The Trump/Russia Series: Follow the $$$ (1987 to 2001)

By Darrell Roberts

Welcome to the first installment of the Trump/Russia series. This six-part series will focus on relevant matters and people involved in the Trump/Russia saga.

The first column in the series will utilize a timeline of known economic ties between Trump and Russia from 1987-2001. Important events will also be included to provide additional clarity. Then the data will be deciphered in a six-part analysis.

1987: Donald Trump visits Moscow during the USSR days. Meanwhile, the Russia markets are favorable for a large number of gangs and opportunists to acquire vast amounts of cash wealth.

1991: Trump files his first Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

26 December 1991: The USSR collapsed and the Russian Federation is born. Privatization of Russian state-run enterprises allows the enormously successful entrepreneurs to gain influence. A select few are able to purchase formerly run government businesses relying upon their massive amounts of cash they had acquired. This action leads to the rise of a few powerful oligarchs.

1992: Trump files his second-fourth Chapter 11 bankruptcies: number two is for Trump Castle, number three is for The Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino (both in Atlantic City) and the fourth bankruptcy is for the Plaza Hotel in New York.

1996: Trump makes known his desire to establish his business within Russia; he also files to trademark his brand.

1998: Russia experienced vast calamity. Russia’s economic market crashes and the ruble tumbles. Russia also endures its worst grain yield in 45-years. The distress within Russia leads the wealthy and the oligarchs to move their money out of Russia. Coincidentally, the groundbreaking of Trump World Tower occurs in New York.

December 1999: Boris Yeltsin resigns six months early, Vladamir Putin becomes acting President.

March 2000: Putin wins Russia’s presidential election.

2001: Big money from Russia pours into the newly opened Trump World Tower to include the unusual activity of one Sam Kislin. This would be the only public record of Mr. Kislin issuing individual multi-million dollar mortgages for apartments within the Trump World Tower. Previously, Kislin had been a subject of 1990s FBI investigations to alleged mob ties, money laundering of Russian money–but he was never charged. In addition, he also was a fundraiser for Rudy Giuliani’s New York City mayoral campaign. Mr. Kislin had also been a partner of Tamir Sapir. In 1976, Donald Trump purchased two hundred televisions from Kislin/Sapir’s electronic store. Sapir would later become a successful real estate developer partnering with Trump and the Bayrock Group to develop Trump Soho, New York (completed in 2008).

Also in 2001: Gil and Michael Dezer-develop a Trump condo project in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida claiming ”Russians love Trump” brand. From 2001-2007, 200 of the 2,000 units they built for Trump were bought by Russia or Russian Americans.

Also #2 in 2001: Michael Cohen purchases his first Trump apartment at Trump World Tower. Soon after, Mr. Cohen would become Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer. Furthermore, Mr. Cohen’s Ukrainian in-laws would purchase two Trump World Tower units and one unit in Sunny Isles, Florida.

Six Analyses from 1987-2001:

  1. Trump’s business interest in Russia dates back at least 30-years.
  2. Trump’s first bankruptcy coincides with the fall of the USSR.
  3. Trump’s subsequent bankruptcies (numbers two through four) make him a grave risk for US investors.
  4. However, after 1998 calamity strikes Russia, Trump’s US businesses become attractive to the newly empowered oligarchs looking to invest their money outside of Russia.
  5. After Putin is elected, big money is infused into Trump developments in both New York and Florida.
  6. Donald Trump has powerful Russian connections to include Sam Keslin, Tamir Sapir, Gil and Michael Dezer. This even includes his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen’s wealthy in-laws from the former USSR (Ukraine).

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