Since the Southern District of New York has upped their investigation and possible charges against many involved in the Donald Trump inauguration committee, the event has been back in the news. The inauguration has long been under scrutiny for many reasons, most of which involve shady financial dealings.
New reports claim that a friend of Melania Trump who planned the inauguration tried to report multiple red flags involving the alleged corruption and shady dealings, and was ignored.
Emily Jane Fox with Vanity Fair reports that Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former Vogue staffer and New York City event planner, was hired to plan Donald Trump’s inauguration.
People familiar with the recordings made by former Trump “fixer” Michael Cohen say that Wolkoff is captured telling Cohen last summer that she had many concerns with the process that unfolded with the inauguration.
“Cohen let Wolkoff know that, among other documents and recordings, the F.B.I. had seized hours of their own conversations that he had taped. According to people familiar with the recordings, some of the taped conversations dealt directly with the inauguration. In them, Wolkoff detailed her own contemporaneous concerns with the inauguration—about how money was being spent, the general chaos of the process, and the involvement of Trump’s adult children. During these conversations, Wolkoff also raised her issues with the two men in charge of the committee: Gates and Barrack.”
According to Cohen, those recordings were seized by the FBI, which led (at least in part) to the SDNY’s investigation into Trump’s inauguration that Wolkoff is now involved in.
Wolkoff raised concerns about conflicts of interest coming from the Trump family businesses’ involvement in the inauguration planning.
Fox wrote, “Gates approached a couple individuals working on the inauguration and asked if they would be willing to be paid directly for their work by a donor, rather than by the inaugural committee.”
“They had received more donations than they’d initially anticipated, Gates told these people,” the report noted. “Skirting the usual payment route could allow the inaugural committee to avoid reporting the full amount raised from donors.”
Wolkoff raised concerns about the deputy chair with Melania Trump, saying that “he exacerbated a situation already fraught with potential conflicts of interest.” After questioning things, Wolkoff was left out of meetings soon after.
“Because part of her responsibilities included reviewing all budgets from her vendors and presenting them to other members of the inaugural committee, she studied the line items in order to be able to explain them,” Fox wrote. “At points, she could not justify the numbers coming in. After circulation of a quote from one of their largest event-production vendors, Hargrove LLC, Wolkoff was shocked that no one in the organization appeared willing to question the figures.”
In an email to Barrack and her staff on December 31, 2016, Wolkoff said bluntly:
“I am DISGUSTED by [Hargrove’s] lack of transparency and entitlement to [the Presidential Inaugural Committee’s] funding,” she wrote. “I can not approve any budget line items because I do not have a clue what these numbers represent!!”
This is certainly a microcosm of the entire Trump business, family, campaign, and administration. They have an absolutely non-existent relationship with ethics, morality and the truth.