Ever since winning the Republican nomination, the majority of President Donald Trump’s companies’ real estate sales have gone to shell companies that conceal the buyers’ identities.
Since winning the Republican nomination, President Trump’s businesses have sold at least 32 luxury condos and home lots for about $20 million to shell companies that shield the identities of buyers.
The identities of people paying the President’s companies for real estate may come under a microscope as the special counsel investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election expands his probe to examine Trump’s business transactions.
USA TODAY journalists have spent nine months cataloging every condo, penthouse or other property that Trump’s companies sell, and we are tracking every buyer. We welcome the public’s help to document people behind these shell companies and deals.
So far, the USA TODAY investigation has found that since President Trump won the Republican nomination, 70% of his companies’ real estate sales are to secretive shell companies that obscure the buyers’ identities. In the two years before the nomination, just 4% of Trump condo and home buyers were taking the extra steps to make their transactions more opaque.
The ongoing investigation found Trump’s companies owned more than 430 individual properties worth well over $250 million. The companies have sold at least 30 of those, for more than $33 million, since Election Day, most to limited liability companies.
Profits from sales of those properties flow through a trust run by Trump’s sons. The president is the sole beneficiary of the trust and can withdraw cash any time.
From luxury condos and penthouses in Las Vegas and New York to oceanfront lots near Los Angeles, USA TODAY is tracking each buyer of property from Trump’s companies, particularly real estate deals that involve limited liability companies.
To identify buyers, reporters searched public records, including deeds, mortgages and incorporation records in the U.S. and abroad. In each case so far, reporters identified at least one named person associated with the shell companies behind the purchases. In many cases, buyers talked about their purchases. Others declined to answer questions.
Many people who buy real estate via a limited liability company are doing so on the advice of financial professionals for legitimate reasons, but the method also makes it more difficult to identify all of the parties involved in the deal.
If you have information to contribute, you can use one of our secure options for news tips or contact the reporters directly by email.
Here’s what we know so far about each limited liability company that has bought a property from Trump since he won the GOP nomination.
Intrinsic Real Estate Holdings LLC
Intrinsic Real Estate Holdings LLC purchased a condo in Las Vegas in June for $276,000. The company was formed just days before the purchase in Nevada by David G. Platt. The address listed for the company is a private mailbox and a nearby Las Vegas condo recently purchased by another LLC. The LLC, Karlsson Property Holdings, was created by Platt. Public records show Platt owns a P.O. box and home in Newport Beach, Calif. Efforts to reach Platt have been unsuccessful.
Venture Magic LLC
Venture Magic LLC purchased a condo in Las Vegas in May for $295,000. Venture Magic is a Nevada company formed by Shu-Ling Huang just before the purchase was made with a P.O. box listed for tax paperwork. Huang registered a company mailing address at a home in San Jose, Calif. Listed phone numbers for Huang were disconnected.
LeBlanc Investments LLC
LeBlanc Investments LLC purchased a condo in Las Vegas in May for $511,000. LeBlanc is an Arizona company formed by Marc Letellier, a neurosurgeon in Mesa, Ariz. The address used for the LLC is associated with a home in Apache Junction, owned by Marjad LLC, which was also formed by Letellier, according to state records. Letellier did not respond to requests for an interview.
2 L Nevada LLC
2 L Nevada LLC bought two condos in Las Vegas in April for $260,000 each. Incorporation paperwork in Nevada lists no officers for the company, but lists a P.O. box in Kelowna, a city in British Columbia, Canada. Records in Canada show the mail box is used by a medical marijuana firm. Calls to that firm led to Brian Lovig, who said he is not involved in the marijuana business. Lovig said two properties were purchased as an investment for a family trust and the LLC was created on advice of a trust manager. Lovig operates Right Edition, a conservative opinion website on Canadian politics. "The reason they [purchased is] because the arithmetic worked,” Lovig said. “Certainly buying a few units in a hotel isn’t going to make the president jump circles.”
Black Tulip Organization
Valpo Holdings LLC and Malm Holdings LLC bought two condos in Las Vegas in April for $255,000 each. Incorporation paperwork in Nevada shows the two companies were created with an office building address in Miami. That address was used by other shell corporations, JOYP Holdings LLC and Galiz Holdings LLC, to purchase two other units in the building in 2016. The company behind all four of the shells is Black Tulip Organization. Benoit Pous Bertran, president of the group, has been involved in the purchase of several properties from the Trump Organization over the past decade and told reporters that the investment properties each get their own LLC for accounting purposes. “We are not trying to hide anything,” Pous Bertran said. Black Tulip bought another condo from Trump’s Vegas project last week, using a fifth shell named Leyanathea Holdings LLC.
Victoria Harbor Investment LLC
Victoria Harbor Investment LLC bought two condos in Las Vegas for $245,000 and $240,000 in March and April. Incorporation records in Nevada list two officers for the company, Wanjuan Huan and Haiyan Xu. Their address is a private mailbox rental in Las Vegas. Calls to numbers listed for the pair were not answered.
LAT Homes LLC and Author Homes LLC
LAT Homes LLC and Author Homes LLC purchased two homes in Los Angeles for $6.2 million in April. Bestselling author Subir Chowdhury signed articles of organization to form the LLCs, which are filed with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. In an interview, Chowdhury said he did not wish to be identified in connection with the purchases, and that he has high regard for The Trump Organization. One of his companies also owns a mansion adjacent to the two new lots. “I don’t want somebody to know that I’m the owner of those properties,” he told a reporter.
Fashion Drive LLC
Fashion Drive LLC bought one condo in Las Vegas for $639,000 in January. Incorporation records in New York and sale records list a post office box in New Hartford, NY. That company is owned by Ivan Antonevich, a pain physician. Antonevich did not respond to multiple interview requests.
LV Hotel Group LLC
LV Hotel Group LLC bought one condo in Las Vegas for $250,000 in December. The company is incorporated in Nevada, but uses a neighboring address within the Vegas tower for its tax bills. That unit is owned by Steven Ting-Tar Wu. Calls to numbers listed for Wu were not returned.
SNJ Properties LLC
SNJ Properties LLC bought one condo in Las Vegas for $450,000 in December. Incorporation records in New York list the company’s address as the same as Irwin Contracting on Long Island. Public phone records led reporters to Susan and John Irwin, owners of the companies and property. When contacted, John Irwin said politics didn’t have anything to do with his second investment purchase in the tower.
100 CPS Realty Inc.
100 CPS Realty Inc. purchased an apartment unit at a Trump building in Manhattan in December 2016 for $2.5 million. New York State corporation records do not specify who owns 100 CPS Realty Inc. USA TODAY journalists tracked the purchase to the Vancouver real estate business of Anna Asi, by reviewing signatures on other documents filed with New York City. Among the records bearing her signature: a smoke detector affidavit. In an interview, Asi said the paperwork behind the purchase, including the use of the LLC, was handled by her attorney.
Cape Point LLC
Cape Point LLC bought a building lot along Trump National Golf Course from the President’s company, VHPS LLC, for $1.5 million in November 2016. The company’s only officer is not a human being, but another company: First American Exchange Co. But the company’s address in Irvine, Calif., is the same one listed for Anthony Alosi, the only person who signed various forms with the California Secretary of State. He listed himself in different paperwork as both the company’s registered agent and its vice president. Alosi did not respond to reporters’ inquiries.
The search for the owners of Milan Investment Limited, the secretive buyers of 11 Trump condos in Vegas, led reporters to the owners’ other properties in Vancouver condo.
Milan Investment Limited Corp.
Milan Investment Limited Corp. paid $3.1 million to purchase 11 Vegas condos from the President’s company in two batches, in July and October of 2016. The quest to find the people behind the purchase included an incorrect address for Milan, a six-figure mortgage signed by a Texas woman who was not one of the company’s listed officers and knocking on doors of several other residential and investment properties in Canada, and Houston. USA TODAY spent months trying to find the couple listed as officers for the company – Jun Xu and Qi Huang. Reporters called all available phone numbers, sent registered mail and visited all of their other property addresses in Canada and Texas. A doorman at one condo said he believes the family’s relatives live there, and promised to pass a note to them. A guard at the other tower said he didn’t know who lived in the condo, but also said he would pass along a hand-delivered message. So far, Xu and Huang have not responded. Reporters tracked the woman who signed the loan documents, Chen Huang, to a series of homes in suburban Houston. One of her renters gave reporters her phone number. She hung up when asked about the purchases.
YA8816 LLC bought two condos in Las Vegas for $250,000 in October. The company was formed in Nevada less than two months earlier and its managing members are listed as Frances Regina Aguinaldo and Steven D. Young, who used the same New York address of another company, Stoops & Co. LLC on East 95 St. in New York. The owners did not respond to reporters’ inquiries. The same LLC has bought other property in the Vegas area.
Contributing: Rick Jervis reporting from Houston and Si Chen reporting from Vancouver