Donald Trump Gets Just A Little Richer Off Only Housing Program His Budget Doesn't Cut. No Conflict!

Funny, this one doesn't have a big gaudy 'TRUMP' on it. Can't imagine why.

Donald Trump's financial disclosure forms -- which, unlike his taxes, he has to release -- just keep giving pesky journalists all sorts of insights into how Lord Dampnut makes his money, like for instance from a teensy bit of tax dodging -- or dodgy taxes, maybe. And also from owning a big low-income housing complex in Brooklyn, which brings in a tidy several million dollars a year for Trump and his family from the federal government. Which he happens to run now! And wouldn't you know it, the only federal housing program that hasn't been slashed in Trump's budget plan just happens to be a program that makes direct payments to landlords like Donald Trump. But don't worry, it's not a conflict of interest, because it's only a few million a year, and Donald Trump doesn't even care about piddling little sums like that. What, you think he's greedy or something?

The complex, named Starrett City, was built in the 1970s; one of the investors was Fred Trump, Donald's father, who left Donald a 4% ownership share in the business. Trump made "at least $5 million between January of last year and April 15," as recorded in his financial disclosures. So it's not a huge part of Trump's income stream -- like most of us, he doesn't really need $5 million a year -- but it's steady. In fact, Trump was so tickled with that easy government money that he once said Starrett City was “one of the best investments I ever made,” although, as we mentioned a whole sentence back, his dad was the one who made the investment. Still, pretty smart of Donald to get born the son of a rich old racist, huh? Each of Trump's siblings also inherited a share in the ownership of Starrett City, too, so the government dollars keep flowing to the Trump family. Not a lot, but it helps.

Not that there's anything hinky about the fact that, in a budget that slashes funding for public housing by 29 percent ($1.8 billion), and Section 8 vouchers by 5 percent ($1 billion), the Trump plan for the landlord payments keeps spending at about the same level as last year. Scott Amey, the general counsel for good-government watchdog group the Project on Government Oversight, says “It certainly raises questions as to why that remained relatively flat while there were other cuts,” although he also cautioned that there's no direct evidence Trump's income was a factor in the decision not to cut the landlord subsidies. It may have just been a happy coincidence. And they certainly don't have to tell the likes of you, now do they? It's just a tiny portion of Trump's overall wealth, so why even worry about it? It's not like Donald Trump is a grifter who flies into a rage if he finds out he could have been making money off a kids cancer charity, so why would he care about his few million a year from this project?

Besides, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, whose sole qualification for running the housing agency is having once lived in public housing (although his welfare mom was not dependent on it) has reassured everyone that “no one is going to be thrown out on the street” by the proposed HUD budget cuts. That's a promise, just like Donald Trump's solemn vow that no one would lose their health insurance, so you know they'll back it up.

Also, as we already know, Donald Trump is very concerned about the needs of homeless and low-income people. Remember that one time he generously offered to make one of his luxury buildings available to house homeless tenants (for a nice infusion of public money) as part of a scheme to force out existing tenants who didn't want to leave their rent-controlled apartments?

We can't help but think maybe HUD is not necessarily the best-managed place, though, considering the secretary doesn't know beans about public housing, and also that the administration has now appointed Eric Trump's wedding planner to supervise public housing in the New York area. The WaPo article on Trump's public-housing subsidies also has some further details on the appointee, Lynne Patton, who blew wet kisses to the Trump family at last year's Republican convention, like that puzzling line on her resume that says she attended the "Quinnipiac University School of Law" where she pursued a "J.D. (N/A)." Turns out that's perfectly reasonable: "she explained that “N/A,” short for “not applicable,” was meant to signify that she did not finish law school." Wasn't that obvious?

Another interesting note about that WaPo story: It appears that the person who's now tasked with explaining everything about Ms. Patton is Armstrong Williams, Carson's best pal, top advisor, and longtime excuse-maker (and alleged manrasser, allegedly). He had all sorts of explanations for why Ms. Williams will make an excellent regional administrator for HUD, despite mostly working in the event-planning and professional schmoozing fields:

Patton has “been a lot of dark places” but has overcome them, Williams said. “She has a keen insight into people who overcome mental illness and addiction,” he said, adding that this will help her relate to people HUD serves.

Now that's reassuring, and doesn't at all sound like the kid who worked at McDonalds for a summer and then listed "Management-track employee for Fortune 500 corporation" on her resume. Yr Dok Zoom has been on several road trips of hundreds of miles each, and would therefore like to be Secretary of Transportation. We've also been stuck in a narrow airline seat next to a guy even fatter than we are, so we have a keen insight into the people served by the FAA.

WaPo cites several crackpots, like New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, who think maybe running a huge region's public housing bureaucracy might actually require some experience in government or housing, as de Blasio did when he held the same job a few years back, but Armstrong Williams has no patience for such negativity:

“Whatever Lynne Patton was in the past doesn’t matter,” he said. “What she is today matters, and Dr. Carson has tremendous trust in her.”

He said that neither the president nor anyone in the Trump family had urged Carson to recommend her for the position and that her closeness to the family was not a factor.

“It did not help her with Dr. Carson,” Williams said. “He was skeptical, too, just like anyone else. He didn’t realize she had the intellect and the knowledge and work ethic she has.”

Indeed. You might almost think Trump's loyal functionaries know who they should choose even without being told.

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[WaPo / Image by C-Monster on Flikr / Creative Commons]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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