections to benefit his investments and said no one at the institute “has any specific knowledge of Mike’s personal investments.”

Mr. Moore added that Mr. Milken’s support for opportunity zones was based on his longstanding belief “that jobs and the democratization of ownership are the keys to helping people in economically struggling areas.”

A spokesman for the Milken Institute, Geoffrey Baum, said that “to suggest that the work of the Milken Institute is motivated by or connected to Mr. Milken’s investments is flat-out wrong.” He said the institute advocated changes that were intended to spread the benefits to more low-income communities, not to help the wealthy.

The White House declined to comment on whether Mr. Trump is considering a presidential pardon for Mr. Milken.

Mr. Milken — operating from an X-shaped trading desk in Beverly Hills, Calif. — was a Wall Street legend. He pioneered the junk bond, which enabled financially risky companies to borrow billions of dollars and ignited a wave of often-hostile corporate takeovers that came to define a go-go era. His firm, Drexel Burnham Lambert, hosted an annual event, which came to be known as the Predators’ Ball, where the era’s greatest financiers mingled. Mr. Milken became a billionaire.

Then, in 1989, federal prosecutors charged him with violating securities and tax laws and with being part of a lucrative insider-trading ring. The next year, Drexel Burnham went bankrupt.

Mr. Milken pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison and paid $600 million in fines. After cooperating with the government, he ended up serving about two years behind bars.

Mr. Milken emerged with a considerable fortune intact. He invested in companies in for-profit education, health care and fast food, according to securities filings and company announcements. He also acquired lots of real estate, coming to own roughly 700 properties around the United States, Mr. Moore said.

He continued to attract scrutiny from regulators, including one case in which Mr. Milken paid $47 million to resolve the Securities and Exchange Commission’s allegations that he had violated his lifetime ban from the securities industry.

Mr. Milken, however, has largely managed to restore his reputation — and his clout. His family gave tens of millions of dollars to his Milken Institute, which he founded in 1991 and whose board of directors he leads. After battling prostate cancer, he helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars to fund cancer research.

In Washington, Mr. Milken, 73, and his institute have courted influence, wooing and sometimes hiring former federal officials. His family recently spent more than $85 million to buy three buildings opposite the White House and the Treasury Department, which he is transforming into his institute’s new Washington offices.

The most public display of his renewed stature comes each spring in Los Angeles when Mr. Milken presides over a glitzy gathering at the Beverly Hilton — the same venue where his famed Predators’ Balls took place three decades ago.

The Milken Institute’s annual conference attracts thousands of the world’s most powerful people — from government, finance, medicine, Hollywood and the like — for a frenzy of high-powered networking and conspicuous consumption. Recent guests have included Leon Black, the chairman of Apollo Global Management; David M. Solomon, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs; Eric Schmidt, the former chief executive of Google; and the New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Mr. Milken is the power broker at the center of the action. Onstage, he interviews famous guests. In private, he organizes exclusive dinners. Some have called the event the Davos of North America.

In the Trump era, cabinet secretaries and White House advisers have been among the event’s marquee guests, more so than in other recent administrations. Coveted speaking roles have gone to Ivanka Trump and her husband, Mr. Kushner, giving them access to an elite audience.

At last year’s event in Beverly Hills, attendees included Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Mr. Mnuchin. The Treasury secretary was accompanied by several senior aides, including Daniel Kowalski, who is overseeing the department’s drafting of the opportunity zone rules.

Mr. Kowalski, who has spent months drumming up support across the country for opportunity zones, is well acquainted with the Milken Institute.

After the tax incentive became law, it was up to the Treasury, and Mr. Kowalski in particular, to put it in effect through a series of rules. Officials at the Milken Institute met repeatedly with him to try to influence that rule-writing process. The institute submitted a series of letters and presentations to the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service, and at times directly to Mr. Mnuchin, pushing for rules that would make the tax break easier to qualify for.

“Helping to shape the rules of the road” is how the Milken Institute describes its work on opportunity zones.

The institute “is incredibly active,” Mr. Kowalski said in an interview. He said he thought he had discussed opportunity zones with Mr. Milken, although he said he could not specifically recall. He disputed that Mr. Milken or his institute exerted any special influence over the Treasury Department.

Among the Milken Institute’s proposals was for the Treasury to give investors a generous amount of time to build on opportunity zone land and to reduce the amount that investors had to spend upgrading properties to be eligible for the tax break. Those changes would make it easier for investors to reap the benefits.

The institute also asked the Treasury a question that would clarify if investors who owned land in opportunity zones before the tax law was passed were eligible to receive the benefits. The Treasury ruled that such investments were permissible, a controversial decision since the purpose of the opportunity zone initiative was to spur new investments, not reward existing projects.

Mr. Milken’s spokesman, Mr. Moore, said Mr. Milken “never attended any meeting focused on opportunity zone regulations with any federal agency, nor did he consult with any institute representatives who may have interacted with any agency.”

But Aron Betru, who led the Milken Institute’s opportunity zone efforts, told The Times in an interview that he did discuss opportunity zones with Mr. Milken, though he said he was not aware of Mr. Milken’s specific investments. And in 2018 Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Milken attended a small, private event, sponsored by the institute, to discuss opportunity zones.

High above Reno, on a vast hillside where wild horses roam, is the site of one of Nevada’s biggest opportunity zones.

The center of this area is known as Comstock Meadows, a reference to the 1859 discovery of the so-called Comstock Lode, one of the largest deposits of silver ever found in the United States. The find generated hundreds of millions of dollars in wealth, creating a boomtown in nearby Virginia City.

Today it is home to the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center. Lured by cheap land, Google is building a huge new complex inside the industrial park. Tesla and Switch, the data-center company, recently opened their own operations. And down the street, Mr. Milken co-owns a company that holds nearly 700 acres of empty land.

He and his partner — Chip Bowlby, president of a development company called Reno Land — planned to use that space to open a so-called tech incubator, where smaller companies could set up operations, among other possible uses.

Being inside an opportunity zone would potentially be a huge boon for the venture. It would mean that start-ups at the tech incubator could attract tax-advantaged money from outside investors.

Nevada officials wanted to nominate the census tract that included the industrial park as an opportunity zone. But in early 2018, Treasury officials had ruled that the area was ineligible because its residents were too affluent.

Major landowners at the site, including Mr. Bowlby, urged state and local officials to try to get the Treasury to reverse that ruling, said Kris Thompson, the project manager at the industrial center.

Storey County, where the industrial park is situated, deployed Jon Porter, a former House Republican from Nevada who is now a lobbyist, to push the matter. Dean Heller, at the time a Republican senator, and Brian Sandoval, then the governor, also were enlisted and had phone calls with Mr. Mnuchin around that time, according to Treasury records. Mr. Heller, Mr. Porter and Mr. Sandoval did not respond to requests for comment.

Just as that lobbying intensified in the spring of 2018, Mr. Milken opened his institute’s annual conference in Beverly Hills.

Mr. Mnuchin was a featured guest. “It’s great to be here with you and all my L.A. friends,” the Treasury secretary said in an onstage interview on April 30.

That afternoon, the institute organized an invitation-only meeting with Mr. Mnuchin and his staff to discuss opportunity zones. Other listed attendees included Sean Parker, the former Facebook president and an early advocate of opportunity zones, and Raymond J. McGuire, a top Citigroup executive. Mr. Betru was the moderator.

Within days, the Treasury Department had shifted its position and was now willing to let the state nominate the area around the Nevada industrial park as an opportunity zone.

Mr. Mnuchin told Mr. Kowalski to inform other Treasury officials that they should accept Storey County’s nomination, according to email records reviewed by The Times.

Mr. Mnuchin spoke on the phone on May 8 with Mr. Sandoval. Forty-five minutes later, Mr. Sandoval formally nominated the site to be part of an opportunity zone, email records show. And the decision was soon officially blessed by the Treasury Department. (While the Treasury’s reversal has been reported, Mr. Milken’s connection has not been previously disclosed.)

Treasury officials said the change was part of an effort to iron out inconsistencies in different Treasury rules. But the switch provoked intense protests from Treasury and I.R.S. employees.

“Failure to apply the designation standards equally across the board will call into question the legitimacy of the process by which the designations were made,” an unnamed I.R.S. employee wrote in an internal memo in May 2018. It added that the appearance of “arbitrary” Treasury standards risked “opening the door for accusations that the determination process was influenced by political considerations or bias.”

“Any such controversy would in turn taint the opportunity zones and potentially chill or cloud the incentive for investors to invest in the opportunity zones,” the memo said.

In an interview this month at an event co-sponsored by the Milken Institute in Jackson, Miss., Mr. Kowalski would not comment on whether Mr. Mnuchin had been the driving force behind the Treasury’s reversal. “I can certainly say he was apprised of the situation,” Mr. Kowalski said.

Brett Theodos, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, which has advised state governments including Nevada on their nominations of opportunity zones, said the Treasury’s decision-making appeared problematic. “Making exceptions for the politically connected is deeply troubling,” he said.

Spokesmen for Mr. Milken and Mr. Mnuchin said the two men had never discussed the Storey County issue. Mr. Mnuchin’s spokesman, Devin O’Malley, said Mr. Mnuchin “had no knowledge of Milken’s investments in Nevada.”

In August 2018, Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Milken met again. This time, the occasion was a small conference hosted by the Milken Institute to discuss opportunity zones. The event took place at the Hamptons home of the real estate developer Richard LeFrak, a business associate of Mr. Trump, according to the event’s agenda.

A handout from the event, which was later posted online, showed a map of all 8,764 opportunity zones in the United States, but focused on the virtues of just one specific area: Reno. The handout promoted the city as a “hub to the western United States.”

The handout did not mention that Mr. Milken was a major investor in two projects in opportunity zones in that area: the tech incubator in the industrial park and a housing, hotel and retail development on the site of an old shopping mall in Reno.

As his institute was continuing to push the Treasury to tinker with its opportunity zone rules, Mr. Milken gave Mr. Mnuchin a flight in January on his private jet to Los Angeles, where both men have homes.

Three months later, the Treasury Department heeded the institute’s request and clarified that investors could receive the opportunity zone tax benefits by simply leasing properties to themselves. As a result, investors who had long owned land inside opportunity zones were now eligible for the tax break.

In a separate round of rule changes, Treasury agreed to loosen rules governing how quickly developers had to start work on opportunity zone projects and how much money they had to spend — both revisions that the Milken Institute, among many others, had sought.

This was a potential win for Mr. Milken. His partner, Mr. Bowlby, had bought the Nevada real estate — for both the tech incubator and the residential and retail complex — before the areas were designated as opportunity zones.

Mr. Bowlby, who didn’t respond to requests for comment, said at a public event this year that he was using a lease on his Reno project with Mr. Milken “so we can still be qualified for the opportunity zone.”

The Treasury’s leasing decision has faced criticism.

“Anybody who owned property in the zone prior to 2018 would have been out of luck until these rules,” said Michelle Layser, a tax law professor at the University of Illinois College of Law. “This really opens the door.”

Mr. Moore, the spokesman for Mr. Milken, denied that he received special treatment.

“Your insinuation that Mike has reaped personal financial benefits from Milken Institute programs is outrageous,” he said. “It’s clear that you are less interested in the objective truth than in assigning to Mike Milken sinister motives that simply do not exist.”

Mr. Moore said that Mr. Milken hadn’t hidden the fact that he had investments in the Nevada opportunity zones. He said Mr. Milken had described them at the Hamptons event that Mr. Mnuchin attended. “There was nothing secretive about it,” he said.

Mr. Kowalski said he hadn’t been aware that Mr. Milken was an investor in the Nevada projects at the same time that his institute was seeking to change the rules governing opportunity zones.

Was he surprised? Mr. Kowalski paused. “Nothing surprises me anymore,” he said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Symbol of ’80s Greed Stands to Profit From Trump Tax Break for Poor Areas

Westlake Legal Group 26milken-promo-facebookJumbo Symbol of ’80s Greed Stands to Profit From Trump Tax Break for Poor Areas United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Treasury Department Tax Credits, Deductions and Exemptions Mnuchin, Steven T Milken, Michael R Milken Institute Federal Taxes (US) Enterprise Zones Area Planning and Renewal

RENO, Nev. — In the 1980s, Michael Milken embodied Wall Street greed. A swashbuckling financier, he was charged with playing a central role in a vast insider-trading scheme and was sent to prison for violating federal securities and tax laws. He was an inspiration for the Gordon Gekko character in the film “Wall Street.”

Mr. Milken has spent the intervening decades trying to rehabilitate his reputation through an influential nonprofit think tank, the Milken Institute, devoted to initiatives “that advance prosperity.”

These days, the Milken Institute is a leading proponent of a new federal tax break that was intended to coax wealthy investors to plow money into distressed communities known as “opportunity zones.” The institute’s leaders have helped push senior officials in the Trump administration to make the tax incentive more generous, even though it is under fire for being slanted toward the wealthy.

Mr. Milken, it turns out, is in a position to personally gain from some of the changes that his institute has urged the Trump administration to enact. In one case, the Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, directly intervened in a way that benefited Mr. Milken, his longtime friend.

It is a vivid illustration of the power that Mr. Milken, who was barred from the securities industry and fined $600 million as part of his 1990 felony conviction, has amassed in President Trump’s Washington. In addition to the favorable tax-policy changes, some of Mr. Trump’s closest advisers — including Mr. Mnuchin, Jared Kushner and Rudolph W. Giuliani — have lobbied the president to pardon Mr. Milken for his crimes, or supported that effort, according to people familiar with the effort.

While the Milken Institute’s advocacy of opportunity zones is public, Mr. Milken’s financial stake in the outcome is not.

The former “junk bond king” has investments in at least two major real estate projects inside federally designated opportunity zones in Nevada, near Mr. Milken’s Lake Tahoe vacation home, according to public records reviewed by The New York Times.

One of those developments, inside an industrial park, is a nearly 700-acre site in which Mr. Milken is a major investor. Last year, after pressure from Mr. Milken’s business partner and other landowners, the Treasury Department ignored its own guidelines on how to select opportunity zones and made the area eligible for the tax break, according to people involved in the discussions and records reviewed by The Times.

The unusual decision was made at the personal instruction of Mr. Mnuchin, according to internal Treasury Department emails. It came shortly after he had spent time with Mr. Milken at an event his institute hosted.

“People were troubled,” said Annie Donovan, who previously ran the Treasury office in charge of designating areas as opportunity zones. She and two of her former colleagues said they were upset that the Treasury secretary was intervening to bend rules, though they said they didn’t realize at the time that Mr. Mnuchin’s friend stood to profit. The agency’s employees, Ms. Donovan said, “were put in a position where they had to compromise the integrity of the process.”

The opportunity zone initiative, tucked into the tax cut bill that Mr. Trump signed into law in 2017, has become one of the White House’s signature initiatives. It allows investors to delay or avoid taxes on capital gains by putting money in projects or companies in more than 8,700 federally designated opportunity zones. Mr. Trump has boasted that it will revitalize downtrodden neighborhoods.

But the incentive, also championed by some prominent Democrats, has been dogged by criticism that it is a gift to wealthy investors and real estate developers. From the start, the tax break targeted people with capital gains, the vast majority of which are held by the very richest investors. The Treasury permitted opportunity zones to encompass not only poor communities but some adjacent affluent neighborhoods. Much of the money so far has flowed to those wealthier areas, including many projects that were planned long before the new law was enacted.

Investors and others — including Mr. Milken’s institute — have been pushing the Treasury Department to write the rules governing opportunity zones in ways that would make it easier to qualify for the tax break. That campaign worked, and Mr. Milken is among the potential beneficiaries.

Geoffrey Moore, a spokesman for Mr. Milken, confirmed that Mr. Milken had investments inside opportunity zones, though they are a sliver of his overall real estate holdings. He disputed that Mr. Milken had used his institute or Washington connections to benefit his investments and said no one at the institute “has any specific knowledge of Mike’s personal investments.”

Mr. Moore added that Mr. Milken’s support for opportunity zones was based on his longstanding belief “that jobs and the democratization of ownership are the keys to helping people in economically struggling areas.”

A spokesman for the Milken Institute, Geoffrey Baum, said that “to suggest that the work of the Milken Institute is motivated by or connected to Mr. Milken’s investments is flat-out wrong.” He said the institute advocated changes that were intended to spread the benefits to more low-income communities, not to help the wealthy.

The White House declined to comment on whether Mr. Trump is considering a presidential pardon for Mr. Milken.

Mr. Milken — operating from an X-shaped trading desk in Beverly Hills, Calif. — was a Wall Street legend. He pioneered the junk bond, which enabled financially risky companies to borrow billions of dollars and ignited a wave of often-hostile corporate takeovers that came to define a go-go era. His firm, Drexel Burnham Lambert, hosted an annual event, which came to be known as the Predators’ Ball, where the era’s greatest financiers mingled. Mr. Milken became a billionaire.

Then, in 1989, federal prosecutors charged him with violating securities and tax laws and with being part of a lucrative insider-trading ring. The next year, Drexel Burnham went bankrupt.

Mr. Milken pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison and paid $600 million in fines. After cooperating with the government, he ended up serving about two years behind bars.

Mr. Milken emerged with a considerable fortune intact. He invested in companies in for-profit education, health care and fast food, according to securities filings and company announcements. He also acquired lots of real estate, coming to own roughly 700 properties around the United States, Mr. Moore said.

He continued to attract scrutiny from regulators, including one case in which Mr. Milken paid $47 million to resolve the Securities and Exchange Commission’s allegations that he had violated his lifetime ban from the securities industry.

Mr. Milken, however, has largely managed to restore his reputation — and his clout. His family gave tens of millions of dollars to his Milken Institute, which he founded in 1991 and whose board of directors he leads. After battling prostate cancer, he helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars to fund cancer research.

In Washington, Mr. Milken, 73, and his institute have courted influence, wooing and sometimes adding former federal officials. His family recently spent more than $85 million to buy three buildings opposite the White House and the Treasury Department, which he is transforming into his institute’s new Washington offices.

The most public display of his renewed stature comes each spring in Los Angeles when Mr. Milken presides over a glitzy gathering at the Beverly Hilton — the same venue where his famed Predators’ Balls took place three decades ago.

The Milken Institute’s annual conference attracts thousands of the world’s most powerful people — from government, finance, medicine, Hollywood and the like — for a frenzy of high-powered networking and conspicuous consumption. Recent guests have included Leon Black, the chairman of Apollo Global Management; David M. Solomon, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs; Eric Schmidt, the former chief executive of Google; and the New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

Mr. Milken is the power broker at the center of the action. Onstage, he interviews famous guests. In private, he organizes exclusive dinners. Some have called the event the Davos of North America.

In the Trump era, cabinet secretaries and White House advisers have been among the event’s marquee guests, more so than in other recent administrations. Coveted speaking roles have gone to Ivanka Trump and her husband, Mr. Kushner, giving them access to an elite audience.

At last year’s event in Beverly Hills, attendees included Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Mr. Mnuchin. The Treasury secretary was accompanied by several senior aides, including Daniel Kowalski, who is overseeing the department’s drafting of the opportunity zone rules.

Mr. Kowalski, who has spent months drumming up support across the country for opportunity zones, is well acquainted with the Milken Institute.

After the tax incentive became law, it was up to the Treasury, and Mr. Kowalski in particular, to put it in effect through a series of rules. Officials at the Milken Institute met repeatedly with him to try to influence that rule-writing process. The institute submitted a series of letters and presentations to the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service, and at times directly to Mr. Mnuchin, pushing for rules that would make the tax break easier to qualify for.

“Helping to shape the rules of the road” is how the Milken Institute describes its work on opportunity zones.

The institute “is incredibly active,” Mr. Kowalski said in an interview. He said he thought he had discussed opportunity zones with Mr. Milken, although he said he could not specifically recall. He disputed that Mr. Milken or his institute exerted any special influence over the Treasury Department.

Among the Milken Institute’s proposals was for the Treasury to give investors a generous amount of time to build on opportunity zone land and to reduce the amount that investors had to spend upgrading properties to be eligible for the tax break. Those changes would make it easier for investors to reap the benefits.

The institute also asked the Treasury a question that would clarify if investors who owned land in opportunity zones before the tax law was passed were eligible to receive the benefits. The Treasury ruled that such investments were permissible, a controversial decision since the purpose of the opportunity zone initiative was to spur new investments, not reward existing projects.

Mr. Milken’s spokesman, Mr. Moore, said Mr. Milken “never attended any meeting focused on opportunity zone regulations with any federal agency, nor did he consult with any institute representatives who may have interacted with any agency.”

But Aron Betru, who led the Milken Institute’s opportunity zone efforts, told The Times in an interview that he did discuss opportunity zones with Mr. Milken, though he said he was not aware of Mr. Milken’s specific investments. And in 2018 Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Milken attended a small, private event, sponsored by the institute, to discuss opportunity zones.

High above Reno, on a vast hillside where wild horses roam, is the site of one of Nevada’s biggest opportunity zones.

The center of this area is known as Comstock Meadows, a reference to the 1859 discovery of the so-called Comstock Lode, one of the largest deposits of silver ever found in the United States. The find generated hundreds of millions of dollars in wealth, creating a boomtown in nearby Virginia City.

Today it is home to the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center. Lured by cheap land, Google is building a huge new complex inside the industrial park. Tesla and Switch, the data-center company, recently opened their own operations. And down the street, Mr. Milken co-owns a company that holds nearly 700 acres of empty land.

He and his partner — Chip Bowlby, president of a development company called Reno Land — planned to use that space to open a so-called tech incubator, where smaller companies could set up operations, among other possible uses.

Being inside an opportunity zone would potentially be a huge boon for the venture. It would mean that start-ups at the tech incubator could attract tax-advantaged money from outside investors.

Nevada officials wanted to nominate the census tract that included the industrial park as an opportunity zone. But in early 2018, Treasury officials had ruled that the area was ineligible because its residents were too affluent.

Major landowners at the site, including Mr. Bowlby, urged state and local officials to try to get the Treasury to reverse that ruling, said Kris Thompson, the project manager at the industrial center.

Storey County, where the industrial park is situated, deployed Jon Porter, a former House Republican from Nevada who is now a lobbyist, to push the matter. Dean Heller, at the time a Republican senator, and Brian Sandoval, then the governor, also were enlisted and had phone calls with Mr. Mnuchin around that time, according to Treasury records. Mr. Heller, Mr. Porter and Mr. Sandoval did not respond to requests for comment.

Just as that lobbying intensified in the spring of 2018, Mr. Milken opened his institute’s annual conference in Beverly Hills.

Mr. Mnuchin was a featured guest. “It’s great to be here with you and all my L.A. friends,” the Treasury secretary said in an onstage interview on April 30.

That afternoon, the institute organized an invitation-only meeting with Mr. Mnuchin and his staff to discuss opportunity zones. Other listed attendees included Sean Parker, the former Facebook president and an early advocate of opportunity zones, and Raymond J. McGuire, a top Citigroup executive. Mr. Betru was the moderator.

Within days, the Treasury Department had shifted its position and was now willing to let the state nominate the area around the Nevada industrial park as an opportunity zone.

Mr. Mnuchin told Mr. Kowalski to inform other Treasury officials that they should accept Storey County’s nomination, according to email records reviewed by The Times.

Mr. Mnuchin spoke on the phone on May 8 with Mr. Sandoval. Forty-five minutes later, Mr. Sandoval formally nominated the site to be part of an opportunity zone, email records show. And the decision was soon officially blessed by the Treasury Department. (While the Treasury’s reversal has been reported, Mr. Milken’s connection has not been previously disclosed.)

Treasury officials said the change was part of an effort to iron out inconsistencies in different Treasury rules. But the switch provoked intense protests from Treasury and I.R.S. employees.

“Failure to apply the designation standards equally across the board will call into question the legitimacy of the process by which the designations were made,” an unnamed I.R.S. employee wrote in an internal memo in May 2018. It added that the appearance of “arbitrary” Treasury standards risked “opening the door for accusations that the determination process was influenced by political considerations or bias.”

“Any such controversy would in turn taint the opportunity zones and potentially chill or cloud the incentive for investors to invest in the opportunity zones,” the memo said.

In an interview this month at an event co-sponsored by the Milken Institute in Jackson, Miss., Mr. Kowalski would not comment on whether Mr. Mnuchin had been the driving force behind the Treasury’s reversal. “I can certainly say he was apprised of the situation,” Mr. Kowalski said.

Brett Theodos, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, which has advised state governments including Nevada on their nominations of opportunity zones, said the Treasury’s decision-making appeared problematic. “Making exceptions for the politically connected is deeply troubling,” he said.

Spokesmen for Mr. Milken and Mr. Mnuchin said the two men had never discussed the Storey County issue. Mr. Mnuchin’s spokesman, Devin O’Malley, said Mr. Mnuchin “had no knowledge of Milken’s investments in Nevada.”

In August 2018, Mr. Mnuchin and Mr. Milken met again. This time, the occasion was a small conference hosted by the Milken Institute to discuss opportunity zones. The event took place at the Hamptons home of the real estate developer Richard LeFrak, a business associate of Mr. Trump, according to the event’s agenda.

A handout from the event, which was later posted online, showed a map of all 8,764 opportunity zones in the United States, but focused on the virtues of just one specific area: Reno. The handout promoted the city as a “hub to the western United States.”

The handout did not mention that Mr. Milken was a major investor in two projects in opportunity zones in that area: the tech incubator in the industrial park and a housing, hotel and retail development on the site of an old shopping mall in Reno.

As his institute was continuing to push the Treasury to tinker with its opportunity zone rules, Mr. Milken gave Mr. Mnuchin a flight in January on his private jet to Los Angeles, where both men have homes.

Three months later, the Treasury Department heeded the institute’s request and clarified that investors could receive the opportunity zone tax benefits by simply leasing properties to themselves. As a result, investors who had long owned land inside opportunity zones were now eligible for the tax break.

In a separate round of rule changes, Treasury agreed to loosen rules governing how quickly developers had to start work on opportunity zone projects and how much money they had to spend — both revisions that the Milken Institute, among many others, had sought.

This was a potential win for Mr. Milken. His partner, Mr. Bowlby, had bought the Nevada real estate — for both the tech incubator and the residential and retail complex — before the areas were designated as opportunity zones.

Mr. Bowlby, who didn’t respond to requests for comment, said at a public event this year that he was using a lease on his Reno project with Mr. Milken “so we can still be qualified for the opportunity zone.”

The Treasury’s leasing decision has faced criticism.

“Anybody who owned property in the zone prior to 2018 would have been out of luck until these rules,” said Michelle Layser, a tax law professor at the University of Illinois College of Law. “This really opens the door.”

Mr. Moore, the spokesman for Mr. Milken, denied that he received special treatment.

“Your insinuation that Mike has reaped personal financial benefits from Milken Institute programs is outrageous,” he said. “It’s clear that you are less interested in the objective truth than in assigning to Mike Milken sinister motives that simply do not exist.”

Mr. Moore said that Mr. Milken hadn’t hidden the fact that he had investments in the Nevada opportunity zones. He said Mr. Milken had described them at the Hamptons event that Mr. Mnuchin attended. “There was nothing secretive about it,” he said.

Mr. Kowalski said he hadn’t been aware that Mr. Milken was an investor in the Nevada projects at the same time that his institute was seeking to change the rules governing opportunity zones.

Was he surprised? Mr. Kowalski paused. “Nothing surprises me anymore,” he said.

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The Impeachment Inquiry This Week in 6 Developments

More damning testimony. A Republican resistance emerges and so does the “Deep State.” Steve Bannon is back and so is Anonymous. So many developments … so little time. It’s O.K., we’ll recap the week for you.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_163146507_49a114b5-85f7-4c83-b2a7-5a3621a787a8-articleLarge The Impeachment Inquiry This Week in 6 Developments United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Taylor, William B Jr Russian Interference in 2016 US Elections and Ties to Trump Associates Justice Department House Committee on Intelligence Bannon, Stephen K

Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The top American diplomat in Ukraine gave a vivid and impassioned account on Tuesday of how multiple senior administration officials told him that President Trump blocked security aid to Ukraine and refused to meet the country’s leader until he agreed to publicly pledge to investigate Mr. Trump’s political rivals.

In testimony to impeachment investigators delivered in defiance of State Department orders, the diplomat, William B. Taylor Jr., sketched out in remarkable detail a quid pro quo pressure campaign on Ukraine that Mr. Trump and his allies have long denied. He said the president sought to condition the entire United States relationship with Ukraine — including a $391 million aid package — on a promise that the country would publicly investigate Mr. Trump’s political rivals, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his family. His account implicated Mr. Trump, citing multiple sources inside the government.

____

On Friday, a federal judge ruled that the House is legally engaged in an impeachment inquiry, delivering a major victory to House Democrats and undercutting arguments by President Trump and Republicans that the investigation is a sham. (Representative Adam Schiff, above, is among those leading the inquiry.)

The House Judiciary Committee is entitled to view secret grand jury evidence gathered by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, Judge Beryl A. Howell of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, ruled in a 75-page opinion. Attorney General William P. Barr had withheld the material from lawmakers.

____

Nameless, faceless and voiceless, the C.I.A. officer who first set off the impeachment inquiry seemed to be practically the embodiment of the “deep state” that the president has long accused of trying to take him down.

But over the last three weeks, the so-called deep state has emerged from the shadows in the form of real live government officials, who have defied a White House attempt to block cooperation with House impeachment investigators and provided evidence that largely backs up the whistle-blower. Here’s the warning letter received by one of the witnesses, Laura Cooper, the military’s Russia-Ukraine expert, before she testified.

Also worth noting: An anonymous Trump administration official who published a September 2018 essay in The New York Times, about the active resistance to the president’s agenda and behavior from within his own administration, will publish a book next month.

We traveled to the front lines of the war in Ukraine, a bare-bones fight against Russian-backed separatists. The war there has killed 13,000 people, put a large part of Ukraine under Russia’s control and dragged on for five years. It was almost forgotten by the outside world until it became a backdrop to the impeachment inquiry. Ukrainian soldiers on the front line were jolted when American military aid was suspended in July. While the aid was restored in time to prevent any military setbacks, it took a heavy psychological toll, they said, striking at their confidence that their backers in Washington stood solidly behind them.

The president and his allies have said that there was no quid pro quo with Ukraine because Ukrainian officials did not know military aid had been blocked, but word of the aid freeze had reached high-level officials there, according to interviews and documents.

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Giuliani Is Drawing Attention to Hunter Biden’s Work in Romania. But There’s a Problem.

Westlake Legal Group 25dc-rudy-01-facebookJumbo Giuliani Is Drawing Attention to Hunter Biden’s Work in Romania. But There’s a Problem. United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Romania Presidential Election of 2020 Presidential Election of 2016 Giuliani, Rudolph W Freeh, Louis J Corruption (Institutional) BUCHAREST, Romania Biden, Joseph R Jr Biden, Hunter

WASHINGTON — Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, signaled this month that he planned to open a new front in his attacks against former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. — work done by Mr. Biden’s son Hunter Biden for a wealthy Romanian business executive facing corruption charges.

But there’s a problem with that strategy: Mr. Giuliani participated in an effort that would have helped the same executive, and was in fact recruited to do so by Louis J. Freeh, a former F.B.I. director who had been brought onto the matter by Hunter Biden.

In effect, Mr. Giuliani and Hunter Biden were on the same team, if not at the same time. And their work to help the business executive, along with that of Mr. Freeh, stood in contrast to efforts by the United States, including Vice President Biden while he was in office, to encourage anti-corruption efforts in Romania.

The dynamic in Romania underscores how Mr. Giuliani has done a brisk international business with clients who sometimes seem to be seeking to capitalize on his connections to Mr. Trump even as he has accused Hunter Biden of seeking to capitalize on his father’s name while doing business in other countries. And the disclosure of the connection between his role in Romania and Mr. Biden’s comes at a time when Mr. Giuliani, the former New York mayor, is under investigation by federal prosecutors in New York for possible violations of foreign lobbying laws.

Hunter Biden, who is a lawyer, was retained by the business executive, Gabriel Popoviciu, in 2015, while his father was vice president, to help try to fend off charges in Romania being pursued by anti-corruption prosecutors. In 2016, Mr. Popoviciu was convicted on charges related to a land deal in northern Bucharest, the Romanian capital.

Mr. Popoviciu appealed the decision.

Around the time of the 2016 conviction, Mr. Biden recruited Mr. Freeh to assist on the case, according to four people familiar with the effort. Mr. Freeh then retained Mr. Giuliani, who last year criticized Romania’s anti-corruption crackdown and urged amnesty to those who had been convicted, which could have included Mr. Popoviciu.

Mr. Giuliani’s involvement came after Mr. Biden bowed out of the case, according to three people familiar with the arrangements.

The episode, elements of which were reported Thursday by NBC News, is another example of the paydays available to politically prominent Americans willing to work for foreign interests, some of whom are hoping to parlay Washington connections into favorable treatment at home and on the world stage.

Hunter Biden also served as a board member of a Ukrainian energy company owned by an oligarch who had been battling accusations of corruption at the same time that Vice President Biden — now a leading 2020 Democratic presidential candidate — was pressing the Ukrainian government to step up its anti-corruption efforts. Hunter Biden was paid as much as $50,000 a month for his role on the board.

Efforts by Mr. Giuliani and Mr. Trump to pressure the current Ukrainian government into investigating the Bidens helped lead to the impeachment inquiry underway by House Democrats. Mr. Trump also asked China to investigate Hunter Biden’s business there, a request that was rejected by the Chinese government.

There is no evidence that Vice President Biden acted improperly in any of the situations involving his son.

Andrew Bates, a Biden campaign spokesman, said, “Americans are not going to be hoodwinked by a president desperately trying to turn attention to anything but his own corrupt behavior.”

Hunter Biden acknowledged in an interview with ABC News this month that he exercised “poor judgment,” by joining the board of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings but said he has done nothing wrong. He left the company’s board in April. This month, he announced he would step down from the board of a Chinese company and would not work for or with any foreign-owned companies if his father was elected president.

George Mesires, a lawyer for Hunter Biden, said his client never discussed the Popoviciu case, Romanian anti-corruption efforts or anything else related to Romania with his father.

Mr. Popoviciu’s hiring of well-connected Americans seemed to be an effort to leverage “the importance to the Romanian government of the U.S.-Romanian bilateral” relationship “to influence and possibly overcome his political challenges in Romania,” said Heather A. Conley, who was a deputy assistant secretary of state in the bureau of European and Eurasian affairs from 2001 to 2005.

Ms. Conley, who is director of the Europe program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, warned that going to work in “environments where corruption is very prevalent such as Romania should be a blinking yellow light of caution reputationally for U.S. firms and individuals.”

Early this month, Mr. Giuliani suggested that he intended to soon draw attention to Hunter Biden’s work in Romania. During an appearance on Fox News in which Mr. Giuliani reiterated his claims about the Bidens’ activities in Ukraine and China, he announced, as the segment was nearing its end, that “there’s a lot more to come out. We haven’t moved to Romania, yet. Wait until we get to Romania.”

Mr. Trump referred to Hunter Biden’s Romania work for the first time on Friday in remarks to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House.

“Well, I think what Biden did, and his son — and now, I guess, they’re finding also Romania; that just came out today. Or some other country. And I’m sure there are more than that,” the president said.

As far back as May, Mr. Giuliani indicated to The New York Times that he intended to ask Mr. Freeh for information about Hunter Biden’s work in Romania. It is not clear if he did so.

Neither executives at Mr. Freeh’s company, Freeh Group International Solutions, nor Mr. Giuliani responded to requests for comment this week.

Hunter Biden’s work for Mr. Popoviciu was first reported by The New York Times in May.

But new details demonstrate how Hunter Biden’s efforts stood in contrast to the message being delivered in Romania by his father and put him on the same side of the case as Mr. Giuliani.

Hunter Biden agreed to work for Mr. Popoviciu at a time when Mr. Popoviciu was being targeted by an anti-corruption campaign that had been championed by Vice President Biden and other Western leaders.

In a May 2014 speech to politicians in Bucharest, Vice President Biden assailed corruption as “a cancer that eats away at a citizen’s faith in democracy” and “can represent a clear and present danger not only to a nation’s economy, but to its very national security.”

About two years after that speech, Mr. Popoviciu was convicted in a case brought by an anticorruption agency that the vice president had praised.

In 2015, before his first trip to Romania, Hunter Biden met with the Romanian ambassador to the United States in the country’s embassy in Washington, according to two people familiar with the meeting. Mr. Biden stressed that he was undertaking the trip as a private citizen, and did not expressly mention Mr. Popoviciu, or his case, one of the people said.

At one point, Hunter Biden approached Mark Gitenstein, a former American ambassador to Romania during President Barack Obama’s first term, to discuss the possibility of referring the Popoviciu case to Mr. Freeh, according to someone familiar with the conversation.

Mr. Gitenstein, who had served as a Senate aide for the senior Mr. Biden and now sits on the board of the Biden Foundation, defended the work of the prosecutors who targeted Mr. Popoviciu.

“Both the vice president and I had total confidence in the anti-corruption prosecutors in Romania, and did everything in our power to support them, both during our time in office and after,” Mr. Gitenstein said.

Mr. Mesires acknowledged that Hunter Biden referred Mr. Popoviciu to both Boies Schiller Flexner, the law firm where Hunter Biden worked at the time, and Mr. Freeh’s firm, Freeh Group International Solutions.

Mr. Popoviciu hired both firms, according to four people familiar with the arrangements. Mr. Popoviciu could not be reached for comment.

Boies Schiller Flexner declined to comment.

Mr. Freeh’s firm started work for the Romanian businessman in July 2016, shortly after Mr. Popoviciu was initially convicted by a Romanian court.

Mr. Freeh conducted a review of the case with a team of retired prosecutors and F.B.I. agents. The team concluded there were “numerous factual and legal deficiencies in the case,” according to a statement summarizing the findings issued in 2017, after the Romanian high court upheld Mr. Popoviciu’s conviction and handed down a seven-year prison sentence. Mr. Freeh called for Romanian authorities to review the case, and reach “another result.”

That has not happened. Mr. Popoviciu was arrested in London shortly after the high court’s decision. He posted bail and is fighting extradition to Romania.

While Mr. Biden ended his work on the case at some point after recruiting Mr. Freeh, Mr. Freeh continued working for Mr. Popoviciu.

Last year, Mr. Freeh retained Mr. Giuliani, a longtime associate whose 2008 presidential campaign Mr. Freeh supported, to help with his efforts in Romania.

In August 2018, while serving as Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer during the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s election interference, Mr. Giuliani wrote a letter to Romania’s president criticizing the country’s anti-corruption prosecutors and urging amnesty to those who had been convicted in the crackdown.

That could have included Mr. Popoviciu, though Mr. Giuliani did not explicitly mention him in the letter. Mr. Giuliani said the Freeh Group was paying his fee, but did not identify the Freeh Group client on whose behalf he wrote the letter. However, he told Politico at the time that it “was based on a report I reviewed” by Mr. Freeh.

In the letter, Mr. Giuliani expressed concern about the “continuing damage to the rule of law being done under the guise of effective law enforcement” in Romania.

Less than two months earlier, the American embassy in Bucharest, along with the embassies of 11 other countries, had issued a statement reaching the opposite conclusion. It highlighted Romania’s “considerable progress” in combating corruption and in building an effective rule of law.

The statement, which came at a time when contentious alterations to the criminal code were moving through the Romanian parliament, also called on all parties involved to “avoid changes that would weaken the rule of law or Romania’s ability to fight crime or corruption.”

Kit Gillet contributed reporting from Bucharest.

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Trumps Put Their Washington Hotel on the Market

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WASHINGTON — It is the most visible and potent symbol of the ethics debate that has dogged President Trump as he has served simultaneously as the nation’s chief executive and real estate developer with a chain of luxury hotels. And now it is for sale.

The Trump International Hotel in Washington, five blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House, has been put on the market, just three years after the Trump family spent $200 million to open it in the historic, federally owned Old Post Office building, and at a time when Mr. Trump is facing impeachment and a tough 2020 re-election campaign.

The Trump Organization’s announcement that it is listing the hotel with a real estate agent and wants to listen to offers came less than a week after Mr. Trump’s two roles intersected in a politically and ethically awkward way: He disclosed his intention to host the 2020 Group of 7 meeting of world leaders at the Trump National Doral resort near Miami, then had to abandon the plan after hearing from fellow Republicans that it was a bad idea.

But nothing has rivaled the steady stream of criticism — and the multiple lawsuits — accusing Mr. Trump of violating the Constitution by accepting payments at his 263-room hotel in Washington from foreign governments.

The hotel has also been a magnet for millions of dollars in business from lobbyists, corporate executives and political groups, many of which are pushing the White House for policy actions or other favors.

In offering the hotel for sale, the Trump family acknowledged this tension, even as it argued that the foreign government and politically connected business at the hotel does not constitute a legitimate ethical issue.

“Since we opened our doors, we have received tremendous interest in this hotel and as real-estate developers, we are always willing to explore our options,” Eric Trump, one of the president’s sons, said in a statement on Friday. “People are objecting to us making so much money on the hotel, and therefore we may be willing to sell.”

The hotel opened in late 2016, just before Mr. Trump was elected president, and quickly became one of the single biggest sources of revenue for the Trump family, according to financial disclosure statements, collecting $40.8 million last year.

The president’s daughter Ivanka Trump, even while working in the White House, also retained a stake in the property, earning nearly $4 million from it last year.

The hotel in Washington is one of the few parts of the company that has had major revenue growth since Mr. Trump took office.

The Trump family spent $200 million renovating the huge Romanesque Revival structure, after it won bidding from the federal General Services Administration to manage the hotel at the property, and a 60-year lease on the building.

Built from 1892 to 1899 to house the United States Post Office department headquarters and the city’s post office, it is the second-tallest building in Washington after the Washington Monument. It is easily recognizable on the city’s skyline, given its distinctive clock tower, which is still open to the public

The leasing of the hotel predated Mr. Trump’s election. Mr. Trump held news conferences at the hotel during the 2016 campaign as it was under construction, and he took reporters covering his candidacy on a tour of the lobby as it was being renovated.

Trump family executives, including Eric Trump, declined to address questions Friday about why they had decided to put the hotel up for sale now, with impeachment proceedings picking up and the 2020 campaign in full swing.

But Mr. Trump’s annual financial disclosure statement shows that his hotels have been underperforming other similar luxury properties in a number of major hotel markets in the United States, including Chicago and Hawaii, industry analysts said.

On Monday, after reversing his decision to hold the Group of 7 meeting at the Trump National Doral resort near Miami, the president addressed what he suggested was a politically driven loss of business at some of his family properties.

“All of a sudden, people — some people — didn’t like it,” Mr. Trump said as he pointed to declines in sales at the Doral. “They thought the rhetoric was too tough, and it went from doing great to doing fine. It does very nicely now.“

Speaking more broadly about the effect of the presidency on his family businesses, he said: “Now, instead of having 100 percent of the market that loves you and they love your brand and it’s luxury and it’s great, now you have 50 percent of the market. That’s called politics. I fully understood that.”

Bruce Rosenberg, an executive at HotelPlanner, a company that sells millions of hotel rooms a year, said that the Trump hotel in Washington was a “trophy” property that a major national brand could turn into a more profitable outlet, if it did not have to worry about the reputational issues.

“It is prime hotel, a prime destination and prime location,” he said, estimating it could attract bids of about $500 million. “And look how close it is the White House. It is going to be a very attractive on a sale. But there are certain group of people who don’t want to stay there.”

Any transfer of the lease would have to be approved by the General Services Administration, which awarded the deal to the Trump Organization after a competition among various bidders.

Before the Trump Organization can sell, the deal will need to pass muster with the company’s outside ethics adviser, Bobby Burchfield, who is a lawyer in Washington.

Under an ethics plan adopted when Mr. Trump became president, Mr. Burchfield must verify that the deal is not unusually favorable to the Trumps — the price must reflect a “fair market value”— and that the buyer is not seeking to gain favor with the Trump administration, among other tests. The buyer cannot be a foreign official or sovereign wealth fund, but foreign citizens are not automatically prohibited from buying the hotel.

The hotel is central to lawsuits pending against the Trump Organization by at least three groups that argue Mr. Trump is violating the Constitution by accepting payments from foreign governments.

The Trump family has tried to address the emoluments issue by sending an annual payment to the Treasury Department for what it says are the profits from these payments by foreign governments, which it said totaled about $191,538 last year at the Washington hotel and other properties it owns, up from $151,470 the year before.

Eric Trump, in a statement about the potential sale, which was first reported on Friday by The Wall Street Journal, said the family had already done its part to address the questions about conflicts.

“Unlike every other hotel company, while our father is president of the United States, we have imposed voluntary restrictions and have chosen not to market, nor solicit, foreign government business during his time in office,” he said.

He added that the hotel had also at times turned away business from foreign governments, which he called “a major sacrifice, especially in a market dominated by foreign embassies, government patronage and international delegations.”

But the operations at the hotel have continued to draw criticism.

“The Trump D.C. hotel has embodied the conflicts of interest and self-enrichment schemes that pervade the Trump administration, easily the most corrupt in modern American history,” said Robert Weissman, the president of Public Citizen, a group that has tracked millions of dollars in spending by political candidates, foreign governments and other politically connected groups at the hotel.

One nonprofit group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, has tracked at least 694 visits to the hotel by executive branch officials, members of Congress and foreign government officials since Mr. Trump took office.

Republican political groups and candidates have spent $1.8 million at Trump-owned properties in the current election cycle, the largest chunk of that at the Trump hotel in Washington, according to a new tally by the Center for Responsive Politics, which also noted that Mr. Trump’s properties were not a frequent location for political events until he became president.

Democrats in Congress have also continued to question if it is even legal for Mr. Trump to serve simultaneously as both the owner of the hotel, through a family trust, and essentially as the landlord, through the General Services Administration.

A provision in the lease says that “no member or delegate to Congress, or elected official of the government of the United States or the government of the District of Columbia, shall be admitted to any share or part of this lease,” which may prohibit the ownership arrangement. The lease was granted to Mr. Trump before he was elected president.

House Democrats this week sent a subpoena to the General Services Administration demanding that it provide documents addressing this question, which was first raised shortly after Mr. Trump was elected.

“Removing the Trump Organization from the lease of a taxpayer-owned building is a good place to start to ensure President Trump isn’t making a profit as both landlord and tenant of the Old Post Office Building,” Representative Peter A. DeFazio, Democrat of Oregon, who is chairman of the House committee that oversees the General Services Administration, said in a statement Friday.

“But given everything I’ve seen from dealing with this administration and the G.S.A. over the past two years,” Mr. DeFazio added. “I’m skeptical that this latest development isn’t an attempt to make a massive profit that directly benefits the Trump family so I will be following this marketing attempt closely.”

The Trump family has hired the real estate company JLL Hotels & Hospitality to help look for potential buyers of the hotel. But it did not address questions on Friday about why the family choose now to try to sell the hotel, or if it reflected any financial pressure on the Trump Organization, whose many other business operations have declined during Mr. Trump’s tenure in the White House

The White House declined to comment on Friday on the announcement.

Sharon LaFraniere and Ben Protess contributed reporting.

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