For starters, did Donald Trump Jr. really not recognize the danger here? Does he think the Russian government does much that Vladimir Putin and the FSB doesn’t know about? At any point, did it ever cross his mind that he might be stepping into a blackmail plot on the part of the FSB?
And why didn’t it disturb, bother, worry, or unnerve him to hear that the Russian government was “supporting” his father? Vladimir Putin is not any American’s “friend.” He doesn’t just want to help. He’s not a nice guy, and he never gives something away for free. Whatever kind motivations he may appear to have at a given moment, his nature, ambitions, worldview, and modus operandi does not change. Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes: “I fear the Greeks, even when they bring gifts.” <Source>
But this is not the first time Donny has screwed up big time and failed to vet someone …
In the spring of 2006, the tycoon hosted a glitzy event at Trump Tower to introduce Trump Mortgage LLC, a new firm that specialized in selling residential and commercial real estate loans. He devoted a floor of the Trump Organization headquarters at 40 Wall Street to the new business. And his picture appeared atop the company website with the instruction: “Talk to My Mortgage Professionals now!”
“I think it’s a great time to start a mortgage company,” Trump told a CNBC interviewer in April 2006, adding that “the real estate market is going to be very strong for a long time to come.”
Within 18 months, as the experts’ worst fears began to pan out and home prices began to dip, Trump Mortgage closed, leaving some bills unpaid and a spotty sales record that fell short of Trump’s lofty predictions. Trump distanced himself from the firm’s demise, saying at the time that he had not been involved in the company’s management and that its executives had performed poorly. <Source>
Classic Trump … take credit for the winners and disavow and disparage the losers.
But there is another facet of the story that points directly at Donny Jr. …
Trump’s handpicked chief executive, E.J. Ridings, was similarly upbeat, boasting in interviews that the new company “would own New York” and expand to all 50 states, offering residential and commercial mortgages. Trump had been introduced to Ridings through his son Donald Jr., who at the time oversaw development and acquisitions for the Trump Organization. <Source>
In interviews with Money and on his company's Web site, Ridings has made a number of false or misleading claims about his professional experience. Last week, following inquiries by Money into Ridings' background, Trump Mortgage altered its Web site, removing some of the claims it contained about Ridings' past employment.
First, Ridings' initial bio stated that before joining the company he was "a top executive at one of Wall Street's most prestigious investment banks."
Second, the bio had said that Ridings was an "established leader" at one of New York's leading mortgage boutiques.
Third, the bio said he had 15 years of experience in the financial industry.
All three claims appear to be false, according to regulatory documents obtained by Money and interviews with former colleagues of Ridings.
Ridings, 42, has never been a top professional on Wall Street. Ridings, in an interview with Money in September, said the "top-executive" reference in his bio refers to an 18-month period in which he was a retail stock broker at Morgan Stanley.
But even that is a significant stretching of the truth. According to documents from the New York State Attorney General's office, Ridings worked at Morgan Stanley's brokerage subsidiary Dean Witter Reynolds in the fall of 1998 for less than three months. During that time, he was a registered broker for six days before leaving the firm.
A spokeswoman at Morgan Stanley confirmed that Ridings worked for the firm's brokerage division briefly in the fall of 1998, but would not comment on how or why Ridings left the firm. The spokeswoman declined to comment on what Ridings' role was at Morgan Stanley or whether he could have risen to a "top executive" in his three-month tenure.
In response to questions from Money, Ridings said that the Attorney General's office is mistaken but did not give any evidence to refute the Attorney General's records.
Ridings is also inflating his position in the mortgage industry. According to former colleagues, Ridings was a relatively minor player at the mortgage boutique GuardHill Financial, where he worked from June 2003 to April 2005.
Jan Scheck, who Ridings listed as his supervisor on documents he filed with the New York State Banking Department, said Ridings held an entry-level position at the firm, and was one of 40 loan originators. Scheck ended up being hired by Ridings at Trump Mortgage as national sales manager, but left the firm this year after his one-year contract was up.
Steven Schnall, who for 14 years has been head of New York-based New York Mortgage Company, one of the largest mortgage companies in the area, says he had never heard of Ridings before Trump launched his company.
Ridings maintains he was a leader at GuardHill.
Through a spokesperson, Ridings said his former colleagues "may be seeking to undermine E.J.'s present day success."
What about those 15 years of experience in the financial industry? According to documents obtained by Money from the New York State Banking Department, Ridings' first job in the financial services industry was his brief time as a broker at Morgan Stanley in late 1998. The documents also say he was a day trader for two years, and worked at subprime lending firm Equity Funding for one year before joining GuardHill.
Where Ridings does have a fair amount of experience is in the nutritional supplement business. In the mid-1990s, he founded a company that sold a variety of vitamins and health drinks. Before that, Ridings owned a cleaning service. Ridings, through a spokesperson, says his 15 years of experience includes the "financial industry experience within his own companies that he founded earlier in his career." <Source>
With all the security and advisors surrounding Donald Trump, how is it that nobody vetted this huckster? Or did Donald Trump see a kindred spirit that looked good, sounded good, and was properly deferential and sycophantic.
Third time is a charm?
Donald Trump Jr. started Titan Atlas in 2010 with a friend, Jeremy Blackburn, who served as the company’s chief executive. A few years earlier, Mr. Blackburn acknowledged while settling an unrelated lawsuit that he had been part of a scheme to defraud a businessman who claimed he had lost $1 million. He recently claimed that he did nothing wrong.
In late 2011, Deutsche Bank made a $3.65 million loan to Titan Atlas that was co-signed by Donald Trump Jr. However, Mr. Blackburn soon declared personal bankruptcy, and when Deutsche Bank sought in 2014 to collect on the loan, Mr. Trump faced paying back a larger share.
In 2014, his father, now the president-elect, formed a new Trump Organization affiliate called D B Pace, which took over a $3.65 million bank loan made to Titan Atlas with the property as security.
Donald J. Trump, in bailing his eldest son out of a business deal gone bad, may have gotten something unexpected in return — a costly environmental cleanup. At issue is a six-acre factory site in North Charleston, S.C., that was once owned by Titan Atlas Manufacturing, an industrial venture that Donald Trump Jr. helped to start and that ceased operating in 2012.
A lawyer for the Trump Organization, Alan Garten, said the younger Mr. Trump was only a “passive investor” in Titan Atlas and was never involved with D B Pace or the management of the North Charleston property. <Source>
Another dodgy friend of Donald Trump Jr. and another business gone bad.
Bottom line …
Donald Trump, Jr. should have no official or unofficial role to play in governmental affairs. One, because of Daddy issues and his continuing attempt to gain the attention and favor of his father. Two, because both his sister, Ivanka, and her husband, Jared Kushner, will always suck the oxygen out of the room. And third, I cannot find any evidence that Junior has any core values or even knowledge of the U.S. Constitution. As far as I can tell his loyalty is to his father rather than to his country.
We are so screwed when amateurs have serious official or unofficial roles in our government.
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius