Buried within a Thursday New York Times report on the Trump administration’s attempt to coax Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy into retiring is a detail worthy of its own story.
Eighteen paragraphs into the piece, the Times notes that Justice Kennedy’s son Justin was the global head of real estate capital markets at Deutsche Bank – and essentially President Donald Trump’s money man.
Here’s how the Times tells it …
*But they had a connection, one Mr. Trump was quick to note in the moments after his first address to Congress in February 2017. As he made his way out of the chamber, Mr. Trump paused to chat with the justice.
“Say hello to your boy,” Mr. Trump said. “Special guy.”
Mr. Trump was apparently referring to Justice Kennedy’s son, Justin. The younger Mr. Kennedy spent more than a decade at Deutsche Bank, eventually rising to become the bank’s global head of real estate capital markets, and he worked closely with Mr. Trump when he was a real estate developer, according to two people with knowledge of his role.
During Mr. Kennedy’s tenure, Deutsche Bank became Mr. Trump’s most important lender, dispensing well over $1 billion in loans to him for the renovation and construction of skyscrapers in New York and Chicago at a time other mainstream banks were wary of doing business with him because of his troubled business history.*
TPM dug a little further into the story of Trump and the younger Kennedy, thinking perhaps his position at the bank would have kept him from dealing with more menial tasks like handling Trump’s loans.
It turns out that Kennedy was hands-on in this department:
The [Financial Times] says Kennedy was “one of Mr Trump’s most trusted associates over a 12-year spell at Deutsche.” A review of Kennedy’s bio suggests those twelve years were 1997 through 2009 – key years for Trump.
The FT also noted that those years saw Deutsche Bank looking to increase its presence in the U.S. and “the bank saw a niche in serving rich developers who had hit a few bumps along the way, such as Harry Macklowe and Ian Bruce Eichner, both celebrated owners and losers of New York real estate.”
As TPM notes, Trump also “fit the bill to a tee.”
Deutsche also had its own problems with money laundering, particularly money laundering tied to Russia. Days after Trump became President, New York State announced a $425 million fine Deutsche Bank had agreed to pay over a $10 billion Russian money laundering scheme, one of many investigations the bank is still embroiled in.
Kennedy left Deutsche Bank at the end of 2009, apparently because post-financial crisis regs on over-risky bets by banks were making it difficult for him to operate. He left to found LNR Property LLC with partner Toby Cobb, which would become a big player in the distressed-commercial-property space.