Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Knew 'Ten Thousand Percent' They Were Defrauding Buyers in Trump SoHo Project, New Book Says

A new book has accused two of President Donald Trump's children of intentionally misleading investors to sell units in a luxury New York condominium-hotel.

According to journalist Andrea Bernstein, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump exaggerated sales figures for the Trump SoHo complex to convince potential investors to buy property there.

Bernstein makes the claim in her new book, American Oligarchs: The Kushners, The Trumps And The Marriage Of Money And Power, which is due to be released on January 14. Excerpts published by The Guardian indicate that the Trump children knowingly lied to potential buyers.

An investigation was opened into the allegations, but it was wound up in 2011. Prosecutors stopped pursuing the case fearing that buyers' refusal to say they were victims of fraud would undermine the prosecution, The Guardian explained.

The 46-storey, $370 million Trump SoHo was first previewed in 2006, promoted by now-President Donald Trump on his reality television competition The Apprentice.

But the family struggled to sell units, their pitch hampered by revelations regarding the criminal history of business partner Felix Sater as the real estate market lagged ahead of a global financial crisis.

ProPublica first reported in 2017 that emails involving Donald Jr and Ivanka showed their active participation in the scheme. In her new book, Bernstein said the pair "showed a coordinated, deliberate and knowing effort to deceive buyers."

The New York Times reported in 2016 that between 15 and 30 percent of Trump SoHo units had been sold by the beginning of 2009. But in Summer 2008, Ivanka told Reuters the figure was 60 percent. In April 2009, Donald Jr. then told the Real Deal magazine that some 55 percent of units were sold.

Bernstein refers to one email, in which the two reportedly discussed how best to maintain the ruse. Because false sales figures were given to buyers at the start of the process, the Trumps had to continually massage the records to avoid any suspicious disparity in figures.

Bernstein also notes another email—citing someone who read them—in which Donald Jr. and Ivanka discussed whether a journalist had uncovered the plan.

"In yet another email chain that included Don Jr and Ivanka, the younger generation of Trumps issued the email equivalent of a knowing chuckle, saying that nobody would ever find them out, because only people on the email chain or in the Trump Organization knew about the deception," Bernstein added.

The author cited one person with knowledge of the emails who said there could be "no doubt" that the pair "approved, knew of, agreed to, and intentionally inflated the numbers to make more sales."

Another unnamed source said: "It couldn't have been more clear they lied about the sales and knew they were lying," Bernstein wrote. Asked if there was any doubt of the Trump children's malign intentions, a third source told the author, "Ten thousand percent no."

Newsweek has contacted the White House, Ivanka Trump and the Trump Organization for a response to the allegations in Bernstein's book.

Some Trump SoHo investors sued Trump claiming that the inflated sales figures constituted fraud. The civil case was settled out of court in 2011, with Trump and the co-defendants refunding 90 percent of the $3.16 million in deposits provided by buyers. However, the defendants refused to admit they had done anything wrong.

Indeed, as part of the settlement, the would-be buyers signed a letter asserting that no crime had been committed.

Alan Garten, then general counsel for the Trump Organization, told the Times in 2016 that the fraud allegations were a case of "buyer's remorse" and said that the lawsuit did not center on Trump "in any material way."

The Trump Organization also faced a second, separate lawsuit related to Trump SoHo, the Times noted. The action alleged that the involvement of convicted felons—including Sater—and shady financing from countries such as Russia and Kazakhstan had not been made clear.

Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump Jr, Trump SoHo
This file photo shows Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr arriving on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Win McNamee/Getty Images/Getty
Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Knew 'Ten Thousand Percent' They Were Defrauding Buyers in Trump SoHo Project, New Book Says | News