In Hamptons House, a Link to Manafort and Jared Kushner’s DadBy
Kushner bank issued mortgage to Manafort’s wife 15 years ago
N.Y. is investigating ex-campaign manager’s real estate deals
Jared Kushner was a junior at Harvard when an enterprising political operative was drawn into his family’s orbit.
His name: Paul Manafort.
It was 2002, and, back then, few might have imagined that the two men’s worlds would intersect one day in the figure of Donald Trump.
But the Kushners and the Manaforts, it turns out, go way back -- at least when it comes to two of New York’s great obsessions: money and real estate.
Kushner, of course, is now the son-in-law and confidant of President Trump. Manafort is a big-time Republican strategist and Trump’s former campaign manager. Both have been pulled into the vortex of questions surrounding the administration and Russia.
But 15 years ago, when Trump was still running casinos, Manafort’s wife, Kathleen, received a mortgage on a 10-bedroom home in the Hamptons on Long Island. The $150,000 loan was made by NorCrown Bank, in Livingston, New Jersey, whose chairman was Kushner’s father, Charles, the patriarch of the family real estate empire and, at the time, a Democratic powerbroker in New Jersey.
NorCrown was acquired by Valley National Bancorp in 2005. Jared married Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, in 2009.
“Paul Manafort did not know Charles Kushner 15 years ago when this transaction occurred,” said Jason Maloni, a spokesman for the Manaforts. “He has never met or talked with him in his life. These loans are all ordinary, arm’s length transactions.” He declined to comment about Kathleen Manafort. Charles Kushner declined to comment for this article.
Paul Manafort’s real estate dealings are being investigated by the New York attorney general and Manhattan district attorney; it isn’t clear which ones are part of the probes. NBC News reported last month that federal investigators have subpoenaed records related to a $3.5 million mortgage on the Hamptons house.
Real estate runs through the Manafort-Trump relationship. In 2006, a limited liability company linked to the Manaforts purchased a unit in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue. And in addition to the NorCrown loan, the Manaforts -- or LLCs connected with them -- have gotten loans from other people or banks with connections to Trump.
In 2004, for instance, Thomas Barrack Jr., a billionaire real estate investor and longtime Trump friend, provided a $1.76 million mortgage to Kathleen Manafort on the Long Island property.
Kristin Celauro, a spokeswoman for Barrack, said, “Mr. Barrack provided a personal loan 13 years ago that was repaid within 18 months, in full accordance with its terms.”
$9.5 Million Loan
More recently, the Manaforts and an affiliated LLC borrowed $16 million from Federal Savings Bank, a Chicago-based lender run by Stephen Calk, a Trump economic adviser. The bulk of the borrowing was a $9.5 million loan secured by the Hamptons house and other assets. Trump named Calk to his campaign’s economic advisory council while Manafort was campaign manager.
Kellie Kennedy, a spokeswoman for Calk, said “the Federal Savings Bank does not discuss customer personal financial matters, as it is against its fiduciary duty and the law.”
The Manaforts seem to have done well on their Long Island home, which is located down a secluded lane, in an area of wood-shingled mansions and farm fields.
Kathleen Manafort purchased a vacant lot in 1992 for $400,000, according to the Southampton assessor’s office. A house was built a few years later. After several additions, it now has 5,574 square feet of living space, a tennis court, pool, pool house and pitch-and-putt golf hole, according to the assessor’s office, which values it at $5.6 million.
The NorCrown mortgage was paid off in July 2004, within days of Kathleen Manafort obtaining another mortgage. This one, records show, was the one provided by Barrack, now a close Trump associate.