The charges against Paul Manafort include “conspiracy against the United States,” laundering foreign money, tax and bank fraud, and failing to register as a foreign agent—but no one would accuse him of being cheap. Donald Trump’s former campaign chair spent unfathomable sums of money on rugs, boxy suits, and ostrich-leather and “blue lizard” jackets.
To help feed this lavish lifestyle, US federal prosecutors believe Manafort stretched the truth with his apartment on Howard Street in Manhattan. He called it a “second home” while applying for a loan, when in fact it was almost always available for rent on Airbnb.
Federal prosecutors believe Manafort falsely identified the Howard condo as a second home, instead of a rental property, to increase the size of a loan he took out against the property. Darin Evenson, Airbnb’s director of customer experience for North America, testified Aug. 9 that the condo was almost always available on Airbnb between January 2015 and April 2016, the Washington Post reported.
During that time the listing only came down twice. The first break was from Oct. 27, 2015 through Nov. 20, 2015. The second was from Feb. 26, 2016 to March 26, 2016, when Manafort was negotiating for the loan. (The bank eventually gave him one for $3.2 million.)
Manafort purchased the property in 2012 through “MC Soho Holdings, LLC,” a corporate vehicle owned by him and his family. He paid around $2.85 million for it, using money from Manafort entities in Cyprus, where he had millions in offshore accounts. The property’s Airbnb listing was for an “Amazing full floor loft in SoHo.”
Two guests rented the condo for four nights for $1,971 in January 2015, the Washington Post said. Five spent $16,325 to stay there for three weeks that June. Evenson said he didn’t know off the top of his head how many total nights the condo was rented for in 2015 and 2016.