"She's Got the Biggest Set of Balls In The Room"
What Will Trump's Former Heir-Apparent, Ivanka, Say in Court About The Family Business?
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There’s fever-pitch speculation over what Ivanka Trump will say about the Trump Organization. Her father and her brothers are accused, civilly, of fraud. Scheduled to testify tomorrow, she’s there as a fact-witness. She was dismissed from the case earlier this year, for timing reasons (she left the organization in 2017, so the New York State appeals court ruled that the Attorney General’s suit was filed too late after that date to be applicable to her).
In case the lawyers are not up to speed, below is an excerpt from Kushner, Inc that details exactly what Ivanka did while she was employed at the Trump Organization. Even I had forgotten the details of the deals she negotiated with shady foreign partners. (The kids were incentivized by their dad to bring in their own ventures.) Hard to believe she won’t be asked about some of these.
In fact, her work in the family business impressed her father so much that he believed she ought to be the one to ultimately lead it. His one time Organization senior advisor, Felix Sater told him: “She’s got the biggest set of balls in the room.”
Now, of course, there’s a question as to whether or not there will even be a meaningful business to hand off to any of his kids. Which has driven Trump completely nuts. To my eye, he seems to be far more overtly upset about this civil case than about the three criminal ones.
Possibly that’s partly because this case strikes at the heart of who, under all the bluster, he really is. In 2013 Ivanka told me that even though she was proud of how her father had morphed into a polymath businessman, (it was the era of The Apprentice) Trump himself was most proud of being “a builder.”
But, as you’ll read, he “built” less and less when his children entered the business. The company focused on licensing deals with foreign partners.
And as Ivanka heads to court, it’s perhaps worth remembering that at the Trump Organization, like most New York real estate businesses, very little, if anything, got written down. Which is, of course, convenient:
They did not write memos or budgets or project costs. In fact, they did not even keep files. The children would simply meet with a prospective partner and then stroll into their father’s office, tell him about the deal, and he’d make a decision. Whoever brought the project in would oversee it to completion (or, as would often be the case, to its demise).