A Brooklyn blogger uncovered evidence of Paul Manafort’s alleged money laundering months ago

Special counsel Robert Mueller may have had some help investigating President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, through an unlikely source: a blogger in Brooklyn, brand-new York.

along with the item’s all because Manafort wasn’t a very not bad neighbor.

“I noticed This kind of brownstone, the item was definitely dilapidated, the item had a lot of construction debris,” said Katia Kelly, who runs a neighborhood blog called Pardon Me for Asking. “the item was just like gee, poor neighbors.”

which’s how Kelly first noticed a property owned by Manafort which would certainly turn out to be evidence of an alleged multimillion-dollar money laundering scheme. Kelly wrote about how she traced ownership of the property in an article she published in February.

The Intercept, an online news outlet, cited Kelly’s article shortly after the item was published. After the indictment, Kelly’s story was cited by publications including Vanity Fair.

After a neighbor tipped her off to the news which Manafort owned the home, Kelly tried to prove the item. The task wasn’t easy, she said, because most of the transactions were conducted by limited liability companies.

The property was purchased by a corporate vehicle named “MC Brooklyn Holdings LLC,” according to an indictment unsealed Monday.

Eventually, Kelly was able to find a permit with Manafort’s name on the item.

Some of the details Kelly found seemed odd, she said. For instance, the mortgage on the home exceeded the market value of the property in its dilapidated state.

“I don’t know what to make of all of This kind of,” she wrote within the blog. “Maybe one of my readers can interpret these transactions?”

Her post was the subject of a not bad amount of chatter in her Brooklyn community, she said. At one point, Kelly said, she was approached by two young lawyers who told her which what she uncovered looked very strange. Those two attorneys, Julian Russo along with Matthew Termine, published their research on their own website.

On Monday, Manafort surrendered to law enforcement authorities to face charges, including some related to his ownership of the Brooklyn brownstone. The Justice Department’s indictment has 12 counts against the former Trump campaign official, including conspiracy to launder money. Manafort’s business associate Rick Gates also was indicted.

Manafort along with Gates both pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Kelly will be proud of her role within the investigation. In her latest article, published Tuesday, she wrote which someone placed a sign on the brownstone designating the item “The House which Brought Down A President.”

“I have to say which I probably didn’t realize which my little blog post was going to go ahead along with have a part in a national investigation,” she said. “right now which I know, I feel kind of proud of myself, along with my kids are proud of me.”

Here’s what the federal indictment had to say about the Brooklyn brownstone:

“Also in 2012, MANAFORT — through a corporate vehicle called “MC Brooklyn Holdings, LLC” similarly owned by him along with his family — bought a brownstone on Union Street within the Carroll Gardens section of Brooklyn, brand-new York. He paid approximately $3,000,000 in cash for the property. All of which money came through a MANAFORT entity in Cyprus. After purchase of the property, MANAFORT began renovations to transform the item through a multi-family dwelling into one particular family home. In late 2015 through early 2016, MANAFORT sought to borrow cash against the property. The institution MANAFORT went to for the loan provided greater loan amounts for 22 “construction loans” — which will be, loans which required the loan amounts to be used to pay solely for construction of the property therefore increase the value of the property serving as the loan’s collateral. The institution would certainly thus loan money against the expected completed value of the property, which within the case of the Union Street property was estimated to be $8,000,000. In early 2016, MANAFORT was able to obtain a loan of approximately $5,000,000, after promising thebank which approximately $1,400,000 of the loan would certainly be used solely for construction of the Union Street property. However, MANAFORT never intended to limit use of the proceeds to construction as required by the loan contracts. In December 2015, before the loan was made, MANAFORT wrote his tax preparer, among others, which the construction loan “will allow me to pay back the [another Manafort apartment] mortgage in full. …” Further, when the construction loan closed, MANAFORT used hundreds of thousands of dollars through the construction loan to make a down payment on another property in California.”

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