Federal Savings denies quid pro quo with Manafort

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The CEO of The Federal Savings Bank, Steve Calk, is denying a news report that he was part of a quid pro quo arrangement with former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is looking into whether Manafort promised Calk a job in the White House in return for three separate home loans, worth a total of $16 million, NBC News reported Wednesday, citing two anonymous sources said to have direct knowledge of the matter.

A spokeswoman for the bank, which is based in Chicago, denied the claims.

“The Federal Savings Bank is aware of recent press reports attributed to unnamed ‘sources’ implying that Paul Manafort obtained loans in exchange for a promise of a position in the Trump Administration,” the spokeswoman said in a email to American Banker. “Those reports are simply not true.”

Calk and Manafort worked on President Trump’s campaign. The CEO of the $341 million-asset Federal Savings joined the campaign as an economic adviser in August 2016. The same month, Manafort resigned from his position as campaign chair, after coming under scrutiny for working for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.

After leaving the campaign, Manafort created a company called Summerbreeze LLC, which took out a $9.5 million loan in December 2016 from Federal Savings. The loan was collateralized by two separate properties in the Hamptons and in Alexandria, Va., according to the report.

A month later, Manafort and his wife also took out two mortgages, for $5.3 million and $1.2 million, for a brownstone in Brooklyn, the report said.

According to NBC, bank executives raised questions about the loans, and at least one employee who felt pressured to approve the loans is cooperating with the special counsel’s office.

Calk has not received a job in the Trump administration.

Manafort was one of several former campaign advisers who were indicted by Mueller’s office in October, as part of a sweeping investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 election. He pleaded not guilty to money laundering and other charges.

In court documents filed Friday, Mueller’s office said investigators have uncovered new evidence of bank fraud.

Federal Savings has been “fully cooperating” with the special counsel and will continue to do so, the spokeswoman said.

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