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Cindy Yang's spox is a frequent Mar-a-Lago guest too
Karyn Turk said she’s not a member though—and that the FBI hadn’t notified Yang’s attorney about its investigation
Like her client, the spokesperson for Li “Cindy” Yang has shared multiple photos from Mar-a-Lago. It’s Yang’s selfie with President Trump at his private Palm Beach club, of course, that led to increased scrutiny of the Republican donor and spa founder who allegedly also peddled access to the U.S. president.
Karyn Turk said that she’s not a member of the president’s club though and that her representation of Yang and frequent visits to the president’s private club are just emblematic of Palm Beach’s social scene.
“We feel very fortunate and blessed to have friends and be able to go to Mar-a-Lago,” Turk said.
Yesterday’s Miami Herald article “Feds open foreign-money investigation into Trump donor Cindy Yang” identified Turk as Yang’s spokesperson. An Instagram post and other media accounts confirm that relationship. (Yes, Turk, to Yang’s left in the photo, is also Mrs. Florida 2016.) Turk’s husband, Evan, is Yang’s attorney. Karyn works for his firm, Palm Beach Law Offices.
Facebook and Instagram accounts belonging to Karyn and Evan showed photos of Karyn geotagged to Mar-a-Lago on eight different dates going back through December 2017. (No photos show the Turks with Yang or President Trump.) Additionally, in a Jan. 31, 2019 New York Times article, Karyn Turk is quoted describing what life is like for the president when he retreats to his private club. And a March 2017 Politico article on Mar-a-Lago showed Turk there in its lead photo.
Photos on social media of Turk at Mar-a-Lago show her
with her arm on Trump Organization EVP’s Donald Trump Jr.’s shoulder
posing with Diamond and Silk
at the 2018 GOP Lincoln Day dinner
“just hanging out at a neighbor’s house down the street”
seated with then Turning Point USA communications director Candace Owens
As for the Palm Beach Law Office’s client, Turk said the FBI had not informed the firm that it was looking into whether or not Yang violated campaign-finance laws. [Update June 15, 2019: The original version of this story reported that Yang was the sole client of the Palm Beach Las Office; that’s not the case. Rather she’s that firm’s only client involved in the allegations involving Chinese business people gaining access to President Trump’s circle.]
“Although The Miami Herald is reporting that there’s an FBI investigation, we have no reason to believe she’s under investigation,” she said. “And she’s had no charges or anything filed against her. So the firm knows nothing about this FBI investigation.”
Turk said that no one is paying Yang’s legal fees on her behalf.
Turk and her husband ended up representing Yang because they ran in the same Republican social circles. “She’s like one of these people I had talked to a couple of times but really didn’t know, because there was kind of a language barrier,” Turk said. “She’s a very nice Chinese woman that I’d see out, we’d say hello, and we have lots of mutual friends and she seems to be doing great things for the community.”
“When this whole thing went down, we were extremely fortunate that she picked up the phone and thought of us.”
Support 1100 Pennsylvania: never-redacted reporting on President Trump’s D.C. hotel
We now know most of what’s in the Mueller report. It’s time to focus on what happens inside the Trump Hotel D.C. and the president’s other businesses. Original, in-depth reporting, of course, takes time. But it’s making an impact—and you can help. If you’re not an 1100 Pennsylvania member, please become one. Memberships are this newsletter’s sole source of revenue. Select the red “Subscribe now” button and become a member by paying just $5 a month or $50 a year. Thank you.
Filing deadlines set for GSA’s appeal regarding FBI headquarters documents
Yesterday a series of filing deadlines were set for the General Services Administration’s appeal of a district court ruling that required GSA to turn over an unredacted document related to its cancelling plans to relocate FBI headquarters. For a rundown on the case—and why it’s relevant to the Trump Hotel D.C.—read the May 3 edition of 1100 Pennsylvania.
Baptist Health South Florida celebrated nurses week at Doral
Baptist Health South Florida booked Trump National Doral for its two-day Robert B. Cole Distinguished Nursing Lecture Series this week. Doral has hosted the event previously.
Wednesday afternoon’s 1100 Pennsylvania reported that a group of clergy members had asked the D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Board not to renew the Trump Hotel D.C.’s liquor license. We neglected to mention that some judges also are involved in that request. We regret the omission and have updated the web version of the newsletter.
Rudy and Fox News’s Gina Loudon—two Trump business regulars—smoked cigars on a balcony. Apparently Giuliani is there so often, it’s now called The Rudy Room.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R–TX) was back at a Trump property, as were hotel regulars Fox News pundit and Trump campaign advisor Harlan Hill and political publicist Sarah Selip. Crenshaw posted with several other Trump patrons too. “So awesome.” (The gala mentioned in the captions took place at a different venue.)
Former White House staffer Sebastian Gorka also was back at the Trump Hotel D.C. As was his car.
Exploratory candidate for California lieutenant governor in 2022, Errol Webber fortuitously saw Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale and Blaze TV’s Eric Bolling.
Judson Sapp, the CEO of W.J. Sapp Railroad Contractor who tried to primary Rep. Ted Yoho (R–FL), is honored to be a fundraiser for the Trump campaign. Wednesday he shared this photo of him meeting the president at the president’s private club.
Trump First Tuesdays regular and partner at lobbying firm Barnes & Thornburg, John Willding, promoted the president’s hotel’s six-star award. That six-star diamond award comes was bestowed by the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences, a group headed by Trump associate/felon Joseph “Joey No Socks” Cinque. Most North American properties it honors are Trump’s (or were—the website still lists Trump SoHo). And Anthony Scaramucci and two Trump Hotels execs are listed as board members. “🏆🏆🏆”
Avenue Strategies “understands what it takes to navigate the challenging political and policy landscape.” Its chief operations, Ryan Newsome, had a good night at the president’s hotel. Also pictured in one of the photos: Blaze TV’s Eric Bolling.
A pastor was honored to meet televangelist Jentezen Franklin in the hotel’s lobby.
U.S. Marine Devon Irribarren was on a floor of the commander-in-chief’s hotel that requires a room key to access
2019 RNC Rising Star and executive team staffer at the office of the Utah attorney general, Becca Olea, posed for another plandid.
A former advisor to both Nigel Farage and Steve Bannon, Raheem Kassam was back.
Designer of the MAGA dress, Andre Soriano, found inspiration from Christianne' L. Allen, “founder of Constitutional Millennials, president at D.C. Digital, and former intern and spokeswoman to the 2016 Donald J. Trump Presidential Campaign.
At Trump Bedminster, a lawyer co-hosted “a #KentuckyDerby Event, tying in longstanding #AmericanTraditions with the celebration of both #Poland’s and #Korea’s centennial milestone of business, growth, and collaboration with the United States.”
Hotel managing director Mickael Damelincourt wants you to be scared of Ernie Wojciech, the hotel’s director of security. The day before Damelincourt’s tweet, a gun with a “high-capacity magazine” was confiscated from a car at the hotel—but only after the owner told the Secret Service about it when entering an event.
Other Trump Organization news
“House committee subpoenas Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig over Trump tax returns” by Washington Post staff
“Congressional access to the president’s federal tax returns” by David H. Carpenter, Todd Garvey, and Edward C. Liu for the Congressional Research Service
“Federal judge to fast-track ruling on House subpoena for Trump accounting records” by Spence S. Hsu for The Washington Post
“Scoop: Senate Intel subpoenas Trump Jr. over Russia matters” by Jonathan Swan, Alayna Treene, and David Nather for Axios
“Trump lawyers call Congress’ demands for his tax returns, financial statements ‘unconstitutional’” by Spence S. Hsu for The Washington Post
“What we’ve learned from Trump’s tax transcripts” by ProPublica and WNYC’s Trump, Inc.
“Who is Amit Mehta, the hip hop-loving judge overseeing the standoff over Trump’s financial records?” by Caroline Kelly for CNN
“Why we took Trump off the Forbes 400 during his decade of tax losses” by Dan Alexander for Forbes
“Donald Trump: The man behind the gold curtain” by James Poniewozik for The New York Times
“Spa owner-turned-Trump donor Cindy Yang sues Miami Herald, claiming defamation” by Lulu Ramadan for The Palm Beach Post
Just days after President Trump presented Woods with the Medal of Freedom, a Trump golf club used Woods to promote its restaurant.
The managing director of the U.S. president’s D.C. hotel wants you to know he will travel to Hong Kong on business later this month.
The president’s Charlotte golf club is looking to profit off kids.
House investigations, current status (latest change, May 10, 2019)
Financial Services—Sent an inquiry to Deutsche Bank AG on its ties to Trump, according to the bank on Jan. 24. On March 1, chair Rep. Maxine Waters (D–CA) said the bank is cooperating with her committee and that staffers from the panel have met with bank employees in New York. On March 11, the committee requested documents on Trump’s businesses from Capital One; the bank “said it was already preserving documents but needs a subpoena in order to comply” per Politico. On April 15, that subpoena was issued. All told, the committee reportedly has subpoenaed nine banks for information about President Trump’s finances. President Trump, Don. Jr., Eric, Ivanka, and their businesses sued Deutsche Bank and Capital One on April 30, however, in an attempt to prevent them from sharing financial records with Congress. Deutsche Bank reportedly has been willing to cooperate with lawmakers. On May 3, the Trumps filed for a preliminary injunction to block the subpoenas.
Foreign Affairs—Chair Rep. Elliot Engel (D–NY) “plans to investigate whether President Donald Trump’s businesses are driving foreign policy decisions, including whether Trump violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution in the process” per CNN on Jan. 23.
Judiciary—On March 4, the committee “served document requests to 81 agencies, entities, and individuals believed to have information relevant to the investigation,” according to a statement by the panel. Among the individuals the committee requested documents from are Trump Organization EVP Donald Trump Jr.; EVP Eric Trump; EVP and COO Michael Calamari; CFO Alan Weisselberg; EVP and chief legal officer Alan Garten; Trump tax attorney Sherri Dillon; longtime Trump executive assistant Rhona Graff; former Trump advisor Felix Sater; former Trump attorney Michael Cohen; and Trump associate and inaugural chair, Tom Barrack. The committee received “tens of thousands” of documents by the March 18 deadline the letters set for responses, according to its chair, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D–NY). Among the respondents: Barrack, Steve Bannon, and the National Rifle Association. But more than half of the targets had not replied by April 3, two weeks after the deadline. On that day, the committee authorized subpoenas for former White House aides Bannon, Ann Donaldson, Hope Hicks, Donald McGahn, and Reince Priebus, per Politico. Attorneys for the Trump Organization, Donald Trump Jr., and Eric Trump did not respond to Politico’s inquires if their clients planned to reply. The committee is considering making additional document requests, including to Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. The committee interviewed Felix Sater on March 21.
Intelligence—On Feb. 6, chair Rep. Adam Schiff (D–CA) issued a statement that said his committee would investigate links or coordination between the Russian government/related foreign actors and individuals associated with Trump’s businesses, as well as if foreign actors sought to compromise or hold leverage over Trump’s businesses. On Feb. 10, Schiff said the committee would investigate Trump’s relationship with Deutsche Bank, a major lender to the Trump Organization. Earlier, on Jan. 24, the committee sent an inquiry to Deutsche Bank AG on its ties to Trump, according to the bank. On Feb. 28, an aide said the panel expects to interview Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg. During testimony on March 6, Michael Cohen turned over documents that allegedly show how Trump’s then-personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow, edited Cohen’s statement regarding Trump Tower Moscow. Cohen later read this revised statement before the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. In closed-door testimony in March, Cohen claimed the president submitted a false insurance claim regarding a fresco in Trump Tower. Felix Sater, who was connected to the Trump Moscow project, was scheduled to testify in an open hearing on March 27, but that has been postponed. Schiff hired a veteran prosecutor experienced with combating Russian organized crime to lead this investigation. The committee is also seeking to interview Trump inauguration organizer Stephanie Winston Wolkoff. On March 11, the committee requested documents on Trump’s businesses from Capital One; the bank “said it was already preserving documents but needs a subpoena in order to comply” per Politico. On April 15, that subpoena was issued. All told, the committee reportedly has subpoenaed nine banks for information about President Trump’s finances. President Trump, Don. Jr., Eric, Ivanka, and their businesses sued Deutsche Bank and Capital One on April 30, however, in an attempt to prevent them from sharing financial records with Congress. Schiff said Deutsche Bank has been willing to cooperate with lawmakers. On May 3, the Trumps filed for a preliminary injunction to block the subpoenas.
UPDATED Oversight and Reform—Chair Rep. Elijah Cummings’s (D–MD) staff “has already sent out 51 letters to government officials, the White House, and the Trump Organization asking for documents related to investigations that the committee may launch,” on Jan. 13. In a Feb. 15 letter to White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, Cummings said the committee received documents showing White House attorney Stefan Passantino and long-time Trump personal attorney Sheri Dillon provided “false information” to the Office of Government Ethics regarding Michael Cohen’s “hush-money payments.” As a result, Cummings wants to depose Passantino and Dillon; the White House, however, rejected Cummings’ request to interview Passantino. And on Feb. 27, Cohen testified to the committee about those payments and other Trump Organization business practices, which could lead to the committee requesting the president’s tax returns and allegations of possible insurance fraud. The next day, House Democrats signaled they would seek testimony from Trump Organization officials whom Cohen alleged were implicated, including Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and CFO Allen Weisselberg. On March 6, Cummings requested information from the GSA about its reversal of an earlier decision to relocate FBI headquarters, which is located across the street from the Trump Hotel D.C. The committee also has requested 10 years of Trump’s financial records. On March 11, the committee requested documents on Trump’s businesses from Capital One; the bank “said it was already preserving documents but needs a subpoena in order to comply” per Politico. And on April 12, Cummings notified committee members that he plans to subpoena Mazars USA, Trump’s accounting firm, for his financial statements. That same day Cummings also wrote to the GSA requesting all monthly reports from the Trump Hotel D.C., information about any liens on the hotel, a slew of correspondence between the Trump Org and GSA, and legal opinions regarding the Trump Org’s compliance with the lease. President Trump, the Trump Organization, and the Trump Hotel D.C. sued Cummings and Mazars USA on April 22 in an attempt to prevent the release of Trump’s financial records. Trump’s suit cites an 1880 Supreme Court decision—that was overturned in 1927. Cummings postponed the subpoenas’ deadline while the courts address the president’s suit. A hearing is scheduled for May 14 and U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta said he will fast-track the case.
Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management—Transportation committee chair Rep. Peter DeFazio (D–OR) and subcommittee chair Dina Titus (D–NV) sent a letter to GSA administrator Emily Murphy on Jan. 22 asking for all communication between the GSA and members of the Trump family dating back to 2015, an explanation of how the D.C. hotel calculates its profits, profit statements since the hotel opened, any guidance from the White House regarding the lease, and whether or not Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are recused from participating in decisions regarding the property. GSA has “sent a partial response and the subcommittee is reviewing it,” according to a senior House staffer familiar with the situation. When hearings begin, it is likely that Murphy will be the first person called to testify, according to a person familiar with the subcommittee’s plans. Titus is hiring additional staffers to handle the investigation. On March 6, Titus requested information from the GSA about its reversal of an earlier decision to relocate the FBI headquarters, which is located across the street from the Trump Hotel D.C. NPR reported on March 15 that, “Democrats on the committee want to know, among other things, whether there was any political pressure exerted on the GSA by the Trump White House, presidential campaign or transition team. They also want to know how the Trump Hotel calculates its profits, segregates incoming money from foreign governments, and what the Trump Organization owes the GSA on a monthly or annual basis.’”
UPDATED Ways and Means—On April 3, chairman Richard Neal (D–MA) requested six years of Trump’s personal tax returns, as well as the returns for eight of his businesses (including that of the trust that holds the president’s ownership stake in the D.C. hotel). After the IRS missed Neal’s first deadline, he extended it until 5 p.m. on April 22. The IRS missed that deadline too and Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin said he’d make a decision whether or not to release the returns by May 6. He declined to do so. Neal indicated he’ll take the issue to the federal courts. And on May 10 the committee subpoenaed Mnuchin and IRS commissioner Charles Rettig, giving them a May 17 deadline to turn over Trumop’s tax returns. Also, the subcommittee on Oversight held its first hearing on “legislative proposals and tax law related to presidential and vice-presidential tax returns” on Feb. 7. “We will ask the question: Does the public have a need to know that a person seeking the highest office in our country obeys tax law?” said chair Rep. John Lewis (D–GA). Experts in tax law testified.
President Trump chose not to divest; Americans need to know who’s paying him
Unlike his predecessors, Donald Trump did not divest his businesses upon becoming U.S. president. Think that may be a problem? Become an 1100 Pennsylvania member, and support reporting on who’s spending money at the president’s businesses—and what they may be getting in return. Memberships are this newsletter’s sole source of revenue. Select the red “Subscribe now” button and become a member by paying just $5 a month or $50 a year. Thank you.
Legal cases, current status (latest change, May 8, 2019)
Official capacity—On Dec. 20, 2018, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled it would hear the president’s appeal of district court rulings that allowed the case to proceed to discovery, and the appellate court halted discovery in the case. Discovery had started Dec. 3 and was scheduled to run through Aug. 2, 2019, with the AGs having subpoenaed the Trump Organization, including its Scottish golf courses; the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, and Treasury and the GSA; and the state of Maine. Oral arguments on the appeal occurred on March 19; by all accounts the three-judge panel (all Republican appointees, including one who was a selection of President Trump’s) were skeptical of the AGs’ case. D.C. AG Karl Racine pledged to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.
Individual capacity—On Dec. 14, Trump’s personal attorneys appealed the denial of their motion to dismiss the case, also to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. On Dec. 19, the AGs replied to Trump’s motion for a stay pending that appeal by voluntarily dismissing the claims against Trump in his “individual capacity to allow the claims against President Trump in his official capacity to move forward expeditiously.” (The AGs only brought suit against Trump in his individual capacity after the judge suggested they do so.) Trump’s personal attorneys, on Dec. 21, opposed the motion to dismiss at the district level, saying the appeals court now has jurisdiction and accusing the AGs of “gamesmanship.”
Democratic senators and representatives’ emoluments lawsuit—On Sept. 28, Judge Emmet G. Sullivan ruled that the legislators have standing to sue. Trump’s Justice Department attorneys filed an interlocutory appeal on Oct. 22. On Jan. 30, 2019, the plaintiffs’ filed a notice of supplemental authority, notifying the court of the GSA inspector general’s report that criticized GSA for failing to consider if the Trump Hotel D.C.’s lease was in compliance with the Constitution after Trump became president. Two days later, the president’s attorneys argued that the IG’s conclusion was not inconsistent with Trump’s argument, but that the judge should ignore that report anyway because the IG has no expertise in interpreting or applying the foreign emoluments clause. On April 30, Sullivan denied Trump’s motion to dismiss the suit. The president’s attorneys have a supplemental brief due on May 28.
CREW et. al’s emoluments lawsuit—In February 2018, CREW appealed its suit being dismissed for lack of standing to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Oral arguments on that motion were held on Oct. 30.
Cork’s unfair competition lawsuit—Judge Richard J. Leon dismissed the case on Nov. 26, 2018, writing “Cork has failed to state a claim for unfair competition under D.C. law.” On Dec. 10, Cork’s attorneys filed a notice of appeal and on Jan. 10, 2019 they submitted a statement of issues to be raised. A briefing schedule was set on March 5 with Cork’s brief due on April 15, the president’s brief due on May 15, and Cork’s reply to the president’s brief due on June 5. On April 11, however, Cork’s attorneys requested a 30-day extension, to which Trump’s attorneys consented—as did the court the following day.
Employees’ class-action suit alleging racial discrimination—Two of the three plaintiffs did not appear at a status hearing on Jan. 25, 2019; their cases were moved to arbitration. Via email, their attorney, A.J. Dhali, said his clients did not appear at the hearing because their case already had been moved to arbitration last year. The next status hearing is scheduled for Oct. 4.
Health inspections, current status (latest change, Aug. 10, 2018)
❌Hotel: five violations on May 7, 2018; two were corrected on site
❌BLT Prime and Benjamin Bar: nine violations on Aug. 10, 2018
❌Sushi Nakazawa: two violations on Aug. 10, 2018
✔️Banquet kitchen: no violations on Aug. 10, 2018
❌Pastry kitchen: two violations on Aug. 10, 2018
✔️Gift shop: no violations on May 7, 2018
❌Employee kitchen and in-room dining: five violations on Aug. 10, 2018; two were corrected on site
Is the Trump Organization selling merchandise that depicts the White House? (latest change, March 21, 2019)
One thing that (probably) has nothing to do with Trump’s businesses
“Opinion: It’s time to break up Facebook” by Chris Hughes for The New York Times
Thanks for reading. If you like what you saw, tell someone—and support this work by becoming a member. If you’ve been forwarded this newsletter, subscribe for yourself at zacheverson.substack.com. Questions? Read our FAQ/manifesto. Tips or feedback? Contact me, Zach Everson, securely via email at 1100Pennsylvania@protonmail.com or on Signal at 202.804.2744.