House of corruption: Ex-Trump staffer used C’Gardens home to deceive government, special counsel alleges

What a Russian! Carroll Gardeners react to Trump bigwig’s digs

President Trump’s former campaign chairman allegedly used his Carroll Gardens brownstone to launder money, evade taxes on income he earned as a consultant for Ukranian officials, and as collateral for illegal loans, according to an indictment released on Monday by the special counsel investigating collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Paul Manafort bought his home on Union Street between Smith and Hoyt streets for $3 million in cash in 2012, using money that was not reported to the federal government, which he withdrew from a Cyprus-based company that he controlled, according to the indictment.

He then took out a $5-million loan on the residence in 2016, which he told lenders would be used to complete its conversion from a multi-dwelling building into a single-family home. But instead Manafort used the funds to make a down payment on a California property and pay off the mortgage on another, violating the loan agreement’s terms, the indictment alleged.

“[It] will allow me to pay back the [another Manafort apartment] mortgage in full…” Manafort wrote to his tax preparer about the loan before it was made, the indictment said.

The former Trump campaign head allegedly accelerated work on the property in the past month to make it appear as if he was using the borrowed money for its intended purpose, according to a Daily Beast report.

The brownstone first caught locals’ attention after the publisher of neighborhood blog Pardon Me For Asking revealed its owner in February, following an investigation into the property’s records that was spurred by a tip from a nearby resident. Construction material littered the building’s front yard since late 2015, according to the blog, but some peeved locals claimed it was empty and being renovated for as many as four years, the New York Post later reported, prompting Manafort to tell the paper that he hired a new architect and expected to finish the work by the end of the year.

In March, someone plastered a sign with a Russian flag and cyrillic-inspired characters declaring “Paul Manafort lives here” on a wall in front of the house, and when the Brooklyn Paper paid a visit, a woman who claimed to be the architect was sitting on the front steps and threatened to call the police when this reporter began asking questions standing on a public sidewalk.

The Carroll Gardens home is one of several the Feds allege Manafort used to funnel unreported money into the country and deceive the United States government. If he is convicted, the brownstone will be seized.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at lgill@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Indicted: Paul Manafort ran President Donald Trump's election campaign from mid-May to mid-August 2016.
Associated Press / Matt Rourke