“Come and make your pitch to me,” Roy Cohn told Roger Stone when they met at a New York dinner party in 1979. Stone, though only 27, had achieved a degree of notoriety as one of Richard Nixon’s political dirty-tricksters. At the time, he was running Ronald Reagan’s presidential-campaign organization in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, and he needed office space.
Stone appeared on East 68th Street to find Cohn, just awakened, in his robe, sitting with one of his clients, Mob boss “Fat Tony” Salerno, of the Genovese crime family. “In front of [Roy] was a slab of cream cheese and three burnt slices of bacon,” Stone remembered. “He ate the cream cheese with his pointing finger. He listened to my pitch and said, ‘You need to see Donald Trump. I will get you in, but then you are on your own.’ ”
“I went to see him,” Stone told me, “and Trump said, ‘How do you get Reagan to 270 electoral votes?’ He was very interested [in the mechanics]—a political junkie. Then he said, ‘O.K., we are in. Go see my father.’ ” Out Stone went to Avenue Z, in Coney Island, and met Fred Trump in his office, which was crowded with cigar-store Indians. “True to his word, I got $200,000. The checks came in $1,000 denominations, the maximum donation you could give. All of these checks were written to ‘Reagan For President.’ It was not illegal—it was bundling. Check trading.” For Reagan’s state headquarters, the Trumps found Stone and the campaign a decrepit town house next to the ‘21’ Club. Stone was now, like Donald Trump, inside the Cohn tent.Vanity Fair