The Associated Press reports today that GOP presidential hopeful Donald Trump asked a man who was once involved in a major Mafia-linked stock fraud scheme to be a senior business adviser to the Trump real-estate empire.
AP reports that Sater pleaded guilty in 1998 to one count of racketeering for his role in a $40 million stock fraud scheme involving the Genovese and Bonanno mafia families.
Five years before his financial crime conviction, Sater got a year in prison in 1993 for stabbing a man’s face with a broken margarita glass.
From the AP's report:
Portions of Trump's relationship with Felix Sater, a convicted felon and government informant, have been previously known. Trump worked with the company where Sater was an executive, Bayrock Group LLC, after it rented office space from the Trump Organization as early as 2003. Sater's criminal history was effectively unknown to the public at the time, because a judge kept the relevant court records secret and Sater altered his name. When Sater's criminal past and Mafia links came to light in 2007, Trump distanced himself from Sater.
But less than three years later, Trump renewed his ties with Sater. Sater presented business cards describing himself as a senior adviser to Donald Trump, and he had an office on the same floor as Trump's own office in New York's Trump Tower, The Associated Press learned through interviews and court records.
Trump said during an AP interview on Wednesday that he recalled only bare details of Sater.
"Felix Sater, boy, I have to even think about it," Trump said, referring questions about Sater to his staff. "I'm not that familiar with him."
According to Trump lawyer Alan Garten, Sater's role was to prospect for high-end real estate deals for the Trump Organization. The arrangement lasted six months, Garten said.