President Donald Trump's son, Eric, denied on May 7 that he said the Trump golf courses had been funded by Russian loans.
Golf writer James Dodson told WBUR on May 5 that he met the Trump clan in 2014:
I knew Trump was very interested in golf.I knew he was buying up golf courses. His M.O. was to find a financially distressed property, buy it, keep it in bankruptcy, do a half-a-million-dollar renovation, fire the entire staff and hire a third back.
This PR guy kept calling me and inviting me. And he kept saying things like, "Oh, Donald Trump loves your books." And I kept saying, "Donald Trump doesn’t read books, I’m told. And he hadn’t a clue who I am." Anyway, he called three or four times. Finally, I said yes.
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Dodson recalled going to the Trump National Golf Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the big meeting:
Greg Norman was gonna show up, and he and Trump were gonna play the first nine of the course. I was gonna play with Eric, his son, a local congressman and the guy I assumed was his bodyguard. And then we would swap at the nine holes. I would play with Trump and Greg, and then we would have a big lunch and hear all about the club.
Dodson said he asked the future president how he was funding his golf course purchases, and made the same inquiry to Eric:
Trump was strutting up and down, talking to his new members about how they were part of the greatest club in North Carolina. And when I first met him, I asked him how he was -- you know, this is the journalist in me -- I said, "What are you using to pay for these courses?" And he just sort of tossed off that he had access to $100 million.
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So when I got in the cart with Eric, as we were setting off, I said, "Eric, who’s funding? I know no banks -- because of the recession, the Great Recession -- have touched a golf course. You know, no one’s funding any kind of golf construction. It’s dead in the water the last four or five years."
And this is what he said. He said, "Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia." I said, "Really?" And he said, "Oh, yeah. We’ve got some guys that really, really love golf, and they’re really invested in our programs. We just go there all the time." Now that was three years ago, so it was pretty interesting.
Speaking to the New York Post on May 7, Eric denied Dodson's story: "It’s a recollection from some guy three years ago through a third person."
"We own our courses free and clear," Eric added. He called the WBUR report "categorically untrue" and "complete garbage."
"We have zero ties to Russian investors," Eric said.