on Garber, managed the medallions, but that arrangement ended in an ugly contract dispute. Though Cohen’s medallions are incredibly valuable, the taxi medallion business has taken body blows of late from the likes of Uber and Lyft. Freidman is now in a legal quagmire of his own over defaulted loans.
“He’s been very successful,” Steve Witkoff, CEO of Witkoff, said of Cohen’s taxi businesses. “I’m sure he got in early.”
Cohen’s been a Trump admirer since at least high school. In 2011, he told ABC that he’d read “The Art of the Deal” twice as a teenager.
“With Mr. Trump, I think he has developed a very close relationship and a deep loyalty for a man he considers sort of giant,” said Marc Kasowitz, another attorney who has worked for Trump for more than a decade. “Not just in the real estate business, but as an important figure in the U.S. and the world.”
From left: Stonehenge63 on the Upper East Side, 237 and 239 Henry Street on the Lower East Side, 235 East 27th Street in Kips Bay and 172 Rivington Street on the Lower East Side
Over the past two decades, Cohen has made several real estate deals of his own. He owns an Upper East Side rental building known as Stonehenge 63, which he bought from Ofer Yardeni in 2015 for $58 million. That same year, he sold three rental buildings at 237 Henry Street, 239 Henry Street and 235 East 27th Street for a combined $9.25 million. In 2014, he sold a rental building at 172 Rivington Street for $10 million.
He s one of those old-school people who, if he shakes your hand, the deal is done, said Richard Guarino, a broker at Friedman-Roth Realty Services who met Cohen in 2010 when selling him the Rivington Street property. He s an all-around good guy.
He’s also been a rabid bettor on Trump’s properties. He started with a Trump World Tower pad in 2001, and he convinced his parents and in-laws to buy there too, according to the New York Post. He later bought at Trump Palace And Trump Park Avenue.
Sources said Cohen first caught Trump’s eye when he began investing in his properties. Cohen clarified that Donald Trump Jr., who he got to know through his investments, recommended him as an attorney to his father. He joined the Trump Organization in 2006.
“He has invested in my buildings because he likes to make money – and he does,” Trump told the Post in 2007. “In short, he’s a very smart person.”
New year, new job
Good-looking in a former fraternity brother sort of way, with dark brown eyes, a symmetrical face, and a full head of lightly graying hair, Cohen is a practiced schmoozer. At a party the day before the inauguration, guests remarked that he’d have to get used to being in the limelight now that his boss had ascended to the nation’s highest office. He replied that Trump hired him because they share a similar personality; he’d be able to handle the extra attention.
But when it comes to talking to the media — when he doesn t want to — Cohen can be taciturn. In both phone and in-person interviews with TRD, Cohen paused for several seconds before answering in slow, deliberate sentences, as if dictating a legal brief to a sluggish typist. When asked what his new job will entail, Cohen answered: “Whatever is personal to him that necessitates handling.”
Witkoff noted that Cohen likely had other job opportunities over the years but chose to stay with Trump — a decision that has clearly paid off.
“He s trusted by the president because he s been with Donald for a long period of time,” Witkoff said. “That’s exactly the kind of person you want around you. He s fiercely protective of those who are his friends and those he represents.”
Before Cohen announced his new gig, some friends had speculated that he coveted the chief of staff position. At the time, Freidman said he hoped Cohen would stay with the Trump Organization to help Trump’s sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, keep the business running smoothly.
“I got children, and I’m a businessman,” Freidman said. “You love leaving your business to your children, but you always want at least one guy to stay around and make sure everything’s okay.”
But Cohen resigned from the Trump Organization to avoid any perceived conflicts of interest, and he denied that he ever went for the chief of staff gig.
The then-President-elect Donald Trump speaking at a Jan. 11 news conference at Trump Tower addressing conflicts of interest (Credit: Getty Images)
Kathleen Clark, a government ethics expert at Washington University in St. Louis, noted that keeping Cohen out of a White House position was likely a deliberate move by Trump to maintain attorney-client privilege with one of his most trusted employees.
“There s nothing more than an illusion of separation with Trump s businesses, she said.
As legal counsel at the Trump Organization, Cohen has primarily served as a liaison with other attorneys – he rarely appears in court himself, a review of Trump-related litigation shows. Instead, his role involves serving as Trump s fixer on a wide range of matters.
For example, he helped Trump manage Affliction Entertainment, a mixed martial arts entertainment company that collapsed in 2009, according to Politico. In 2012, when Trump was mulling a presidential run, Cohen launched a website, “Should Trump Run?” to gauge interest.
He s also frequently Trump s media enforcer. In 2013, he told the New Yorker that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman would probably have to resign after deciding to pursue a $40 million fraud lawsuit against Trump University. In 2015, a reporter at the Daily Beast got a taste of his wrath, when asking about a divorce deposition that accused Trump of raping ex-wife, Ivana Trump. At first, Cohen asserted that “you can’t rape your spouse.” When that line of argument didn’t work, he threatened the reporter.
“I’m warning you, tread very fucking lightly, because what I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting. You understand me?” He later apologized for the remarks.
“He’s taken his lumps now and then,” Stone said. “He’s not a politician. He’s a straight talker.”
Cohen shot to national fame in August after a heated exchange with a CNN reporter went viral. The reporter, Brianna Keilar, noted that Trump was down in the polls, prompting Cohen to respond with “Says who?” Keiler responded with “Polls. Most of them. All of them.” He again responded with “Says who?” At the time, the exchange was portrayed as the equivalent of an interrogation with a child who will only respond with “I
新爱上海同城对对碰论坛 know what you are, but what am I?”
Brianna Keilar and Michael Cohen on CNN in August 2016
Most recently, various media reports alleged that Cohen worked as a Russian collaborator, based on an unverified dossier that officials later confirmed referred to a different Michael Cohen.
“None of this bothers me at all,” Cohen told TRD. “Why worry about something that has no basis in truth? It’s just another attempt to malign a good man.”
During the 2016 campaign, Cohen helped lead Trump’s African-American outreach efforts and now serves as co-chair of the National Diversity Coalition for Donald Trump. The president has had a precarious — to say the least — relationship with the black community, punctuated by an endorsement from former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and his suggestion that a Black Lives Matter protester perhaps deserved to be “roughed up” by his supporters. But in September, Cohen gave a spirited speech in Trump’s defense at a church in Cleveland. Channeling Jimmy Cannon’s famous description of Joe Louis, he said Trump “believes that all people are part of one race, the human race.”
Cohen’s also shown a willingness to fight for himself. In July 2014, he tweeted angrily at American Airlines after a stewardess accidentally tore his Dolce Gabbana suit jacket. A month later, Cohen took aim at Hamptons landlord Ali Guy, suing him for renting him a Sagaponack home that Cohen alleged came with child-size beds and broken air-conditioning. Cohen permanently dropped the lawsuit in June 2016, but court documents provide a taste of what it s like to square off with him.
“As I warned you, I am not going to waste another second on this,” he wrote in an August email to Guy. “I will handle this the only way I know how. Be warned.”
In one exchange with Guy, the landlord told Cohen that he could simply open the windows. He also noted that the house was equipped with precisely the beds promised in his lease. He requested Cohen to not “threaten” him anymore, and ended the email with: “by the way, you got a bargain with this house.”
Eleven minutes later, Cohen replied: “If you want to sleep with the windows open, that’s your choice,” he wrote. “Don’t choose for me as you did by telling me to have my six-foot-tall 14-year-old to sleep in a bed for Lilliputians.”
The email ended with an exclamation right out of the book of Trump: “Your bargain is no bargain. Disgusting!”
Tags: Donald Trump, michael cohen, Politics, trump organization
We are having some technical difficulties. Try again later.