Why is it that every time someone wants to scam money through some connection to the Trump campaign, they always seem to get started in Florida? Maybe it’s because Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club is a nice place to meet, I really don’t know. But remember those two Russians, Fruman and Parnas, who are going on trial next year for ‘campaign finance violations,’ which is a polite way of saying that they laundered money through the Trump campaign?
Now we have another bunch of scammers who were floating Trump’s name around to stuff their pockets with cash. This bunch includes Steve Bannon, the former domestic-policy adviser to the Trump campaign and then to the White House itself, along with a disabled Florida veteran, Brian Kolfage, and a so-called entrepreneur and Bannon buddy, Andy Badolato, both of whom happen to live somewhere around Tampa Bay.
Badolato is a real piece of work. He’s filed at least 2 personal bankruptcies and has been named as a defendant in at least 23 lawsuits alleging fraud, non-payment for goods and services, the usual stuff. There’s internet talk about child molestation, multiple tax-evasion charges by the Feds, pink-sheet violations, sale of unregistered stock and plenty more.
This particular scam appears to have been the handiwork of Kolfage, who put up a GoFundMe campaign in December, 2018, to raise money to build a piece of the Mexican wall. Using a controlled website to raise money was the first mistake. Note this statement from the GoFundMe website: “Notwithstanding the foregoing, we take possible fraudulent activity and the misuse of funds raised very seriously.” How long did it take for the Florida Attorney General to get interested in this fundraising campaign? Less than one month after the whole thing started up because the donations amounted to more than $17 million in the first week!
The problem facing Kolfage right from the git-go was that he didn’t have any way to either use the money for actually building a section of the wall or of holding the money in some kind of legal, escrow account until someone could be found who would build a section of the wall on private land.
Enter Bannon and Badolato, who evidently took over the entire operation almost from the moment it started and created a not-for-profit corporation which would hold the funds until they were dispersed. Except the monies were actually dispersed into the pockets of Bannon, Badolato and Kolfage to the tune of several million dollars, including covering personal expenses and a $20,000-monthly salary to laundered by Bannon to Kolfage which he never declared. Meanwhile, Kolfage was telling donors both in emails and personal appearances, that every, single penny collected by the campaign was going to be given to contractors who were building the private wall.
Want to enjoy reading about the details behind this scam? You can download the indictment right here.
To his credit, when Trump was asked about the latest indictment of a yet another high-level member of his staff (read: Cohen, Stone, Manafort, Gates, Flynn) he not only denied any connection to the project but said he was against private efforts to build his beloved wall. On the other hand, his idiot son Donnie-boy Junior showed up at a fundraising event held by the group last year and praised the effort as “private enterprise at its finest,” a statement he now claims to no longer believe.
Meanwhile, yesterday Bannon said that the indictment was an attack on “American sovereignty” and another Deep State scam. Tomorrow morning his lawyer will no doubt start negotiating a plea.
I just got an email from the publisher of a new book, Disloyal, which says the book will ship on September 8th. That’s the so-called ‘memoir’ by Michael Cohen. I just pre-ordered the new Woodward tell-all book, Rage, which will ship on September 15th.
As long as Joe holds his lead in the polls (I’ll have more to say about the polls tomorrow) it’s going to be a fun September even as I continue my self-quarantine.