Politics

Bank CEO Accused Of Accelerating Manafort Loan Approvals

Federal Savings Bank‘s chief executive Steve Calk is being accused of helping Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, secure loans in exchange for a post in the Trump administration.

Reuters, citing the trial Friday (August 10), reported Dennis Raico, a former executive at Chicago-based Federal Savings Bank, testified that Calk was interested in Treasury secretary or Housing and Urban Development secretary.  Under immunity, Raico testified that the CEO took a “personal interest” in the loan applications and ensured they were speeded through the process. In one case a loan was approved the day after a call with Manafort on July 27, 2016, in which Calk made clear the role he wanted in the White House. “I knew Steve was interested politics,” Raico said. He said Calk called Manafort shortly after Trump won the election to inquire about being a candidate for HUD or Treasury Secretary, which made Raico uncomfortable. He also said he never saw loans be approved so quickly at the bank. The two loans in question are a $9.5 million mortgage on a Hamptons estate and a $6.5 million loan for a Brooklyn brownstone. Prosecutors contend Manafort provided false information including his income to get the loans. Raico testified that Manafort’s partner Rick Gates didn’t know about the loans. Gates has been cooperating with the investigation since cutting a plea deal with prosecutors.

According to the report, Manafort later asked Trump’s White House to consider naming Calk Secretary of the Army. Calk didn’t get a position in the administration but was named to a Trump campaign advisory panel in August 2016, noted the report. A spokeswoman for Federal Savings did not respond to requests for comment. Calk declined to comment, according to the report. On Monday Greg Andres, a prosecutor on U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team, plans to call James Brennan, a vice president at Federal Savings Bank who was also given immunity, and two other witnesses before the case is rested, noted the report.

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