Phil Ruffin defends standard $ 28 million payment to Trump
Billionaire casino mogul Phil Ruffin disputes that there was something unusual about a multi-million dollar payment that the Las Vegas hotel he co-owns with President Donald Trump made to the Republican candidate when of the 2016 elections.
The New York Times published an article on Friday examining the single payment to Trump as part of its ongoing coverage of the President’s tax returns. The story claimed that Trump was in desperate need of the money as he self-funded his 2016 campaign.
The story builds on a 2019 Kansas City Star story in which Ruffin revealed hotel paid Trump $ 28 million in 2016 for the return costs.
The New York Times article says the total payment was $ 21 million based on Trump’s tax returns, but in an interview with The Star Friday, Ruffin continued to claim the amount was $ 28 million. of dollars.
Ruffin, who grew up in Wichita, said the money was for licensing fees the hotel owed Trump as part of their joint venture.
“It’s a fee we owe him and the property is owed to him, so he’s been paid. What he did with the money, I don’t know, ”Ruffin said Friday. “It’s his money. … He accrued these charges over a 10-year period and did not claim them until the property was paid off. It’s a good thing.
Ruffin first disclosed the payment in 2019 when former Trump attorney Michael Cohen was questioned during a House Oversight Committee hearing on payments from a Kansas businessman.
Ruffin lives in Las Vegas, but has holdings in Kansas, including Wichita Greyhound Park and Woodlands Racecourse in Kansas City, Kansas.
“It was a Trump hotel and Trump is valuable. It’s a charge that we accepted when we built this damn thing, ”Ruffin said on Friday, disputing the characterization that the payments were unusual and saying the Marriott brand would have been more expensive.
“I don’t know what they’re trying to dig up, but they’re on the wrong track. Our records showed that we owed him money.
The payment took place in 2016, the same year Trump was elected president.
Ruffin said he didn’t know what Trump had done with the money, but was skeptical that his longtime friend and business partner would have put him in his presidential campaign.
“It would be crazy to do that,” Ruffin said. “It was his money. He can do whatever he wants with it.
The New York Times article notes that Ruffin was a major contributor to Trump’s campaign and his inauguration, donating more than $ 2.5 million.
The Times reported end of September this Trump only paid $ 750 in federal taxes in 2016 and 2017. The newspaper also said it appeared to be responsible for more than $ 400 million in loans, with most maturing by 2024.
Trump’s scale of debt has raised concerns that Trump will face undue pressure from creditors during his second term if he is re-elected.
“It will be a very close election this year,” Ruffin said. “For four years, he has had the media against him, but we are for him. We still think he can win, but it will be tight.