Michael Cohen must be the most gifted consultant in America

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  1. SueEllenRules!

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    Michael Cohen Must Be the Most Gifted Consultant in America
    The four corporations that hired Cohen’s shell company claim they were paying for his “insights” into government, “health-care policy,” “real estate,” and “accounting advice.” Who knew the president’s lawyer was such a renaissance man?


    On Tuesday afternoon, Michael Avenatti, the attorney for adult-film star Stormy Daniels, claimed that a shell company set up by Donald Trump’s personal lawyer to funnel hush-money to Daniels had also received more than $2 million from several multi-nationals with business before the Trump administration, not to mention an investment firm with ties to a Russian oligarch. Almost immediately, multiple media outlets including CNN, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal confirmed the payments, leaving the companies little choice but to cop to having written very large checks to Cohen’s fortuitously-named Essential Consultants LLC.

    Their excuses for doing so are not particularly good. Essential Consultants LLC is not really a company, just like Michael Cohen is not exactly a lawyer. The shell company, which Cohen set up in Delaware shortly before the election to silence Daniels, does not appear to have a Web site or any employees. (Financial records describe it as a “real-estate consulting company that collects fees for investment-consulting work.”) Cohen, meanwhile, has so few clients that federal prosecutors recently challenged him in court to prove that he really is a lawyer, and not merely the president’s fixer. (To do so, Cohen named Trump, Republican lobbyist Elliott Broidy, and Fox News host Sean Hannity as clients, the latter of whom effectively denied that Cohen had ever done any real work for him.) In fact, Cohen’s main business interests appear to be flipping real estate, setting up medical companies that are later indicted for insurance fraud, buying and selling taxi medallions, and facilitating hush payments to women on behalf of Trump.

    So what exactly were multi-national conglomerates with hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue, and hundreds of thousands of employees, paying Cohen to do? In a statement, AT&T—which is currently fending off an anti-trust lawsuit by the Department of Justice—said that its $200,000 in payments were made in order to gain “insights into understanding the new administration” and that they involved “no legal or lobbying work for us.” The pharmaceutical giant Novartis AG said its $1.2 million payment with Cohen was “focused on U.S. health-care policy matters” and, in any event, the deal was struck by its former C.E.O., with its new C.E.O. having zero “involvement” in it. (“Wow—he’s a doctor as well!!” Avenatti wrote on Twitter. “Very talented guy this Mr. Cohen.”)

    Yes, it appears that Cohen is indeed a multi-talented renaissance man with “insights” into all sorts of industries. South Korea’s Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd (K.A.I.), which is currently bidding for a multi-billion-dollar contract with the U.S. Air Force, says it paid Cohen $150,000 for “accounting advice.” And Columbus Nova, the company whose biggest investor is owned by Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, has said it paid Cohen half a million dollars to act “as a business consultant regarding potential sources of capital and potential investments in real estate and other ventures.” All of the companies would like it to be known that their payments were of the legal variety. In fact, K.A.I. says, Essential Consultants LLC took pains to assure them that everything was aboveboard. “We received advice from Mr Cohen’s entity on local accounting standards and the payment to the entity was legal,” a spokesperson told the Financial Times. Case closed!

    As Bloomberg’s Timothy L. O’Brien notes, it could very well be true that K.A.I. paid Cohen for accounting advice; that Novartis paid him to help navigate health-care regulations and policy; that Columbus Nova paid him to ask the president to lift Obama-era economic sanctions; and that AT&T paid him for his brilliant insights. But is it probable? Not really.

    On Wednesday morning, Novartis released a new statement (their third) explaining that after one meeting with Cohen, they immediately determined that he would be “unable to provide the services that Novartis had anticipated related to US healthcare policy matters.” Unfortunately, the contract could only be terminated for cause, and so they kept paying Essential Consultants until the contract expired in February. Did Novartis know, before buying Cohen’s services, that his only experience in the healthcare industry was setting up sham medical companies? What did they think they were paying him $100,000 a month for?

    Here‘s what we know about Cohen: he’s a lawyer who went to the worst law school in America; who did very little recent legal work for anyone, including his biggest client, besides acting as a bagman; and whose talents as a self-described “fixer” are belied by the fact that he appears to have f**ked everything up. Again, it’s possible that these companies were willing to pay top dollar for his expertise in a variety of areas . . . but it’s not very likely.

    Michael Cohen Must Be the Most Gifted Consultant in America - Vanity Fair https://apple.news/A6R46InbrQ16rcnGEyPJqvQ
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
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