The Smoking Craters Where Trump Deal Brokers Used to Be

Amid the news that DOJ is giving the Gang of Eight another chance to look at sensitive case files on the Russia investigation (some of which they failed to look at in the last briefing), two scoops yesterday should provide far more damning proof of where the “SpyGate” is.

One-time Trump broker Sergei Millian offered Papadopoulos $30,000 a month to partner while working for Trump

First, in a piece that finally recognizes the existence of Ivan Timofeev (yet still hides how George Papadopoulos successfully hid his communications with him through two FBI interviews), Chuck Ross confirms what I had guessed: that Sergei Millian is the contact described in the FBI affidvit about whom Papadopoulos asks for feedback from Timofeev.

Mangiante, an Italian national, confirmed to TheDCNF that Millian is the individual Papadopoulos described in a July 22, 2016 Facebook message that is cited in documents the special counsel’s office released in October.

“On or about July 22, 2016, PAPADOPOULOS messages Foreign Contact 2 on Facebook to ask whether Foreign Contact 2 knew a particular individual with extensive ties to Russian-based businesses and persons,” reads an affidavit released along with Papadopoulos’ guilty plea. “PAPADOPOULOS asked Foreign Contact 2 ‘[i]f you know any background of him that is noteworthy before I see him, kindly send my way.’”

Papadopoulos and Millian met days after the July 22, 2016 Facebook message, said Mangiante, who has recently denied that Papadopoulos was engaged in collusion with Russians.

Mangiante also said that Papadopoulos and Millian met multiple times in Chicago and New York City before the election. In one encounter in Chicago, Millian offered Papadopoulos a substantial sum of money as part of an energy-related business deal.

The catch was that Millian said Papadopoulos would have to remain in the Trump administration while carrying out the work.

The business offer has been previously reported by The New York Times and NBC News. However, Mangiante is providing new details, saying that Millian offered Papadopoulos “$30,000 a month to work as a consultant while with Trump.”

“He refused, of course,” Mangiante said of Papadopoulos.

Interjection: This confirmation should end all the speculation from people examining Mangiante’s apparent flip flop in her public statements about Papadopoulos and seeing a Slavic accent to her statements. Mangiante’s actions are best understood, I think, by understanding that she knows little about US law and how she might best help her spouse, which has led her to respond to the cues of a bunch of sleazy people who have used her unfamiliarity to feed their own narratives or help their own clients (I’m thinking specifically of Victoria Toensing’s client Sam Clovis). But if Mangiante were a Russian spy, there’d be little reason for her to provide evidence that Millian is a Russian operative who sought to handle Papadopoulos and through him Trump’s foreign policy.

That said, Mangiante’s claims about her spouse are unsurprisingly misleading. For example, she has Chuck Ross ignoring the most damning parts of Papadopoulos’ lies to the FBI, as well as his deletion of his Facebook account to hide (among other things) precisely the exchange where Papadopoulos asked Timofeev about Millian. Unsurprisingly, she doesn’t mention that Papadopoulos couldn’t take Millian up on his lucrative deal, because Mike Flynn didn’t last in the National Security Advisor job long enough for him to offer Papadopoulos the job that would have been the prerequisite to accept the offer.

Mr. Millian proposed that he and Mr. Papadopoulos form an energy-related business that would be financed by Russian billionaires “who are not under sanctions” and would “open all doors for us” at “any level all the way to the top.”

One billionaire, he said, wanted to explore the idea of opening a Trump-branded hotel in Moscow. “I know the president will distance himself from business, but his children might be interested,” he wrote.

Nothing came of his proposals, partly because Mr. Papadopoulos was hoping that Michael T. Flynn, then Mr. Trump’s pick to be national security adviser, might give him the energy portfolio at the National Security Council.

The pair exchanged New Year’s greetings in the final hours of 2016. “Happy New Year, sir,” Mr. Papadopoulos wrote.

“Thank you and same to you, George. Happy New Year!” Mr. Flynn responded, ahead of a year that seemed to hold great promise.

But 2017 did not unfold that way. Within months, Mr. Flynn was fired, and both men were charged with lying to the F.B.I. And both became important witnesses in the investigation Mr. Papadopoulos had played a critical role in starting.

This is all the more interesting because (as Glenn Simpson explained to Adam Schiff) Millian has served a function for Trump that — like this Trump Tower deal — provided Trump a way to get loans for his business projects, in this case for Project Hollywood.

MR. SCHIFF: And tell me about the Trump Hollywood project. That was an example of the latter or the former? Did they get the financing from what you could tell because they got a bunch of Russians to pre-sale, or did they go to a bank and say these are our investors, or how did they go about that?

MR. SIMPSON: Well, eventually, I mean, they lost the project. It went under. I, can’t – I’m not – I’m sure we did look at who the creditors were, who the lenders were. This is the project that Sergi Millian appears to have been involved in, and there’s a picture of Jorge Perez, Donald Trump, and Sergi Millian.

And he tells a story about meeting Donald Trump at the golf — at a racetrack, drinking a bottle of Crystal with him, seems — he gave him some Crystal. And that was in the early phases of the project. So it was clear that Donald Trump — so the equity partner was the related group. It was clear that this Russian had been brought into this with Trump, and what you can surmise from that is that he’s there to say there are buyers. We can bring you buyers for this property. And that’s what a developer needs to know is that he’s got buyer interest.

MR. SCHIFF: And how does it work? Let’s say Sergi Millian or someone else lines up the Russian buyers. The Russian buyers sign pre-sale agreements. Trump can then get financing for the res! of the project. Do the buyers go through and buy the properties, or is that no longer necessary, once you’ve obtained the bank financing you can actually sell them to real people?

An architecture firm disappears overnight upon learning Mueller is watching

Keep that model — doing the real estate things that help Trump get loans — in mind when you read this, which I genuinely find to be among the most amazing Russian related stories since the election. In April, acting on a tip, CNBC asked an architect who has worked with Trump on some Eurasian and two American projects, John Fotiadis, about that relationship. Within days, his firm folded.

Between 2007 and 2013, Fotiadis designed all or part of six Trump-branded developments: a Trump Tower in Kazakhstan; a Trump-branded seaside resort in the republic of Georgia; a 47-story Trump Tower in Tbilisi, Georgia; hotel rooms at the Trump Tower in Istanbul; a Trump movie studio complex in Florida; and major portions of the Trump Parc Stamford, a condominium tower in Connecticut.


The McClatchy news service reported in April that Mueller’s probe was looking more closely at the people involved in Trump’s dealings in three countries, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Russia.

Around this time, CNBC received a tip that Fotiadis had worked on several Trump projects in Eurasia. Curious about his professional relationship with Trump, CNBC reached out to Fotiadis on April 11 for comment about this work.

Fotiadis did not respond to a call or an email. But eight hours later, he announced on Twitter that he was closing his firm, John Fotiadis Architect, or JFA, after 10 years in business. A few days later, Fotiadis closed the Twitter account he had used to announce he was closing down his firm.

By the end of the week, all the content from Fotiadis’ professional website, including his portfolio, had been removed, leaving only a notesaying he planned to join a New Jersey-based engineering company.

Gone was Fotiadis’ impressive portfolio of 30 projects (some of which are pictured below), including villas, schools and office buildings he has designed for clients around the world. Also gone was any reference to the two overseas branches of JFA that he had opened — in Tbilisi and Kiev, Ukraine.

Admittedly, there’s no evidence to explain what happened here. But it sure has the look of either an intelligence front folding, or someone trying to get out of some really uncomfortable relationships quickly (CNBC describes Fotiadis’ new job with a company that does “car dealerships, self-storage facilities and medical labs,” which would seem to support the latter conclusion).

That said, as CNBC notes, the complex projects of the sort that Trump often use the architect as one key ingredient to bring in big creditors.

“The architect is a key part of the Trump sales pitch when he goes into these countries, and he’s convincing the money guys to give him a branding and development deal,” said Jan deRoos, a Cornell University professor of real estate finance. “The architect is the one who translates the Trump brand into actual design and construction standards.”

Update, July 2020: Fotiadis contacted me to explain that he took down his firm’s site at the request of a new employer.

In June of 2018, she published two articles on me on CNBC’s website and tweeted away – touting her “scoop” for all the world to see and marvel at. You see, around the same time she had tried to contact me (in mid-April of 2018), I took down my Architecture firm’s (JFA’s) social media and website when I was asked to do so by my new employers, with whom I had just come to an agreement for employment. The timing of those two completely separate and unrelated events, may have been unfortunate, but far worse, was exploited by Wilkie in a rather pathetic attempt at self-aggrandizement, so as to create a news story where there was none.

In her tweets Wilkie claimed I “disappeared” and went “MIA” simply because I chose not to respond to her and took my company’s social media down around the same time. In other words Wilkie was trying to falsely claim that somehow her inquiry had forced me to “disappear” or at least “lower my profile”.

He also says he was never contacted by any investigators.

The Agalrov perennial Trump dangle

And these two stories come on top of the Agalarov’s perennial Trump dangle, including for a Trump Tower Moscow. I’m still working on the SJC released files (which are really damning), but the family complained that their years of cultivating Trump crumbled after the June 9 Magnitsky dangle was exposed.

These people — or the people who in turn managed them — exerted and probably still exert tremendous influence over Trump. They all seem to lay out a network of compromise far deeper than we imagined when this all started.

73 replies
  1. Trip says:

    people examining Mangiante’s apparent flip flop in her public statements about Papadopoulos and seeing a Slavic accent to her statements.

    She always seemed to have that accent, never Italian.

  2. earlofhuntingdon says:

    That Papadopoulos used Facebook to communicate with Foreign Contact 2, for example, makes clear that Papa has no more tradecraft than his wife has experience with American criminal law or the kind of high-end manipulators we’re seeing here.

    To be fair, few would, and most of them would be in the business of doing it themselves. But the disconnect gives a glimpse of how much and how heavy the manipulation around these issues is.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    We discussed Fotiadis a bit in the preceding thread.  His new employer seems substantial, but a bit player compared to Fotiadis’s previous global work for the wealthiest developers.  His background looks legit, but he would seem to have a lot of background, in turn, on Trump, Manafort, the Ukraine and Russia.

    That would explain Mueller’s interest in him, since most or all that he knows would not be privileged, but would be detailed.  The architect is a bottleneck through which a lot of large project information flows, including financing, contracting and government relations.

    My impression from the preceding thread was that Kotiadis was getting out of Dodge on the first stage, probably pushed by team Trump, or somebody in a black hat who looks a lot like George Kennedy or Lee Van Cleef.

    Kotiadis would have to be vulnerable for him to give up a top-drawer Manhattan practice for comparatively routine work in northern New Jersey.  That is likely to make him squirm when it comes to answering questions from Mueller.  There’s likely a lot more story here.

    • posaune says:

      Fotiadis was in my M. Arch. class at Columbia.   As I recall, not too competent at structures, especially for joining an engineering firm (ha ha).   Small world, isn’t it?   In undergrad, I knew Alan Futerfas.  I’m guessing I would get dinged from the DC jury pool, huh?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        That comment might make Mueller inquire into how Fotiadis built such a global practice for the world’s wealthiest developers.  Perhaps his specialties were design and sales, not engineering.

        His biggest projects over the last twenty years seem to have been in the US, Middle East and Eastern Europe, at a time when oligarchs were bursting with funds.  Fotiadis needn’t be implicated simply by observing that such projects often attract money that needs laundering.

        • posaune says:

          @ Earl:  “Perhaps his specialties were design and sales, not engineering.”   Undoubtedly.    In addition to kowtowing, likely the prime attraction for the Donald.  

          Notable that for all his world-wide development of high-rise structures, the Trumpeter has NEVER engaged a signature architect (like Gehry, Myers, Maki, Ando, etc.) b/c his ego couldn’t take it.  Of course, Zaha Hadid would have put him in his place entirely — and THAT would have been fun to see.  (sigh — there’ll never be another Zaha — she was unique).

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            I suspect Trump would have never entertained the fees they charge, or the egos that come with them, design quality be damned.  His ego is usually enough to fill each building and he’s a cheap bugger.

            • posaune says:

              Ego and cheap, that’s it.    Come to think of it, (and I may be wrong about this), I don’t recall Trump ever engaging one of the long-standing NYC firms either, like Skidmore, Pei Cobb Freed, Giurgola, BBB, BBW, KPF.  Now I’ll have to go look up the architect of record for Trump Tower.

              Paul Goldberger (then NYT critic) called Trump’s stuff “para-architecture.”     After Trump Tower fire in April, where Todd Brassner died, it turned out the building was still certified under a temporary Certificate of Occupancy.    THAT wouldn’t have happened with Skidmore or equivalent at the helm.   So, exactly HOW did Trump come up with Fotiadis?

              • earlofhuntingdon says:

                “Para-architecture.”  Wonderful.

                The change in clientele and in the drama, size, cost and complexity of projects is what strikes me about Fotiadis’s change of employer.

                Technically within his reach.  But not consistent with running his own shop or his style and salesperson history.  Something more afoot I should think than opting out for a slower life and an easier paycheck.

                • posaune says:

                  So many questions re Fotiadis leap from Kondylis’ shop to a zillion dollar first project in 2009.   Especially considering the extraordinarily harsh architectural environment into which Fotiadis (and I) graduated in NYC in the early 90’s. It was brutal in the wake of the 1987 market crash.   And the Columbia Class of 91 had it the worst.  Almost no one had a full-time job — most hires were per project only (even the UES kitchen renovations).  

                  One thing to note:  the climb to the arch license is different from law where one takes the bar immediately upon graduation typically.   In architecture, the “graduate intern” must work a minimum 3 years “under supervision”  to earn the signature (approval) of a licensed supervising architect who verifies the intern’s experience for each of the 12 sections of the license exam.

                  Now, during recessions this is a formidable challenge when there are no jobs!  It can take quite a few years to accrue the signatures while the young architect hops from firm to firm seeking work.   And it is certainly not unheard of for a young architect to be held hostage waiting for an exam signature.

                  Then, back in those days, there was the exam event itself (36 hours, a 12-hour stretch on the last day).   Held one day per year — in NYC it was at Pier 41, a unique lifetime experience.   Failure of any part meant waiting another year for retest.

                  So, it wouldn’t be illogical to assume that Fotiadis took some years to gain the license, even into the late 90’s, unless Kondylis signed off the bat for him.   But he was at Kodylis’ shop for so long, it seems unlikely.

      • TGuerrant says:

        A lot of the Trump projects he designed never got built, it seems. If you’re not a very competent architect, perhaps that is the most enriching and gratifying fate you can have. Your competence level is shielded and you’re free to move on to the next sketch-a-cool-thing commission.

    • Rusharuse says:

      “Escape from New York” Donald Pleasance as Trump? More movie stuff (per Mika) –Donald John is reportedly “upset” he can’t watch porn in the Whitehouse. Can’t get past the Pornhub “creepy guy” filter?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Maybe the Don should try sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom, alone as usual.  The ghosts of lovers past might give him all the virtual excitement he needs.

        Besides, are you telling me his bodyguard can’t provide him all the media he could possibly watch, without having to use the Internets?  Never should have changed bodyguards.

        • Rusharuse says:

          True! Also, why not just roll down to Stephen Miller’s office, borrow some 30s Weimar classics (plus monocle)? Mebe German Shepherds ain’t Don’s “thing”.

    • Gamboler says:

      The work his new firm does seems to be fitting turnkey retail designs into specific sites and regulatory situations. I had a friend who did this for Costco. Each Costco has to have a bakery, so where within the building envelope should it go? How does parking lot runoff need to be handled in one city or climate versus another? It’s not as sexy as custom design but it’s a complex challenge that pays well. It could be that he traded the headaches of running a boutique business for a steadier paycheck tweaking designs for lucrative and repeatable projects like updating Mercedes dealerships.

  4. Willis Warren says:

    Two thoughts.  All of this is consistent with the theory that tRUmp wasn’t necessarily supposed to win the election, he was just supposed to disrupt it and claim it was rigged.  He gets his hotels, the Russians get to watch Hillary burn.  I don’t think the Russians who cultivated him thought he could win the Republican primary.  They probably would have funded him as an independent.

    Paul Ryan is going to have a hard time holding on until November.  This midnight DOJ report stuff is sketchy as fuck.

    • Bob Conyers says:

      The politics of dealing with Ryan are going to be interesting. In theory it only takes about 120 votes to replace him if the GOP follow the usual path of the majority of the majority decides. However, there are enough “moderates” and retirees who could sit out a vote before the full House and leave the coup leaders in a lurch.

      The safe bet is still on the softer side folding like they always do in the face of unified hardliners. But it’s possible that there will be opportunistic wheelers and dealers in the House who leave things tied up in knots. And I wouldn’t be surprised if Charles Koch and a few other select oligarchs decide that this isn’t the time for a leadership battle that may lose them a few more seats in the House.

    • Frank Probst says:

      If you want to know what Paul Ryan is going to do, ask yourself what Ayn Rand would do.  Their philosophy is pretty much, “I’m on board!  Release the lifeboat!”

      Ryan’s pension/retirement/whatever is based on his last 3 years of salary.  His biggest payout comes if those 3 years end around Halloween.  It’s clean cash, and he would get to go back home.  Yes, he’ll get wingnut welfare from DC when his term is over, but I don’t think he wants to move his family there, so he’ll get less than he would if he stayed in town.  And if the House flips, he gets even less.  And that money’s not a sure thing, at least not to a Rand-ite.  So he’s not leaving unless he’s pushed, and he’s likely already been offered all kinds of things to quit now, and he hasn’t done so.

  5. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I agree that chaos works as well for Putin as Trump in office.  Trump in office just produces more of it.

    Trump is also actively destroying things Putin wants hobbled, two in particular: the American state and western alliances generally, and NATO and the EU, in particular.  Trump is also giving Putin something else, destruction of the idea of such alliances.  That opens the field further to Russian (as well as Chinese) pressure.

    When you needlessly piss off the Canadians, as Trump has with the crudest of ignorance and missteps, there are no sacred alliance cows left.

    • Phil Perspective says:

      Trump is also actively destroying things Putin wants hobbled, two in particular: the American state and western alliances generally, and NATO and the EU, in particular.


      The United States’ own oligarchs are doing the first well enough themselves.  Did you see Howard Schultz’s comments the other day?  Or Pelosi’s regarding Pay-Go?  Second, Merkel, the ECB and others are doing plenty on their own to ruin the EU.  Are Macron, Merkel, T. May and others all Putin puppets?  If anything, Putin is just throwing gasoline on an already raging dumpster fire.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Sentient beings regard Howard as a putz, just one with a big bank account.  Nothing new there.

        Interesting distraction about the foibles of EU leaders and American neoliberals notwithstanding, the topic was Trump.

        I think Senator Thomas Jordan had it about right in terms of the consequences of Mr. Trump.  To paraphrase his comment about Johnny Iselin:

        There are people who think of Johnny Donald Trump as a clown and a buffoon, but I do not.  I despise John Iselin Donald Trump and everything that Iselinism Trumpism has come to stand for. I think if John Iselin Donald Trump were a paid Soviet Russian agent, he could not do more to harm this country than he’s doing now.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Trump tells G7 to reinstate Russia and return it to the G8.  Like ’em or not, “We” have a world to run, says Donald.  QED.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Trump will obsess at the G7 about Russia and other extraneous matters because, apart from finding enough floorspace for his water, he doesn’t have a clue about what the G7 is or what work it does.

          Nor has Trump prepared for this meeting any more than he has prepared for the Summit in Singapore or any staff meeting. All he remembers from his briefing is that it used to be called the G8, and that Vlad is not among its members.

          Chaos hides his ignorance, making his flailing seem like strategy.  It also promotes his/Vlad’s impeding of formerly American led alliances.  I repeat the above quote.

    • jo blow says:

      nato is a trojan horse built in the usa… the eu continue to be the good poodles they are for the usa… the main objective is to not allow europe to have a friendly relationship with russia, or be in any way dependent on russia for energy and etc. etc..  the financial sanctions have not worked on russia, but now the usa is going to try them on europe… this has been going on for a lot longer then trump took the presidency.. but alas – for those americans who are just waking up – it is all trump or putins fault… too bad a complete ignorance of world history is a requisite for holding to this view..

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I agree that ignorance is the source of a lot of problems.  It is curable.  As they say, stupidity is not.

        • jo blow says:

          is being guided by globalists, neoliberalism and wall st ignorance, or stupidity on the part of americans??

          reference 2008 to see how that worked out…

        • jo blow says:

          and worked better for western based multinationals? what progress, lol..  i love it when americans cheers for multinational corps, lol… now – that is dumbocracy in action!


          • Trip says:

            Thanks for coming up with a strawman position. You always prove to be a consistent, although entirely ineffective troll.

            • jo blow says:

              i am sorry trip.. i guess one is called a troll if they try to offer a more nuanced viewpoint then the constant ‘trump and putin are evil’ mantra of emptywheel… i do get that much from reading the 5 or 6 posters at ew..  i suppose clintons house of kleptocrats are preferable to trumps, lol… at some point ordinary people recognize when they are being played with a 2 party system that has longed stopped working.. but alas – continue..

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    OT, Trump is keeping Pruitt in office because the GOP-led Senate lets him, and because under the guise of mismanagement (however real), Pruitt is effectively gutting the EPA, an agency US corporations hate almost more than any other.

    • ZM-73 says:

      The EPA was a reaction to the effort to get a constitutional ammendment to protect the environment.




      While people are working to keep what’s there and stop the gutting – start spinning up the effort to get the constitutional ammendment Nixon took the momentium away from with the creation of the EPA.

  7. gmoke says:

    The real estate story has a lot of depth to it, over decades.  It is a story of global kakistocratic kleptocrats buying multiple high-end properties in London, NYC, and other cities around the world as part of a money laundering operation and hollowing out once living neighborhoods on the side.  Trmp has been an active participant in these developments all his business life.  That deserves much more scrutiny and will reveal many links to local deleterious effects many are now experiencing.

  8. SteveB says:

    Luke Harding piece in Guardian 18 Jan 18 has SimonaM as native of Caserta near Naples. Before hanging around EU pols in Brussels

    She of course met Mifsud first in 2012, and later worked for him in London.

    Lots of things she says and does makes her seem like a fluffy ingenue, letting slip details which seem counter to her interests, and thus lacking the subtle calculation for the high stakes game poor GP is a mere pawn in.

    GP is a pawn, albeit of his own making. Not sure what or whose game Mrs SM-P is playing. She is certainly stirring things up.

      • Naomi says:

        “Her accent” may be the replication of the accent of her English teacher.

        My high school German teacher (native born) was stunned to hear us tell her she was speaking with a perfect British accent.  Her English lessons were in London, after WWII, and she had zero German accent when she spoke to her American students.


        • Willis Warren says:

          Nope.  An accent is most affected by the vowels you have in your native language.  You would approximate that as much as possible.  Italian has a lot of diversity in their accents, Russians do not.  One way to determine, say, a native Russian speaker is that they wouldn’t differentiate between bit and beet for instance (the long vowels).  I haven’t done any real phonetic/linguistic analysis on Mangiante (I doubt there’s enough out there in the interviews) but her background seems a little sketchy, and that’s a bigger flag than the accent.  Didn’t she meet papadope while she was working for Mifsud?

          • SpaceLifeForm says:

            You are completely wrong on this.

            It takes very little time to pick up an accent. Very little.

            Case in point.

            Met someone in DC area years ago.

            Immediately, my ears spotted that she was from Brooklyn, but had been in southern US recently.

            She had acquired a southern accent on top of her Brooklyn accent. Seriously interesting.

            I asked her if she was from Brooklyn but was just down south.

            She confirmed. Only had been south for a week. Lived in Brooklyn.

          • Naomi says:

            My German teacher could have flirted with James Bond.

            Simone has a tin ear and would have flunked out of any good spy school long before working for Mifsud.

      • SteveB says:

        Caserta is in the heart of arguably the most corrupt region in definitely the most corrupt state in the EU. The state in significant portions of Puglia, Calabria, and Campania (Naples) has largely broken down and even trivial/mundane aspects of life such as renewing a driving licence are matters over which organized crime exert control.

        Southern Italy is a centre for people trafficking and people smuggling, and official documents issued in the region may not be all that they seem.

  9. harpie says:

    A new article about this by Wilkie:

    NEW: Part 2 of my deep dive into Trump’s favorite architect, John Fotiadis. How Trump, Cohen and Fotiadis wooed politicians in Tbilisi, Georgia. And how a Ukrainian oligarch catapulted Fotiadis into the top ranks of global architecture overnight >>>The work of a New York architect reveals a lot about real estate in Eastern Europe — where Donald Trump and Paul Manafort built ties to oligarchs



  10. Valley girl says:

    Hell.  I typed a long comment and got this:
    403 Forbidden
    A potentially unsafe operation has been detected in your request to this site.
    Generated by Wordfence at Thu, 7 Jun 2018 19:45:38 GMT.
    Your computer’s time: Thu, 07 Jun 2018 19:45:39 GMT.

    I usually save a copy in Word b/f I post, but didn’t this time.  No way to recover it, I suppose.


    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Happens.  Not usually a long or frequent problem.  Your routine of copying before posting is a good one.

      • Valley girl says:

        Recreated my comment as best I could, and and got 403 forbidden.  Scratching my head.

        • Valley girl says:

          Tried two more times.  403.  It had two links, one of which was already posted here, and another to a NYer article by Adam Davidson.  Links worked when I checked them in reply text before posting.  I give up.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      You may have had a suspicious link.

      Clean links by deleting from the ‘?’ (question mark) to the end of the URL. Then test the link.

      There is a lot of tracking info in the ‘stuff’ after the question mark. But not in alll cases. Youtube is an exception, for example.

      Clean, then test.

      • posaune says:

        These are especially relevant comments and I agree with you.   I’m beginning to believe that a % are “fake” buildings, or were never intended to be constructed.    If Fotiadis’ work was legitimate for these projects, he would have had to subcontract with a local A & E firm to satisfy code and regulatory requirements, regardless of the location.   No one office has that kind of expertise — not one, certainly not for multiple locations in EE.   So,  the question is:  Did JF work with any local firm? Who was the architect of record for each of these projects?  Who signed and stamped the construction drawings, submitted CDs for materials and labor estimates and signed the permitting set?   Was there really a permitting set or a preliminary planning set?   I would like to see how much work was actually performed by JFA.   I’ll bet little outside of the Google Sketchup Models for many proposals:  Site survey, topo, site prep and demolition design all cost money even before a mm3 of concrete is poured.   Come to think of it, 3D modeling doesn’t require an architecture license, even in Tibilisi.   I wonder if Bob Mueller has taken a peek at the Autocad server.


      • TGuerrant says:

        Seems like a lot of the Trump projects Fotiadis worked on – like the vast movie studio in Miami’s hinterlands – just never got past the Big Announcement stage where Trump solicits casual shows of interest from big-name investors and demands local governments pay him to play with them.

        Some architects might back away after a couple of those, but Fotiadis may have found it ideal – lots of showy early-stage work and no problems from actually having to, y’know, do some architecting.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      More facts would help.  But Mr. F is beginning to look dirty, not just scared.  His clients, including a lengthy relationship with Trump, and his association with Manafort are not factors in his favor.

  11. harpie says:

    The other day, Marcy was tweeting about this from Byron Tau: 
    [quote]”The Senate unanimously approved a request to hand over documents to the DOJ “in connection with a pending investigation arising out of the unauthorized disclosure of information.” No one on the Hill will say anything more.” [end quote]
    Later in the thread she says the leaker is a staffer [not a Senator]
    Steven Aftergood just tweeted the link to the Congressional Record, saying: 
    [quote] Senate intelligence committee authorized to release documents to DoJ concerning unauthorized disclosure “by a former employee of the committee” [end quote]

  12. Mary M McCurnin says:

    I just submitted a comment. Since Valley Girl is having problems, I am wondering if my comment disappeared or wasn’t approved. Wasn’t approved is cool. I just want to let you know that there might be an issue with the site.

    • orionATL says:

      not to worry. given it was you, there is zero chance it was not approved. we are all having sporadic access problems, apparently due to work on the site. bmaz has mentioned this frequently here.

  13. harpie says:

    On twitter, Steven Aftergood links to the Congressional Record to verify that the SSCI is cooperating with the DoJ about a leak investigation…
    “Senate intelligence committee authorized to release documents to DoJ concerning unauthorized disclosure “by a former employee of the committee”

    [See Laura Rozen’s timeline. I’m posting this without links because had trouble with them.]

    • harpie says:

      CNN story about it:

  14. harpie says:

    @ posaune [June 7, 2018 at 3:36 pm] “So, exactly HOW did Trump come up with Fotiadis?”
    See Wilkes 2nd article:
    [quote] [Columbia University’s Alexander Cooley, an expert in Eastern Europe and Eurasia] also noted another unusual aspect of Fotiadis’ work for Akhmetov’s companies: the timing. JFA did not exist until 2009, when Fotiadis left the firm of his mentor, the renowned architect Costas Kondylis, to found his own firm. Yet within months of opening JFA, Fotiadis had secured two major commissions from a foreign billionaire.
    Fotiadis was familiar to Trump, having worked on several Trump projects during his 20 years with Kondylis. According to a trade news site from 2011, Trump chose Fotiadis for the Georgia projects even though on paper, it was the Silk Road Group that Fotiadis listed as his client. [end quote]

    • harpie says:

      Nicholas Bagley: [THREAD]

      Here’s the brief. As expected. The Justice Department believes the crucial insurance reforms of the Affordable Care Act are unconstitutional and will not defend them. This is an enormous blow to the integrity of DOJ. 

      The Brief is signed by DoJ lawyer Chad Readler, who Trump said today will be nominated for appeals court judgeship

    • harpie says:

      Three hours ago, Bagley wrote:

      Guys, I have a very bad feeling about this. These are the civil servant line attorneys withdrawing from the Texas lawsuit minutes before the USG’s brief is due to be filed.

  15. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Wilkie on Rachel Maddow talks about the standard Trump licensing deal dog and pony show that pitched deals in multiple regions:  Trump the salesman, Cohen the “lawyer”, Fotiadis the architect/image maker.

    If Wilkie’s reporting is correct, Mueller would seem to have good reason to want to interview Fotiadis at length.  He would seem important as a fact witness concerning Trump, Manafort, and Russia.  But the dog and pony show suggests direct involvement in what may be financial crimes.  Hope Fotiadis turns up somewhere soon.

  16. Trip says:

    Test, 404 on other page

    I don’t believe that they haven’t read or listened to the NYTimes Reporter’s communications. This story is chilling. How does a connection record of contacts prove leaks, when the reporter was in a personal relationship? Obviously you mentioned signal, etc. But I think secretly pulling in press records, without speaking to the news outlet is a very very dangerous practice for a democracy.

    And someone else was leaking TO Carter Page, because Carter Page went on MSNBC and talked to Chris Hayes back on 10/30/17:

    HAYES: But you have an attorney?
    PAGE: I have some informal advisers and a formal adviser.
    HAYES: Did you bring an attorney to you when you spent five hours before 
the senate?
    PAGE: Nope. No. I’m very, very open and happy to give all the 
information I can. In the interest of really getting the truth out there, 
because I think when the truth comes out, when Speaker Paul Ryan says the 
FISA warrant or the details about the dodgy dossier and what happened and 
all this documents around that is going to be released, that`s what I`m 
really excited about. And I think the truth will set a lot of people free.

    So how is it okay that Paul Ryan was leaking/sharing some type of info to at least a ‘subject’ if not a target? The intention of this administration seems clear, and that is to scare reporters, which is a very very bad thing. It would also seem to be highly selective since Hannity, as far as we know, hasn’t had all of his records collected in the leaks from Trump, and possibly to and from Assange. And he’s not even a real journalist.

    *404, 404, 404, 404

  17. TheraP says:

    It occurs to me that many of the people Trump has worked closely with have Eastern European connections, especially marital/family connections. So I wonder if that’s true for Fotiadis?

    Maybe someone can dig up any connections like that, that may have played a role in his “lucky” finding of business (so he says) with oligarchs. Just a possible way to connect the dots here. (And dots there must be!)

  18. orionATL says:

    emptywheel: “… These people — or the people who in turn managed them — exerted and probably still exert tremendous influence over Trump. They all seem to lay out a network of compromise far deeper than we imagined when this all started…”

    indeed, in my opinion, they do. independent of any election year collusion, this explains republican president trump’s entirely anomalous policy affection for the current russian government, evident throughout his campaign and presidency.

    in the following “policy affection” move, i believe trump is clearly paying putin back. if he can’t now directly undo any of the sanctions (which was the quo part of the original “get hillary for sanctions relief” deal implied by the june 9, 2016 meeting), he can at least make a good faith partial sanctions repayment, the economically important membership in the g-7:

Comments are closed.