Aspen home used as bond collateral in Barrack’s criminal lobbying case
Former adviser to President Trump bought West Buttermilk home in 2017 for $15.5M
An Aspen home Thomas Barrack owns is being used as collateral for a $250 million bond connected to charges that the Trump ally engaged in illegal lobbying on behalf of the United Arab Emirates.
A deed of trust filed this week in Pitkin County was another indicator of the wealth and connections Barrack has tapped to keep him out of jail. It also was filed in advance of a virtual status hearing scheduled Thursday.
Authorities arrested Barrack, 74, on July 20 in California, on allegations that he acted as an UAE agent from April 2016 to April 2018 and used his clout to influence Trump. The chairman of the Trump 2016 Inaugural Committee, Barrack through his attorneys pleaded not guilty July 26 to charges that he didn’t register his work for the UAE, made false statements to the FBI, and committed obstruction.
Barrack made bail on July 23 after three nights in custody. His release came after he reached an agreement with the prosecution to put up $250 million to secure his future appearances. The deed of trust for Barrack’s 277 Eagle Park Drive home was filed Tuesday with the Pitkin County Clerk & Recorder’s Office.
Barrack already had put $5 million cash into a trust account held by one of the law firms defending him — Paul Hastings LLP — as well his stake of $150 million in Digital Bridge, an investment company formerly known as Colony Capital. The remaining $95 million to cover the bail is being secured by real estate — including homes that his ex-wife, Rachelle Barrack, son Thomas Barrack III, and associate Jonathan Grunzweig have put up as collateral, according to court documents.
If Barrack were to violate his bond conditions by fleeing the country, for instance, the federal government could take the properties used as collateral and he’d lose his shares in Digital Bridge.
On July 22, Barrack signed off on a court agreement that stated: “I will not sell the property, allow further claims to be made against it, or do anything to seduce its value while this appearance bond is in effect.”
Release conditions limit Barrack’s travel to within the geographic court circuits of the Central District of California, the Eastern District of New York, and the Southern District of New York.
“Written advanced notice shall be provided to government of all itineraries not less than three business days in advance of travel between these districts,” according to a July 23-dated order signed by Magistrate Judge Patricia Donahue of the Central District of California in Los Angeles.
Release conditions also forced Barrack to surrender his passport and travel documents, and he also cannot have contact with the two co-defendants or officials from the UAE or Saudi Arabia.
One of the co-defendants is Aspen resident Matthew Grimes, 27, who allegedly reported directly to Barrack. He is free on $5 million bond after his parents reportedly put up their $2.5 million house in California as security and $2 million in retirement savings. He also has pleaded not guilty.
The third person indicted was Rashid al-Malik Alshahhi, an UAE businessman. He remains at large after fleeing the U.S. three days after the FBI interviewed him in 2018, according to prosecutors.
“The defendants repeatedly capitalized on Barrack’s friendships and access to a candidate who was eventually elected President, high-ranking campaign and government officials, and the American media to advance the policy goals of a foreign government without disclosing their true allegiances,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Lesko in a statement on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice when the indictments were announced in July. “The conduct alleged in the indictment is nothing short of a betrayal of those officials in the United States, including the former President. Through this indictment, we are putting everyone — regardless of their wealth or perceived political power — on notice that the Department of Justice will enforce the prohibition of this sort of undisclosed foreign influence.”
Barrack bought his Aspen house for $15.5 million in November 2017. The 10,859-square-foot structure is located in the West Buttermilk area. The real estate websites Trulia and Zillow gave it an estimated value of $23.3 million as of Wednesday.
“The court may order this appearance bond ended at anytime.This bond will be satisfied and the security will be released when either: (1) the defendant is found not guilty on all charges, or (2) the defendant reports to serve a sentence,” according to court records.
The case is based in the Eastern District of New York, Brooklyn.
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