Home / Top Story / Manhattan DA Vance gives back $31G donation from Trump's lawyer

Manhattan DA Vance gives back $31G donation from Trump's lawyer

Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. returned a $ 31,000 campaign contribution from President Trump’s personal attorney amid new questions about the 2013 donation.

The money was given during Vance’s reelection campaign four years ago — and after the district attorney passed on prosecuting Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. over a Manhattan condo development.

“Contributions have never influenced Cy Vance’s work and they never will,” Vance campaign spokesman Steve Sigmund said Wednesday in confirming the giveback.

“Every contribution is vetted through a rigorous process, accepted when appropriate, and returned when flagged. That’s exactly what happened in this instance.”

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Vance is seeking election to his third term next month.

A story by WYNC, ProPublica and The New Yorker raised the issue in recounting a criminal probe of the Trump siblings for allegedly duping prospective buyers in their Trump SoHo project.

The story cited email evidence indicating the Trumps lied about the occupancy rate at the building to lure new customers.

Attorney Marc Kasowitz, the longtime personal attorney of the President, met directly with the Manhattan district attorney in May 2012 over the Trump case.

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The money was given during Vance’s reelection campaign four years ago — and after the district attorney passed on prosecuting Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. over a Manhattan condo development.

(Jefferson Siegel/New York Daily News)

He had previously donated $ 25,000 to Vance, with the prosecutor returning the contribution before the sitdown.

But the Trump lawyer made a subsequent $ 31,993 donation in January 2013. In between the meeting and the contribution, Vance opted to drop the Trump investigation in August 2012.

Critics called the juxtaposition of events a case of bad optics at the very least.

“By providing special access (Vance) … has invited embarrassing questions about his conduct,” said Susan Lerner, executive director of the good government group Common Cause of New York.

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“We need to have more honest policy discussions about removing private money from the criminal justice system and replacing it with public financing of elections, to help public servants avoid suspicion.”

According to Sigmund, another $ 9,000 from employees at Kasowitz’s law firm and $ 9,000 more raised at a breakfast hosted by Kasowitz was not returned.

Kasowitz did not respond to a Wednesday email, but said in a statement appearing in the article that his donations were hardly nefarious.

“I donated to Cy Vance’s campaign because I was and remain extremely impressed by him as a person of impeccable integrity, as a brilliant lawyer and as a public servant,” said Kasowitz.

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Attorney Marc Kasowitz, the longtime personal attorney of the President, met directly with the Manhattan district attorney in May 2012 over the Trump siblings' case.

Attorney Marc Kasowitz, the longtime personal attorney of the President, met directly with the Manhattan district attorney in May 2012 over the Trump siblings’ case.

(Carolyn Kaster/AP)

“I have never made a contribution to anyone’s campaign, including Cy Vance’s, as a ‘quid-pro-quo’ for anything.”

Joan Vollero, director of communication for the DA’s office, said a two-year probe of the Trump case failed to produce enough evidence for criminal prosecution.

And she noted that Trump SoHo buyers who sued the Trump Organization in 2010 later reached a settlement with the defendants.

“During the investigation, the luxury apartment purchasers reversed course and took the position that the sellers had not committed any crime against them,” said Vollero. “No outside attorney influenced any decision in this matter.”

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Capaign contribution records show the law firm Kramer Levin Naftalis — which also represented the Trumps during the probe — donated $ 500 to Vance on Oct. 17, 2012, and another $ 5,000 barely a month later.

Tags:
cy vance
ivanka trump
donald trump jr
new york real estate
marc kasowitz
soho
fraud

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