Donald Trump rents his own apartment to indicted cocaine trafficker

The Trump Timeline

Sources linked at end of page.


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In October, the Justice Department indicted Joseph “Joe” Weichselbaum and his associates on 18 counts related to cocaine and marijuana trafficking in Florida, Kentucky, Ohio, and other states. Less than three months later, sometime in January, Donald Trump rents out his own apartment to Weichselbaum.

For the next two years, Weichselbaum lives in a two-bedroom unit in Trump Plaza, a unit which Trump owns himself. He makes his rent payments to “Donald J. Trump.” Trump is aware of the indictment; Trump’s Castle executive Nancy Bauer later testifies that Weichselbaum informed her and other executives about the case in October.

It’s unclear when Trump and Weichselbaum’s paths first crossed, but legal documents claim their business relationship began in 1984, five years after the trafficker was convicted for grand theft auto and embezzlement.

Weichselbaum was hired to maintain Trump’s private helicopter a black Eurocopter AS332 Super Puma named Ivana and manage a helicopter service Damin Aviation owned by him and his brother Franklin. They were getting paid more than $2 million a year for ferrying high rollers to and from Trump’s casinos. 


It’s possible that Weichselbaum was the cocaine supplier for Trump’s casinos.

Some of Weichselbaum’s other friends include mafia narcotics trafficker Joseph “Joey Ip” Ippolito, Florida mob associate Daniel “Fat Danny” Laratro, and Colombia drug smugglers Francisco and Walter Ramirez.

Trump continues renting to him until he goes to prison in January 1988. Trump also continues paying Weichselbaum’s Damin Aviation even after the company goes bankrupt.

Weichselbaum pleads guilty to two felony counts and avoids going to trial. Trump writes a character reference for him and continues to be associate with him when he’s out of prison.

While Weichselbaum’s confederates got as many as 20 years, Weichselbaum himself got only three, serving 18 months before he was released from the urban prison that the Bureau of Prisons maintains in New York City. In seeking early release, Weichselbaum said Trump had a job waiting for him.

Weichselbaum then moved into Trump Tower, his girlfriend having recently bought two adjoining apartments there for $2.4 million. The cash purchase left no public record of whether any money actually changed hands or, if it did, where it came from. I asked Trump at the time for documents relating to the sale; he did not respond… Trump, in his phone call to me, said he “hardly knew” Weichselbaum.

David Cay Johnston, Politico

External Sources

The Smoking Gun (Archived)

D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Board – PDF

Spooky Connections (Archived)

Slate (Archived)

The Daily Beast (Archived)

Politico (Archived)

Photo: Neal Boenzi—The New York Times/Redux via TIME

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