Tax records show 200 entities funneled money to Trump properties while reaping benefits from White House: NYT

A New York Times analysis of tax records showed that more than 200 companies, special-interest groups and foreign governments have funneled millions of dollars to President TrumpDonald John TrumpNorth Korea unveils large intercontinental ballistic missile at military parade Trump no longer considered a risk to transmit COVID-19, doctor says New ad from Trump campaign features Fauci MORE’s properties while reaping benefits from the president and his administration. 

Nearly a nearly a quarter of the entities have not been previously reported.

Sixty patrons, who promoted specific interests to the Trump administration, spent almost $12 million on expenses associated with the Trump Organization during the first two years of Trump’s presidency. The Times reported nearly all of these customers saw their interests move forward. 

In interviews with almost 250 business executives, club members, lobbyists, Trump property employees and current administration officials, sources detailed to Times how Trump conducted business and interacted with customers who were seeking help from the administration.

The newspaper also used Trump’s tax-return data, lobbying disclosures, Freedom of Information Act requests and other public records to construct a database of groups, companies and governments that had business before the administration and spent money on Trump properties.

The Trump Organization’s customers included foreign politicians, Florida barons, a Chinese billionaire, a Serbian prince, clean-energy advocates, petroleum industry leaders, small government advocates and contractors. The newspaper noted that some of the president’s customers did not see their interests fully fulfilled but noted “whether they won or lost, Mr. Trump benefited financially.”

More than 70 advocacy groups, businesses and foreign governments held events at Trump Organization properties that previously were at different locations or developed new events to be hosted at the properties. Religious organizations also participated by throwing prayer meetings, banquets and tours on Trump properties.

At least two dozen patrons who reserved events for 2017 and 2018 at Trump properties had interests involving the administration. The analysis also found that more than 100 companies that sought action from the federal government spent money at Trump properties.

The Times noted that the tax records do not include all payments to Trump properties, but additional data is tracked by the Town of Palm Beach where Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club is located. Organizations that had special interests reported spending $3.3 million on events at the club from 2017 to now. 

The records and membership rosters for Mar-a-Lago and Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J., also show how much money his business was making once he sat in the White House.

Being a member of his clubs also allowed leaders to get time with the president and sometimes his support, as he offered ambassadorships to five members and chose others for advisory roles in his administration.

White House spokesperson Judd Deere told The Hill in a statement that the Times report was “Just more fake news.”

“This is yet another politically-motivated hit piece inaccurately smearing a standard business deal,” he said. “During his years as a successful businessman, Donald Trump was long-time partners with

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Save money by keeping your garden tools in shape with these tips

Jessica K. of Windsor asks: Do you have some suggestions on how to clean my new and used garden tools?

Keeping your gardening tools clean helps prevent rust, keeps the edges sharp and removes caked-on soil and sap. Good tools can be expensive, so to avoid the need for frequent replacement, keep them clean and in good working order.

All garden tools should be cleaned and wiped down after use to remove soil. If you won’t be using certain tools for awhile, give them a thorough cleaning and inspection before storing them. If pruners or saws are used to prune or remove a diseased plant, they should be cleaned and disinfected before using them on a healthy plant. A squirt of Lysol spray will work. Some gardeners say dipping the tool in bleach diluted with water and wiping it dry, before using it on the next plant, also works. But be aware that bleach can damage blades, so be sure to rinse and clean the tool thoroughly when you’re done.

Use a strong spray from the garden hose to remove soil. Scrape off stuck-on mud with a trowel or plastic scraper. To remove residual soil, fill a bucket with hot water and add about one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid per gallon of water. After removing the stuck-on soil, place the tools in the bucket and let them soak for 15-20 minutes. Rinse the tools and dry them with a microfiber cloth or an old towel. Look over each tool thoroughly for signs of rust. If you spot rust or pitting, use a stiff wire brush or steel wool to scrub it off. Wipe the tool with a little vegetable oil to help loosen the rust while you scrub it off. If any tool feels sticky, the safest product to remove it is a citrus based cleaner. Turpentine, lighter fluid or Goo Gone are good backups. When cleaning, pay close attention to the hinged areas.

For tools with wooden handles, those handles will eventually begin to dry out, split and loosen from the metal components. Once or twice a year, use a medium-grit sandpaper to sand down the handles to remove the rough spots and splinters. Rub the handles with linseed oil for a protective barrier to help repel water. If they’re in really bad shape, most wooden handles can just be removed from the metal component and replaced with a new handle.

Tools that have moving components, like pruners or shears, need oil to keep the moving parts working correctly and smoothly. Place a drop or two of machine oil on the hinged parts. It’s also a good idea to take these tools apart once a year and rub down the screws and bolts with a machine oil. This will help remove the hard-to-see rust and any mineral deposits.

Any of your gardening tools that have an edge — like hoes, pruners and shovels — will need sharpening every so often. The large blades and edges can be sharpened with

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Rotherham man builds back garden ‘Furlough Inn’ with holiday money

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  • Coronavirus pandemic

Karl Heath in his bar, The Furlough Inn

image captionInside is a soft seating area with bar, fridges, optics, dart board, TV and even lights and a disco ball

A man has spent his cancelled holiday money building a pub in his back garden while on furlough.

Karl Heath, 50, from Rotherham, said he “always wanted to build a pub” so built the Furlough Inn as “something to do”.

He said: “Our holiday this year got cancelled and I needed a project on furlough so I used the money to build a pub in the garden.”

Mr Heath, his wife, sons and friends take it in turns to go to the bar in small groups at weekends.

image caption…and outside is a pergola and decking with soft seating, hot tub and lights

The outside space has soft seating, lights and a hot tub on decking under the pergola, while inside is a bar with fridges and drinks, snacks, a TV and seating, and a dart board. There is even a disco ball above the door.

It took less than three months to build and cost about £3,000.

“I said to my wife I need something to do,” Mr Heath, a manufacturing supervisor, said.

“I just planned it in my head and it’s worked out exactly how I wanted. Everyone loves it, they think it’s fantastic.”

image captionMr Heath’s father-in-law gave him his collection of pub paraphernalia – like these Babycham deer – from his own pub days

For now only small groups of friends and family can use the Furlough Inn, but Mr Heath said: “When covid’s all done and gone we’ll have a big party with all our friends and family.”

  • More Yorkshire stories

Others who have created their own pubs during lockdown include Jim Sangwell from Essex who installed a bar, stools and DJ decks in his shed.

image copyright@Freds_bar_punshed

image captionJim Sangwell live-streams DJ sets from his Essex shed to his friends, but said it’s not as fun without real people

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UK house prices rise at fastest rate since 2016, says Nationwide | Money

House prices rose in September at the fastest annual rate since the aftermath of the Brexit vote in 2016, according to the UK’s biggest building society, as buyers continued to take advantage of a benign market despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The average UK house price rose by 5% in September compared with the same month last year, to £226,129 – a record high, Nationwide reported.

The pandemic has shaken up the housing market, with the return of demand after the UK-wide lockdown and temporary cuts to stamp duty helping to sustain sales even as economists forecast a significant increase in unemployment over the coming quarter.

Prices rose by 0.9% month on month in September after jumping by 2% in the previous month as housing market activity surged, Nationwide said. Separate data published on Tuesday by the Bank of England showed that mortgage approvals during August had risen to the highest level in almost 13 years and the rival mortgage lender Halifax also reported record high UK prices in August.

Price jumps were evident across the UK, with the south-west of England and the commuter towns surrounding London recording increases of more than 5% in the third quarter of 2020 compared with a year earlier. Only in Scotland and the north-west of England did the pace of annual growth slow during the quarter.

Average prices within London hit a record high of £480,857 in September, leaving them 57% above their 2007 levels, shortly before the global financial crisis.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide’s chief economist, said: “The rebound [in UK prices] reflects a number of factors. Pent-up demand is coming through, with decisions taken to move before lockdown now progressing.

“The stamp duty holiday is adding to momentum by bringing purchases forward. Behavioural shifts may also be boosting activity as people reassess their housing needs and preferences as a result of life in lockdown.”

However, some economists predict that the boom in house prices may run out of steam in the coming months as the government’s support for the job market diminishes significantly, and unemployment is expected to hit 8% by the end of the year, according to independent forecasts collated by the Treasury.

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The stamp duty holiday for properties below £500,000 will also expire on 31 March 2021, unless the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, chooses to extend it in a delayed budget.

One economic forecaster, the EY Item Club, suggests that house prices could be about 5% lower than now by mid-2021 as the economy worsens.

Hansen Lu, an economist at Capital Economics, a consultancy, said: “Price gains are likely to slow as the pent-up demand driving the market now is expended. Looking ahead, we think a weak underlying economy and the end of the stamp duty cut will slow house price growth to a standstill by the end of 2021.”

The “mini boom” in house prices may partly reflect the shift to working from home during

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Pablo Escobar: Money hidden in wall found in drug lord’s house

Pablo Escobar's nephew discovered the money in an apartment he's been living in for several years

image copyrightGetty Images

image captionThe money was discovered in an apartment where Escobar’s nephew lives

A nephew of infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar has said he found a plastic bag with money worth $18m (£14m) hidden in the wall of one of his uncle’s houses.

Nicolás Escobar told Colombian media “a vision” indicated where to look for the money in the apartment where he lives in the city of Medellín.

He said it was not the first time he found money in places where his uncle used to avoid capture, as Escobar reportedly hid millions in properties.

He died in a police shootout in 1993.

At the peak of his career Escobar was said to be the seventh richest person on the planet.

Rumours of Escobar’s hidden fortunes have circulated in Medellín since his death, after he spent decades waging war against the Colombian state to prevent his extradition to the United States.

Nicolás Escobar

told Colombian TV channel Red+ Noticias he had also found a typewriter, satellite phones, gold pen, a camera and a film roll yet to be developed.

“Every time I sat in the dining room and looked towards the car park, I saw a man entering the place and disappearing,” he said.

“The smell [inside] was astonishing. A smell 100 times worse than something that had died.”

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionPablo Escobar reportedly hid money in numerous properties in Medellín

Some of decades-old banknotes were decayed and no longer usable, said Nicolás Escobar, who has been living in the apartment for the last five years.

In the interview, he said he accompanied his uncle on many occasions, and that he was once kidnapped by individuals looking for Escobar’s whereabouts: “I was tortured for seven hours. Two of my workers were attacked with a chainsaw.”

media captionPablo Escobar’s fortress demolished

Who was Pablo Escobar?

Escobar was born in Rionegro, Colombia in 1949 and established a drug cartel in Medellín in the 1970s.

At its most active, the gang supplied an estimated 80% of the cocaine smuggled into the United States.

His wealth catapulted him into the Forbes list of global billionaires for seven years.

After the US issued an extradition order, Escobar resisted capture and his gang targeted politicians, the police and journalists.

After he was arrested in 1991, Escobar was housed in a prison of his own design, nicknamed the Cathedral, where he continued to oversee the Medellín Cartel.

In all, Escobar is thought to be responsible for some 4,000 deaths.

But his humble roots made him popular among some Colombians whose support he cultivated by giving out large amounts of cash and investing in poor neighbourhoods in Medellín.

media captionMany Colombians adore the convicted underworld boss Escobar despite his many crimes.

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  • Drugs trade
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Disabled veteran’s only bathroom in disrepair, Builders Care raising money for renovations

A Vietnam veteran and his wife who live on Jacksonville’s northside could use your help. Their only bathroom is in disrepair. They’ve been bathing out of their sink.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Vietnam veteran and his wife who live on Jacksonville’s northside could really use your help. Their only bathroom is in disrepair and they have had to bathe out of their sink.

“This is our shower that’s just falling down,” Brenda Tuten said.

For two years she and her husband Frank Tuten, a disabled veteran, haven’t been able to use the only shower in their house.

“It’s been hard because I’ve been having to wash with a pan at the bathroom sink,” Frank Tuten said. “It’s been a very big struggle washing up.”

“It’s hard for him to get over the tub because he had a stroke on his right side,” Brenda Tuten explained. “If I wash my hair I have to go in the kitchen sink and try to stick my head under the kitchen faucet, and if I lean my head too far I get really dizzy like I’m going to pass out.”

When the nonprofit Builders Care found out about the condition of their bathroom, Executive Director Justin Brown said they felt compelled to help.

“The Fraternal Order of Police ended up contacting us to help with their roof. The police were putting on a new roof, and we built a wheelchair ramp,” Brown said. “I hadn’t even gone in the house. Last month people said you need to go see their bathroom, so I went in and it’s their only bathroom and I said ‘Oh my gosh! We have to rectify this immediately.’ It is so heartbreaking and devastating.”

A large hole above the shower exposes the attic. 

“The ceiling pretty well fell down in the tub and right now the shower is not working. It’s not really safe because you don’t know what’s falling out of that ceiling,” Brenda Tuten explained. “We put this pan into the sink and then use a liquid soap and pour soap in there and stir it and take a wash rag and we wipe with it.”

Builders Care is now trying to raise $10,000 to remodel the Tuten’s bathroom and pay for them to stay in a hotel during the renovations, which the nonprofit plans to start next week.

“I basically said if we get $3,000 we are starting it. It’s probably about a $10,000 job, but we are going to be able to get volunteers to come help us out,” Brown said. “We started an online fundraiser on Facebook and immediately we had $800 within a few hours.”

The Tutens are grateful for the support.

“We really appreciate what they do for us, and it would be a miracle to have a walk-in shower,” Brenda Tuten said.

“It’s the nicest thing we’ve ever had done,” Frank Tuten said.

If you would like to donate to help renovate the Tuten’s bathroom visit Builders Care Facebook page. The nonprofit

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Weary of cooking? Here’s how to save money and add fun

A discount grocery store like Aldi is worth a trip if you’re cooking more than usual and money is tight.

A discount grocery store like Aldi is worth a trip if you’re cooking more than usual and money is tight.

File photo

One good thing that has come out of the pandemic is that more people have been flexing their culinary skills. Whether you’re making an effort to minimize your footprint in grocery stores, avoiding dine-in establishments, or working from home and have some time on your hands without a commute, you may be among the masses who have taken up the fine art of cooking. Here are a few ideas to get creative in the kitchen.

Recipe exchange

This tradition has once again risen in popularity as people look for new things to make for their families. Apps like Allrecipes or Tasty are great ways to access an online network of recipes you can share, or start one of your own with friends and family through your favorite chat app.

Home-grown produce

If the idea of frequenting grocery stores right now doesn’t give you the best vibe, you’re not alone. Many farmers markets, fruit and vegetable stands and produce exchanges are still open, which can be a nice alternative in the fresh outdoor air. Stock up and look up some veggie-based meals, and you can extend your grocery run for much longer. Plus, you’ll have some healthy options for your family to enjoy.

Get choosy with grocery runs

Many kids have been home much more than usual, which means your pantry is likely running low quickly. If that sounds like your current situation, your grocery budget may start to take a serious hit.

If you aren’t already trying a budget-friendly grocery option, now’s the time to consider it. Plus, many discount grocers rotate items on their shelves weekly, so you can try new things each week. Put convenience aside for the time being if you don’t have a location nearby and make a trip. It’s worth it for the savings.

Whether you’re getting the itch to have some fun in the kitchen or are looking to mix up your weekly meal menu, give these wallet-friendly alternatives a try.

Kat’s Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, visit http://communityamerica.com.

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