Schaden, meet Freude

Everything the Shitgibbon touches turns to…well, merde:

Late last year, in a Miami conference room, a consultant for President Trump’s company said business at his prized 643-room Doral resort was in sharp decline.

At Doral, which Trump has listed in federal disclosures as his biggest moneymaker hotel, room rates, banquets, golf and overall revenue were all down since 2015. In two years, the resort’s net operating income — a key figure, representing the amount left over after expenses are paid — had fallen by 69 percent.

But what about that Trump economic boom? Alas:

Even in a vigorous economy, the property was missing the Trump Organization’s internal business targets; for instance, the club expected to take in $85 million in revenue in 2017 but took in just $75 million.

And what could be the reason that a venerable, once-much-admired, landmark property would do so poorly?

“They are severely underperforming” other resorts in the area, tax consultant Jessica Vachiratevanurak told a Miami-Dade County official in a bid to lower the property’s tax bill. The reason, she said: “There is some negative connotation that is associated with the brand.”

I have never met Ms. Vachiratevarunak, but I already admire her greatly. That last line? Olympic-level shade.

The WaPo article linked above is full of similar delights:

On one recent weekday in Miami, the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort and Spa — a top competitor of Doral’s — was bustling with families eating dinner and children playing in the pool.

A few miles away, Trump’s Doral was shining, spotless and heavily branded. The Trump name was on chocolate bars ($5) and shot glasses ($10), and even on the paper inserts at the bottom of the bathroom wastebaskets.

But it was also much quieter.

Carl Goldstein — a retired butcher, visiting as part of a Passover tour group — had the lobby almost to himself.

It turns out that racism and viciousness drive away sponsors and guests? Whodathunkit?

TL:DR Incompetent grifter’s grift cracks.

This thread…it is open.

Image: Jan Steen, Dancing Peasants at an Inn1646








Monday Morning Open Thread: Building the Grift Waaaahl


 

The now-famous border wall GoFundMe was conceived by Purple Heart recipient Brian Kolfage, who wrote at the time he was upset by “too many illegals . . . taking advantage of the United States taxpayers,” and the “political games from both parties” when it came to border security. Kolfage, a triple amputee, pressed onward despite falling short of his $1 billion goal — launching a nonprofit to build portions of the wall on private land for a “fraction of what it costs the government.”

While the majority of donors continue to believe in Kolfage’s efforts, the nonprofit’s clandestine operations and assurances of progress are insufficient for others. Some have taken to social media, seeking photos, videos — anything — for evidence they aren’t being misled…

Reporting on the apparent lack of progress on the private wall, published early Friday by the Daily Beast, drew criticism from Kolfage. The veteran called out the story’s author, Will Sommer, who indicated he’s repeatedly asked Kolfage for proof they were close to a groundbreaking.

“Omg this is PERFECT timing by the liberal rag news site. They are about to look more stupid than @hillaryclinton on election night 2016!” Kolfage wrote. “I guaranteed we would build the wall . . . and I’ll leave it at that!”

Kolfage did not respond to an email and message from The Washington Post requesting comment Friday. While the nonprofit has floated various groundbreaking dates in the past, it’s not exactly clear when, or if, construction will begin…

This might be excused as a classic example of a well-intentioned amateur getting involved with something beyond his capacity to execute, except… Kolfage’s prior record is less than reassuring. Per NYMag:

As the Daily Beast reports, Kolfage “was a prolific operator of hoax pages on Facebook, and money he raised in the past to help veterans’ programs in hospitals never actually went to those hospitals.” The vet, who lost three of his limbs in a rocket attack in Iraq in 2004, founded sites including FreedomDaily, which ran headlines like “Obnoxious Black People Lose Their Minds When Victoria Secret Models Say This 1 Word On Live Video.” The site was shuttered after it was sued for misidentifying a Michigan resident as the driver of the car that killed a protestor in the Charlottesville riot.
Read more








Thursday Morning Open Thread: Cash Hues Everything Around Them, Seemingly

C.H.E.A.T.S! While our attention was otherwise engaged…

Bess Levin, at Vanity Fair, Fire Up the Shredders: Trump Family Sues Deutsche Bank to Keep Shady Finances Under Wraps:

The New York Times reports that Trump, Don Jr., Ivanka, Eric, and the Trump Organization filed a federal lawsuit late Monday against Deutsche Bank and Capital One, in an effort to stop the banks from responding to congressional subpoenas. In the suit, the president’s family and his private business—which he continues to profit from while running the country—argue that the House committees that issued the demands for information are engaging in a political fishing expedition. “This case involves congressional subpoenas that have no legitimate or lawful purpose,” the suit reads. “The subpoenas were issued to harass President Donald J. Trump, to rummage through every aspect of his personal finances, his businesses and the private information of the president and his family, and to ferret about for any material that might be used to cause him political damage. No grounds exist to establish any purpose other than a political one.”

The subpoenas in question were issued by the House Intelligence and Financial Services Committees roughly two weeks ago, demanding information about the German lender’s famous client, as well as documents related to “possible money-laundering by people in Russia and Eastern Europe.” In a joint statement, Representative Maxine Waters, the chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee, and Representative Adam Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, called the lawsuit “meritless,” saying it showed “the depths to which President Trump will go to obstruct Congress’s constitutional oversight authority. . . . As a private businessman, Trump routinely used his well-known litigiousness and the threat of lawsuits to intimidate others, but he will find that Congress will not be deterred from carrying out its constitutional responsibilities. This lawsuit is not designed to succeed; it is only designed to put off meaningful accountability as long as possible.”

If the president appears concerned about the prospect of Deutsche Bank telling lawmakers everything it knows about his financial history, it’s probably because he should be. Last month, a lengthy story by reporter David Enrich provided some insight on the relationship between the perennial bankruptcy artist and the German bank; the latter apparently had “a ravenous appetite for risk,” which meant it was happy to lend money to Trump when no one else on Wall Street would get within 200 feet of him, and to go along with his vast financial lies. For instance, in 2004, Trump asked the bank’s commercial real-estate group to lend him more than $500 million to build his 92-story skyscraper in Chicago; it did, but not before employees concluded he was majorly inflating his net worth, and were told he’d “worked with people in the construction industry connected to organized crime.” Ten years later, when Trump was trying to buy the Buffalo Bills and needed to prove to the league he had the funds to pull off a transaction that could exceed $1 billion, the bank agreed to vouch that his worth was $8.7 billion. His former fixer, Michael Cohen, told lawmakers this was an (obvious, extreme) exaggeration back in February…


Read more








Late-Night Movies Open Thread: Scammers All the Way Down (The Theranos Grift)

I haven’t paid much attention to the Theranos scandal, because marketing a literal version of the classic Magical Money Box con to Silicon valley ‘edgelords’ hardly seemed innovative. Of course they knew it was almost certainly fraudulent, but like the medieval barons buying papal indulgences, just getting the offer was a mark of social status (to these marks.). And they figured they could always leverage it regardless, by selling the deed to a more gullible investor, or one looking to them for a favor.

(Besides, most ‘educated’ Americans know as much about medicine / medical technology as a feudal lord knew about actual Catholic theology. Throw your money in the offertory basket at Easter and Christmas, and be proud you can afford to pay for a private pew!)

Getting Henry Fekkin’ Kissinger hooked into her grift, though — that’s genuine craftsmanship. Like having the Papal nucio put his personal seal on those prettily-illuminated parchments…

A review, from Matt Zoller Seitz at RogerEbert.com:

Theranos sounds like a creature of myth, and in the end, that’s what the company was. Appealing to the common fear of having blood drawn invasively in large amounts, Holmes spun an enticing pitch about building a compact, portable analysis machine named after Thomas Edison and able to perform 200 different kinds of tests quickly, using a pinprick’s worth of blood. Holmes styled herself as a Mozart-caliber wunderkind. She started her company when she was barely old enough to drink. Within a matter of years, it employed 800 people and was valued at $10 billion.

Unfortunately, Holmes’ machine couldn’t do what she promised. She wasn’t a scientist, and her own experts had warned her that it was physically impossible to build the device she’d envisioned. …
Read more








Open Thread: Sanders Family Grift Realizes It Can’t Withstand Public Scrutiny

Yes, I am a mean petty little person:

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — The Sanders Institute, a think tank founded by Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ wife and son, is shutting down, at least for now, amid criticism that the nonprofit has blurred the lines between family, fundraising and campaigning.

The Vermont-based institute has stopped accepting donations and plans to suspend all operations by the end of May “so there could not even be an appearance of impropriety,” Jane Sanders told The Associated Press.

The unexpected move by the institute’s board of directors comes as Bernie Sanders, a leading candidate for the 2020 Democratic nomination, prepares for a wave of intense scrutiny into his political network and his family’s role in its operation.

As a candidate in 2016, Sanders criticized Hillary Clinton over her family’s nonprofit, saying the foundation run by Clinton’s husband and daughter amounted to a back door for foreign leaders and others seeking to buy access and influence. The Sanders Institute could open the Vermont senator to charges of hypocrisy.
Read more