Ever since winning the Republican nomination, the majority of President Donald Trump's companies' real estate sales have gone to shell companies that conceal the buyers' identities. USA TODAY
Pedestrians pass the Trump Park Avenue building Tuesday, May 31, 2016, in New York.(Photo: Frank Franklin II, AP)
USA TODAY is tracking each time someone buys a U.S. property from one of President Trump's companies, particularly real estate deals that involve limited liability companies that can shield the identity of all of the owners involved.
To catalog the identity of buyers, reporters have searched public records, including deeds, mortgages and incorporation records in several states and Canada as part of an ongoing investigation into Trump's real estate sales. They have made dozens of phones calls, traveled across the country and worked with a Chinese translator.
Here's what we know so far about those who've bought properties since last summer:
>Most Trump real estate now sold to secretive buyers
Intrinsic Real Estate Holdings LLC purchased a condo in Las Vegas in June for $276,000. The company was formed just days before the purchase in Nevada by David G. Platt. The address listed for the company is a private mailbox and a nearby Las Vegas condo recently purchased by another LLC. The LLC, Karlsson Property Holdings, was created by Platt. Public records show Platt owns a P.O. box and home in Newport Beach, Calif. Efforts to reach Platt have been unsuccessful.
Venture Magic LLC purchased a condo in Las Vegas in May for $295,000. Venture Magic is a Nevada company formed by Shu-Ling Huang just before the purchase was made with a post office box listed for tax paperwork. Huang registered a company mailing address at a home in San Jose, Calif. Publically listed phone numbers for Huang were disconnected.
>Trump condos worth $250 million pose potential conflict
LeBlanc Investments LLC purchased a condo in Las Vegas in May for $511,000. LeBlanc is an Arizona company formed by Marc Letellier, a neurosurgeon in Mesa, Ariz. The address used for the LLC is associated with a home in Apache Junction, owned by Marjad LLC, which was also formed by Letellier, according to state records. Letellier did not respond to requests for an interview.
Congratulations to our newest owner on their TWO 41st floor, Strip-view Studio residences! Welcome to Trump!— Trump Vegas Condos (@TrumpCondosLV) April 24, 2017
2 L Nevada LLC bought two condos in Las Vegas in April for $260,000 each. Incorporation paperwork in Nevada lists no officers for the company, but lists a post office box in Kelowna
, a city in British Columbia, Canada. Records in Canada show the post office box is used by a medical marijuana firm. Calls to that firm led to Brian Lovig, who said he is not involved in the marijuana business. Lovig said two properties were purchased as an investment for a family trust and the LLC was created on advice of a trust manager. Lovig operates Right Edition, a conservative opinion website on Canadian politics. "The reason they [purchased is] because the arithmetic worked,” Lovig said. “Certainly buying a few units in a hotel isn’t going to make the president jump circles.”
Valpo Holdings LLC and Malm Holdings LLC bought two condos in Las Vegas in April for $255,000 each. Incorporation paperwork in Nevada shows the two companies were created with an office building address in Miami. That address was used by other shell corporations,
JOYP Holdings LLC and
Galiz Holdings LLC, to purchase two other units in the building in 2016. The company behind all four of the shells is Black Tulip Organization. Benoit Pous Bertran, president of the group, has been involved in the purchase of several properties from the Trump Organization over the past decade
and told reporters that the investment properties each get their own LLC for accounting purposes. “We are not trying to hide anything,” Pous Bertran said. Black Tulip bought another condo from Trump's Vegas project last week, using a fifth LLC.
Victoria Harbor Investment LLC bought two condos in Las Vegas for $245,000 and $240,000 in March and April. Incorporation records in Nevada list two officers for the company, Wanjuan Huan and Haiyan Xu. Their address is a private mailbox rental in Las Vegas. Calls to numbers listed for the pair were not answered.
LAT Homes LLC and Author Homes LLC purchased two homes in Los Angeles for $6.2 million in April. Bestselling author Subir Chowdhury signed articles of organization to form the LLCs, which are filed with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. In an interview, Chowdhury said he did not wish to be identified in connection with the purchases, and that he has high regard for The Trump Organization. One of his companies also owns a mansion adjacent to the two new lots. “I don’t want somebody to know that I’m the owner of those properties,” he told a reporter.
Fashion Drive LLC bought one condo in Las Vegas for $639,000 in January. Incorporation records in New York and sale records list a post office box in New Hartford, NY. That company is owned by Ivan Antonevich, a pain physician. Antonevich did not respond to multiple interview requests.>
The shimmering golden hotel-condo development rises above the Vegas skyline, a partnership between President Trump and real estate mogul Phil Ruffin. (Photo: Nick Penzenstadler, USA TODAY)
LV Hotel Group LLC bought one condo in Las Vegas for $250,000 in December. The company is incorporated in Nevada, but uses a neighboring address within the Vegas tower for its tax bills. That unit is owned by Steven Ting-Tar Wu. Calls to numbers listed for Wu were not returned.
SNJ Properties LLC bought one condo in Las Vegas for $450,000 in December. Incorporation records in New York list the company’s address as the same as Irwin Contracting on Long Island. Public phone records led reporters to Susan and John Irwin, owners of the companies and property. When contacted, John Irwin said politics didn’t have anything to do with his second investment purchase in the tower.
100 CPS Realty Inc. purchased an apartment unit at a Trump building in Manhattan in December 2016 for $2.5 million. New York State corporation records do not specify who owns 100 CPS Realty Inc. USA TODAY journalists tracked the purchase to the Vancouver real estate business of Anna Asi, by reviewing signatures on other documents filed with New York City. Among the records bearing her signature: a smoke detector affidavit. In an interview, Asi said the paperwork behind the purchase, including the use of the LLC, was handled by her attorney.
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Cape Point LLC bought a building lot along Trump National Golf Course from the President's company, VHPS LLC, for $1.5 million in November 2016. The company's only officer is not a human being, but another company: First American Exchange Co. But the company's address in Irvine, Calif., is the same one listed for Anthony Alosi, the only person who signed various forms with the California Secretary of State. He listed himself in different paperwork as both the company's registered agent and its vice president. Alosi did not respond to reporters' inquiries.>
The search for the owners of Milan Investment Limited, the secretive buyers of 11 Trump condos in Vegas, led reporters to the owners' other properties in Vancouver condo. (Photo: Si Chen, for USA TODAY)
Milan Investment Limited Corp. paid $3.1 million to purchase 11 Vegas condos from the President’s company in two batches, in July and October of 2016. The quest to find the people behind the purchase included a false address for Milan, a six-figure mortgage signed by a Texas woman who was not one of the company’s listed officers and knocking on doors of several other residential and investment properties in Canada, and Houston. USA TODAY spent months trying to find the couple listed as officers for the company – Jun Xu and Qi Huang. Reporters called all available phone numbers, sent registered mail and visited all of their other property addresses in Canada and Texas. A doorman at one condo said he believes the family’s relatives live there, and promised to pass a note to them. A guard at the other tower said he didn’t know who lived in the condo, but also said he would pass along a hand-delivered message. So far, Xu and Huang have not responded. Reporters tracked the woman who signed the loan documents, Chen Huang, to a series of homes in suburban Houston. One of her renters gave reporters her phone number. She hung up when asked about the purchases.
YA8816 LLC bought two condos in Las Vegas for $250,000 in October. The company was formed in Nevada less than two months earlier and its managing members are listed as Frances Regina Aguinaldo and Steven D. Young, who used the same New York address of another company, Stoops & Co. LLC on East 95 St. in New York. The owners did not respond to reporters' inquiries. The same LLC has bought other property in the Vegas area.
Contributing: Rick Jervis reporting from Houston and Si Chen reporting from Vancouver
>7 reasons property buyers use LLCs, from legit to not
Source : https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/06/13/heres-who-behind-llcs-buying-trump-real-estate/102382726/