I'm Right Again Dot Com
A new commentary every Wednesday - March 22 , 2017
Trump Tower Baku—Take Two
On June 8th of 2016, I published an article titled "Trump Tower Missing." I was writing about an empty, 33-story luxury hotel and condo 'way out in the low- rent district of Baku, Azerbaijan—once a part of the USSR—under the control of President for Life Ilham Aliyev. He is the son of former President Haydar Aliyev, and has appointed his wife Vice President. Take from that lead whatever you wish.
Here's how the dots begin to connect: The Aliyevs are very close friends with the Mammadov family, headed by patriarch Ziya Mammadov, a billionaire and Minister of Transportation of Azerbaijan, a highly lucrative post that Haydar Aliyev provided by arranging for Ziya's appointment. (Ziya Mammadov is known to have become a multi-billionaire on an annual salary of $12,000.) Their construction company wins a lot of contracts.
That teardrop-shaped structure out in the boonies of Baku has one outstanding feature: a great, lighted sign on top that spells T-R-U-M-P. It allegedly cost the builder and developing partners of the yet-to-open Trump Tower, billions of dollars for that sign. The costs, funneled through a corporation called Baku XXI, are still spiraling upward as Ivanka Trump oversees every detail of a gigantic overhaul of the concept of the building from less hotel to more luxurious condo apartments. This could turn out to be a good thing for all parties concerned. But maybe not. The decidedly modest shops, hookah parlors and rental apartments that surround it, are hardly what can be termed middle-class, even in Baku.
Under a licensing and management agreement with the Trump family, the Ziya Mammadov family has some sort of arms-length agreement that supposedly keeps Donald and company clear of any corruptive influence in the currently failing enterprise—namely of breaking a stricture of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977—one that calls for continual conscious avoidance by any American company of any hint of a payoff to or between corrupt officials with whom they are doing business. Trump's attorneys assured New Yorker magazine reporter Adam Davidson that Trump, Inc. is in full compliance with the FCP act. It had better be.
Last month, Radio Free Europe broadcast a claim that one of the groups of stockholders in Baku XXI Century is the Iranian Republican Guard, known to be under the direct control of the Death to America Ayatollas. It is guilty of exporting violence all across the Middle East. There has been no word yet from the US to confirm or deny what may turn out to be Fake News. Still, the accusation threatens to become another big headache for the Trumps.
Since current Trump tax filings are not available, Trump's profit and loss numbers for Trump Tower Baku so far, are whatever Ivanka Trump says the are.
According to a recent visitor to Baku, the problem for Trump Tower Baku is its location miles from the high rent district favored by the Aliyevs and Mammadovs and droves of tourists who prefer to stay near the Baku Marriot and the streets with the expensive restaurants and shops, downtown. The ongoing re-do by the Trumps is meant to change all that. They've escaped often enough from numerous other situations that threatened a doomsday.
The supposed administrator of the dummy corporation owning the hotel is Anar Mammadov, a student in England whose hobby is purchasing every make of top Italian sports car. He reportedly flies back and forth to school in the UK in a private Gulfstream G-40 jet.
According to New Yorker magazine, which is monitoring the situation, Azerbaijani Senator Elton Mammadov, also a billionaire, signed the licensing and managerial agreements with the Trumps.
Surely this is going to be an ongoing story worthy of continued interest. Google and I have little else to do but keep you posted.
-Phil Richardson, Observer of the human condition and storyteller. "He goes doddering on into his old age, making a public nuisance of himself." - Joseph L. Mencken
Miguel: Narcotrafficante The life of a narcotics trafficker for one of Mexico's brutal drug cartels. Available in paperback or for any computer, including Kindle eReader—Only from http://www.amazon.com (Enter "miguel: narcotraficante" in the Amazon.com search window). Sample it free.
Shop Amazon Fire TV - Say it. Watch it.
Our unending thanks to Jim Bromley, who programs our Archive of Prior Commentaries
Learn About the Savings with Prime from Amazon.com