Tim Kaine is taking some right-wing heat for getting dinner with the son of lefty billionaire and top GOP villain George Soros.
“NEW SOROS SEED RISES: Tim Kaine Dines with Billionaire Son,” blared a Drudge Report headline.
It linked to a Breitbart News piece saying the pair broke bread as Trump’s rise “TERRIFIES WORLD ELITE.” But if Kaine is friendly with Alex Soros, it probably doesn’t compare to the good times Donald Trump has shared with Soros’s dad.
Over the years, the two billionaires have had tabloid-friendly professional dealings, teaming up to build one of North America’s most recognizable skyscrapers—and shared billing on a lawsuit over the sale of the most expensive building in New York City.
The two billionaires even palled around one Christmas Eve. None of this means Donald Trump is a covert George Soros puppet. But it’s already given some conservatives pause.
The pair’s relationship goes back more than a decade. In 2004, Soros lent Trump a cool $160 million to help with the construction of Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reported. At the time, some Chicagoans were skeptical that Trump would ever get his tower built. The project, after all, was yuuuge.
“It is such a huge project, and the prices he said he was getting were so outside the norm,” Robert Glickman, then the head of Chicago’s Corus Bank, told the Tribune. “It was reasonable to say, ‘Is this real?’”
Trump crowed about pre-sales of condos in the building.
“It’s a great tribute to Chicago, to the location and to a great design,” he said, according to the paper. “And, I guess, to Trump, when you think of it.”
The mogul was also very pleased about raising the funds to build the skyscraper.
“It’s a very expensive building to build because of the quality we are putting into it,” the Tribune reported him saying. “So people of course would say, ‘Gee, that’s a lot of money to raise.’”
“But for me, it’s not a lot of money,” he added. “You understand.”
It’s not a lot of money to raise when Soros has your back. According to Gizmodo, the tower is the Western Hemisphere’s second-tallest residence.
A few years later, another skyscraper brought Trump and Soros back together—but not in a good way. On Sept. 10, 2008, real estate developer Leslie Dick Worldwide Ltd. named both of them (along with 15 other defendants) in a lawsuit over the sale of the General Motors Building in Manhattan, as the trade publication Pensions & Investments reported.
Leslie Dick Worldwide alleged that the defendants engaged in a conspiracy of money laundering, bankruptcy fraud, and bid rigging when Trump and Conseco Finance contracted to sell the building in 2003, as The New York Sun detailed. The developer said Soros masterminded a scheme to keep it from buying the building, even though it outbid the eventual purchaser, Macklowe Properties Inc. Leslie Dick Worldwide’s complaint held that Soros gave Macklowe the funds to buy the building—which led to the allegations of money laundering.
And it said the process of selling the building was “permeated with fraud.” The New York Sun reported that when the building was sold, it bore the word TRUMP “in huge gold-colored letters.”
The lawsuit didn’t go anywhere. Court filings show a judge dismissed it “without prejudice” and that the case was terminated on Oct. 10, 2009. That means the plaintiff could file it again, but records show that hasn’t happened—making it a shared victory for Trump and Soros.
A few months later, the pair were together again. This time, it was at a Christmas Eve party hosted by economist Nouriel Roubini—dubbed “Dr. Doom” for predicting the 2008 housing collapse. The New York Post’s Page Six reported that the billionaires gabbed with Oliver Stone and Steve Schwarzman, currently the CEO of the Blackstone Group and a 2007 honoree on Time’s list of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.
In the years since then, Trump has shown little interest in bashing his old lender.
A search of tweets from the mogul mentioning Soros turns up zero results. And Trump even once encouraged conservatives to lay off the billionaire.
“Oh, forget Soros, leave him alone, he’s got enough problems,” Trump said at a 2011 Tea Party rally when one attendee yelled the billionaire’s name at him.
“He goes, ‘What about Soros!’” Trump continued. “Let’s talk about somebody else.”
Glenn Beck highlighted the exchange on his radio show and criticized Trump for his glibness.
Trump even nabbed a Team Soros alum for his finance team. His national finance chairman, Steven Mnuchin, has worked for the Soros-backed SFM Capital Management and for Soros Fund Management LLC, as the Center for Public Integrity noted in a report.
Soros, on the other hand, has not been as gracious. In January of this year, he said Trump was “doing the work of ISIS.”
While their “work” has diverged in recent years, it wasn’t too long ago the two even were politically like-minded. After all, in 2005, they both ponied up to help fund the re-election bid of then-Sen. Hillary Clinton.