Friday, May 27, 2011

Army report: Military has spent $32 billion since ’95 on abandoned weapons programs
By Marjorie Censer, Friday, May 27, 8:00 AM
The Army’s Comanche helicopter was envisioned as “the quarterback of the digital battlefield,” a technologically superior aircraft that could hide from enemies, operate at night and in bad weather, and travel farther than any other helicopter.

Gen. Richard Cody, a former vice chief of staff of the Army, called it the “most flexible, most agile” aircraft the country had ever produced.

In 2000, it ranked as the most important planned buy for the Army. Four years later, the program — which had consumed close to 20 years of work and nearly $6 billion — was abruptly shuttered.

It is one of 22 major Army weapons programs that have been canceled since 1995, ringing up a price tag of more than $32 billion for equipment that was never built. A new study commissioned by the Army, though not publicly released, condemns the service’s efforts as “unacceptable.”

The study is the latest indication that the Pentagon — and the defense industry, in turn — is undergoing a seismic shift in its approach to new programs. As pressures mounted in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military retreated from its ambitions of building multibillion-dollar, technologically superior systems. Instead, it was forced to make better use of tried-and-true equipment.

For almost a decade, the Defense Department saw its budgets boom — but didn’t make the kind of technological strides that seemed possible.

“Since 9/11, a near doubling of the Pentagon’s modernization accounts — more than $700 billion over 10 years in new spending on procurement, research and development — has resulted in relatively modest gains in actual military capability,” Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in an address last week.

That outcome, he said, is both “vexing and disturbing.”

Gone are the days of “no-questions-asked funding requests,” he said. The Defense Department must make do with less. It is focusing on fixing up older equipment and taking a more measured approach to weapon development.

The shifting strategies and a shrinking defense budget have triggered the biggest restructuring in the defense industry since the end of the Cold War. Contractors big and small have been rethinking their portfolios and buying and selling accordingly. Northrop Grumman, for instance, spun off its shipbuilding unit. And Robert J. Stevens, chief executive of Lockheed Martin, last week said the company’s workforce, which has shrunk by 20,000 since 2009, “may well continue to decline.”

While the defense industry has always had an unusual business model in which it’s hard to predict future needs, officials say an uncertain trade has become all the more so.

“We can invest and make a great product and set a good price point, but demand is completely out of our control,” said Linda Hudson, who heads BAE Systems’ Arlington-based U.S. operations.

In recent years, the Pentagon has killed off some of its most heralded — and most pricey — weapons programs, and many of those that remain are not certain to move forward. In some ways, this represents a market correction — and a realization that the Defense Department has to live within its means and buy weapons it can afford.

“We’ve had 10 years of wars. We’ve had a fair amount of money available to the department,” said Thomas Hawley, deputy undersecretary of the Army. “It’s just time now, with at least one war winding down and another we hope will be winding down and funding definitely coming down, to take a pause, relook where we are and go forward from there in a thoughtful way.”

Cold War mentality

As the Army began developing the Comanche helicopter in the 1980s, it was riding high on the success of what are known as the “big five” major weapons systems: the Abrams tank, Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, Apache attack helicopter, Black Hawk utility helicopter and Patriot missile system, all of which are used today.

The Army, launching the Comanche with the Cold War in mind, imagined a new kind of helicopter able to stealthily detect well-equipped enemies. After a complex acquisition process, the military commissioned the team of Boeing and Sikorsky to build the Comanche. The Army eventually settled on buying 650 Comanches for about $39 billion.

But as the Army entered unconventional wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it suddenly didn’t need the best, most capable system available; it simply needed aircraft — and fast.

“The Comanche helicopter was a good helicopter. . . . We hadn’t had one like that before,” Hawley said. “It just was eating so much of the budget.”

Nearly $6 billion was already spent, but the Army and the Pentagon agreed that if the program were canceled, the service could redirect the roughly $15 billion budgeted for the Comanche over the next seven years to aircraft already in production, such as Apache and Black Hawk helicopters and unmanned drones.

The Army ultimately bought hundreds of new helicopters and drones. It redirected $2.2 billion to Black Hawks, more than $2.2 billion to the successful Apache program and almost $1.5 billion to fixing older Chinook aircraft, according to Army budget documents.

The cancellations have not stopped there. The helicopter developed to replace Comanche — known as the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter program — was abandoned in 2008 after its price ballooned well past its budget. According to the Army study, that second effort cost another $535 million.

Shift to future combat

More recently, the Army experienced its steepest loss with the end of its Future Combat Systems (FCS) effort, billed as the Army’s most important and transformative modernization initiative. The complex program included a family of manned vehicles, a range of unmanned air and ground systems and sophisticated radios, all tied to a single network and intended to give soldiers a superior view of the battlefield. The idea was that the Army wouldn’t lose a fight if it could see everything its enemy was doing.

Launched at the tail end of the 20th century, the program faced serious technological failures. At the same time, Pentagon leaders, including Gates, began raising fundamental concerns about whether the systems would be successful in wars like Iraq, a campaign of hearts and minds in which the enemy fought amid a civilian population with unsophisticated but lethal weapons — the homemade bomb that could destroy a Humvee.

The FCS program was slowly dissolved. The loss was monumental — $19 billion as calculated in the Army’s new study, making it by far the single most expensive cancellation.

Explaining his decision to cancel the program in 2009, Gates called FCS “a revolutionary concept.”

“My experience in government is, when you want to change something all at once and create a whole new thing, you usually end up with an expensive disaster on your hands,” he said. “Maybe Google can do something revolutionary, but we don’t have the agility to do that.”

Gates set out to single-handedly upend the traditional idea of how the military develops and buys its largest weapons. In speeches around the country, he floated the “80 percent solution” of affordable systems that worked well enough — a sea change from the previous focus on the 99 percent “exquisite” platform.

He criticized the military, saying it had believed for far too long that “Iraq and Afghanistan were exotic distractions that would be wrapped up relatively soon,” meaning the services did not need to change their buying processes or dismantle long-range procurement plans.

And Gates has marched ahead. This year, he terminated the Marine Corps’s Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle and said the service would spend the money to fix up the equipment it was designed to replace.

At the same time, the military has directed ever more attention to burgeoning information technology areas, such as cybersecurity.

Systems of systems

The end of major weapons programs is clearly linked to the pressures on funding and demand created by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But analysts also point to the scope of the programs.

Loren Thompson, a defense industry consultant at the Lexington Institute, blames the failures on the complexity the military sought in modern programs. It was no longer content to build fairly straightforward weapons such as tanks or helicopters. Instead it sought to produce what it calls “systems of systems,” or weapons that include a wide array of other high-tech systems.

For instance, a tank wouldn’t just shoot; it would also allow soldiers to view the battlefield, see the status of other weapon systems and communicate with other soldiers.

“Anything that is a system of systems is probably too complicated to execute in our political system,” Thompson said. “The technology takes too long to develop, and the political system runs out of patience.”

The Army often thinks too big when designing its programs, said the new study, a wide-ranging analysis chaired by Gilbert F. Decker, a former Army acquisition chief, and retired Gen. Louis C. Wagner Jr., who headed Army Materiel Command. The study, which relies on interviews with more than 100 former and current officials, points to the service’s failure to properly set the parameters for new equipment.

A segment of the military wants program baselines to “only state the operational need and not be constrained by either technology or cost,” the study said.

The military in general is often viewed as too optimistic in its acquisition efforts; J. Michael Gilmore, the Pentagon’s director of operational testing, recently dubbed the Defense Department “the Department of Wishful Thinking.”

In reality, the most successful programs in recent years were those based on existing designs and machinery that wasn’t perfectly customized for the Army. For instance, just four years after announcing the program, the service deployed Strykers, a set of lighter vehicles meant as interim systems while new, more capable systems were developed.

And after soldier casualties and injuries related to roadside bombs in Iraq began to climb at an alarming rate, the Pentagon and the service rushed Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles, or MRAPs, into the field. The trucks, which were built more quickly than any other system in modern history, were heavily armored and equipped with a V-shaped bottom designed to deflect the impact of roadside bombs. The Pentagon has credited them with saving countless lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Marching ahead

Now, the study calls on the Army to look closely at its program parameters to ensure officials take into account actual funding and the challenges of building the technology.

The report recommends a slate of steps for the Army, including investing in a more qualified staff and making an effort to better learn from its failures. It pushes for more collaboration within the Army and with industry and suggests adding personnel at the Army’s research commands.

The Army reported this month that it has implemented virtually all of the recommendations.

Even as the military weighs future plans, it has several big developmental programs underway. The Army is working on a next-generation Humvee, a top-of-the-line vehicle meant to satisfy a nearly impossible balance — being light enough to travel easily but protected enough to stave off roadside bombs. Analysts have raised questions about whether that program will survive as the price tag continues to grow, reaching about $320,000 per vehicle, according to the Congressional Research Service.

The Pentagon “doesn’t quite know what it wants to do,” said David Berteau, senior adviser and director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ defense-industrial initiatives group, of the choice between high-tech programs developed the traditional way and “good enough” procurements.

But Berteau said the Defense Department will have to decide “rather than pretend you can pay for everything.”

Gates has called on the military to balance the choice between good-enough solutions for war and high-tech programs that take years to produce.

“Our guiding principle going forward,” he said, “must be to develop technology and field weapons that are affordable, versatile and relevant to the most likely and lethal threats in the decades to come, not just more expensive and exotic versions of what we had in the past.”
'Good' Cholesterol Not So Good

It seems “good” cholesterol is just OK. After a large body of research found that people with low HDL levels were more likely to suffer heart attacks, researchers began to look into ways of boosting HDL cholesterol levels, hoping it would clear out the LDL cholesterol that clogs arteries and causes heart problems.

But a large study shows that this isn't the case.

The federally funded study of 3,400 U.S. adults at high risk of heart attacks and strokes was called off 18 months early because HDL-boosting drugs clearly failed to lower the risk. Possibly worse, patients who took the HDL-boosting drug showed a higher rate of strokes when blood flow to the brain is obstructed, though it's unclear whether the increase was a fluke or related to the drug.
“This sends us a bit back to the drawing board,” said Susan B. Shurin, acting director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institue.


Inside Donald Trump's Empire: Why He Won't Run for President
by Wayne Barrett Info
Wayne Barrett is a Newsweek contributor and a fellow at the Nation Institute.

With lawsuits pending, Trump's business empire could not withstand the close scrutiny of a presidential campaign, and even his kids might have been muddied. Wayne Barrett, who first exposed Trump’s ties to organized crime in his 1992 book, looked into the Donald’s most recent business dealings and discovered:

• One associate who was an "unindicted co-conspirator" in a massive 2000 stock swindle—and escaped prison only by helping to convict 19 others, including six members of New York crime families
• Two associates who served prison time on cocaine charges
• Another partner prosecuted for trafficking underage girls after a dramatic helicopter raid on a yacht off the Turkish coast
• A pending lawsuit against Trump Soho that alleges daughter Ivanka, among others, made fraudulent misrepresentations

“I had no idea I would get hammered in the way I’ve been hammered,” Donald Trump declared in New Hampshire on May 11, five days before he dropped out of a presidential race he never formally entered.

Trump knew when he went to New Hampshire that he was about to be hammered again, this time on the front page of The New York Times, which, two days later, reported that hundreds of buyers at condo projects that bear his name were suing him. Trump then went on CNBC—in what turned out to be his last presidential TV interview—and blasted the author of the Times piece, Michael Barbaro, as well as NBC’s investigative chief, Michael Isikoff, and even one of the show’s hosts, Simon Hobbs. Two weeks earlier, Trump had been roasted by the president at the White House Correspondents' Dinner, and now, anyone with a question to ask looked at him as if he had barbecue fork in hand.

As late as this May 13 CNBC appearance, Trump was talking about two possible deadlines for his decision to run—May 22 and before June. Instead, he quit abruptly on May 16, reneging on his promise to attend the Tea Party’s South Carolina event on May 19. He has hinted that NBC forced his hand with its deadline for a $120 million, two-year, Celebrity Apprentice renewal offer. But, as inevitable as it may always have been that he would pull the plug on his presidential show, Trump appeared to depart in a hurried attempt to stanch the flow of bad press, no matter how hard he now wants to disguise it. His refusal to rule out a return to the campaign trail when he called in to Fox TV last Monday was surely just more bravado tease.

Trump quit at least in part because he finally realized what a harsh light this ego explosion was shining on every corner of his business empire, potentially exposing not only him and his many partners, but also his children Donald Jr. and Ivanka to intense scrutiny. An ongoing media investigation of Trump’s financial deals—beset by charges of fraudulent misrepresentation—would also have made it harder for NBC to continue touting him as a model American businessman.

Among these purportedly “reckless” claims “to induce sales” were Ivanka Trump’s assertions to Reuters and to the London Times in June 2008 that 60 percent of the units were sold.

Donald Trump arrives to speak at Pease International Trade Port on April 27, 2011 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. (Photo: Matthew Cavanaugh / Getty Images)
In the days before Trump dropped out, he could certainly not have been too happy to hear from me again. We met in the late '70s for hours of taped interviews, and The Village Voice stories I wrote then resulted in a federal grand jury probe of his early deals, though, in the end, no indictment. When I published the first biography of the Donald in 1992, the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, which oversees casino licensing in Atlantic City, put Trump under oath and issued a 34-page report, confirming some of the ties to organized crime I described in the book and stating that they could not verify others. I was later visited repeatedly by gaming officials from Missouri when Trump applied for a riverboat casino license there; he wound up withdrawing the application.

While I was reporting that book in 1990, I was muscled out of Trump Castle and handcuffed overnight to a wall at the Atlantic City jail. I haven’t done much reporting about him since the book, but when his numbers shot to the top in recent presidential polls, I took another look and asked his office for an interview. His response was a letter threatening a libel suit.

Trump did sue Tim O’Brien, who was a research assistant on my Trump book, when Tim wrote a sequel in 2005. Now the national editor of the Huffington Post, O’Brien finally prevailed after years of litigation. I obtained—and not from O’Brien—a copy of the two-day deposition Trump gave in that lawsuit. The December 2007 transcript is a road map of the dark paths Trump’s business career has taken in recent years.

In addition to being a television personality, Trump makes a lot of his money these days licensing his name for various hotel and condo projects, not to mention mattress and vodka brands. His most frequent partner in the condo/hotel deals—some of which have become actual projects and some of which haven’t—has been a small development firm called the Bayrock Group, which was headquartered in Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in 2005 when the partnership began. Trump and Bayrock joined forces on Trump Soho in New York and Trump International Hotel and Tower in Fort Lauderdale, announced and then canceled another Florida project called Trump Las Olas, and together pushed unsuccessful ventures in Colorado and Arizona. Two days before Trump’s 2007 deposition in the O’Brien case, however, The New York Times broke a story about a top Bayrock executive, Felix Sater (aka Satter). Sater had gone to prison for plunging the stem of a wine glass into a commodity broker’s face in a bar fight. He’d also narrowly averted jail a second time, when he was named an “unindicted co-conspirator” in a massive federal fraud case in 2000. Sater cooperated in this probe of a $40 million stock swindle, which resulted in 19 guilty pleas and the conviction of six mobsters—including the nephew of Carmine “the Snake” Persico and the brother-in-law of Sammy “the Bull” Gravano. The wise guys were part of a “pump and dump” stock scam at the Wall Street firm, White Rock Partners, that Sater ran with Sal Lauria.

Sater, the son of a reputed Russian mob boss, whose mini–storage locker contained two unlicensed pistols and a shotgun, actually worked out of a penthouse office in Trump’s new building at 40 Wall Street. Lauria, who pled guilty to a racketeering charge in the pump-and-dump case, later claimed in a memoir he published that he’d been on talking terms with Trump.

“What kind of interaction did you have with Mr. Sater,” Trump was asked in the O’Brien deposition back in 2007.

“Not that much,” he replied. “I dealt mostly with Tevfik.”

Trump was referring to Tevfik Arif, the founder and chairman of Bayrock, who’d told the Real Estate News shortly before Trump’s deposition that Donald "has been very helpful to us from the beginning and he's been very helpful in opening some doors." In his deposition, Trump praised Arif’s “international connections,” and detailed half a dozen “phenomenal” prospective tower deals with Arif, including ones in Moscow, Yalta, Warsaw, Istanbul, and Kiev. He boasted that Arif was prepared to give Trump a 20 to 25 percent interest in his overseas projects, plus management fees and a possible percentage of gross, without Trump investing a nickel—just for the use of his name. “It was almost like mass production of a car,” Trump testified. His suit claimed that Arif canceled these lucrative projects because of O’Brien’s book, and he urged O’Brien’s lawyers to question Arif, confident that his friend would verify these damages.

By the next year, however, Arif began to look as much like a liability as Sater. (Trump testified that Arif had assured him Sater was not a partner, though court records indicate that he had a 50 percent “executive membership interest” in the Bayrock affiliates doing the Trump developments). In a 2009 civil complaint Jody Kriss, who served for five years as the finance director at Bayrock, alleged that the firm was a “racketeer-influenced and corrupt organization” that Arif and Sater “operated through a pattern of criminal activity.” In addition to charging them with embezzlement and various forms of fraud, Kriss alleged they had engaged in “extortion by means of threats of torture and death.” The complaint also claims that Bayrock steered a $1.5 million placement fee in 2007 to Sater’s convicted partner Lauria for a financing deal involving Bayrock’s projects with Trump in Soho, Fort Lauderdale, and Phoenix.

In a separate lawsuit against a former tech executive, Bayrock lawyers contend that the techie downloaded thousands of documents in the company’s system and gave some to Kriss, including emails “related to a sealed criminal matter” that federal prosecutors in Brooklyn are pursuing. The judge who sealed many papers in the ongoing Kriss civil suit, making reference to a criminal probe related to Bayrock, also sealed the ongoing criminal case of Sal Lauria, who has a cooperation agreement with the government. These orders make it impossible to determine what the criminal matter, or even some of the civil court issues (including Bayrock’s defense), might be.

Arif is such a fabulist, according to the Kriss complaint, that he even “pretends to be Turkish to avoid connection to his questionable past in Russia.” He spends a lot of time in Istanbul and, last October, was arrested aboard the largest for-charter luxury yacht in the world and charged with "encouraging" and "facilitating" prostitution. Turkish military police conducted a helicopter raid on the Savarona, a 16-suite, steam-powered, white vessel once used by Turkey’s founder, Mustafa Ataturk, and rented out for $40,000 a day. Nine Russian and Ukrainian women were detained and then deported; two were reportedly only 16 years old and had come to Turkey at Arif’s behest. Media reports indicated that naked men, some of whom were top government officials as well as Russian, Israeli, Kazakhstan, and Turkish executives, were busted in suites strewn with used and unused condoms.

Arif insisted that he was just “entertaining friends” and that the girls brought on board were there for “dancing and singing.” Gondoz Akerniz, who worked for Arif and rented the yacht, told the same reporters that if Arif “comes here to meet friends and talk about investments, and I order models for them. I don’t know if they’re underage or not.” When the incident, which allegedly involved a prominent Israeli billionaire and a senior Kazakhstan official, blew up in the international media, the case was quickly concluded. At an April hearing, a judge dismissed the charges against Arif, though four lesser-known businessmen directly implicated in bringing the girls aboard were convicted. A final report on the reasons for the dismissal has yet to be issued, though the fact that the women refused to testify, denied they were prostitutes, and immediately left Turkey did weaken the prosecution.

At the time of the boat bust, reporters called Trump’s office and were told that he hadn’t spoken to Arif “in years,” even though Arif remains a partner in Trump Soho, a $450-million hotel/condo project where Trump actually has both an ownership and management role, unlike his licensing deals. Five days after Arif’s arrest, Trump launched what has turned out to be his presidential tease.

Another partner in Trump Soho is the Russian √©migr√© developer Tamir Sapir, who lives in a $5 million Trump Tower condo. Though his net worth was first pegged at $2 billion by Forbes in 2006, Sapir’s company claimed to have “only $4,000 in cash and cash equivalents” in 2009. And Sapir’s lawyers recently claimed in a court case that Sapir’s “deteriorating mental condition” has prevented him from writing anything but his signature “for 10 years,” meaning he was out of it when he consummated the Soho deal with Donald in 2005. A year earlier, Fred Contini, Sapir’s onetime executive vice president and top aide, pled guilty to participating in a racketeering conspiracy with the Gambino crime family for 13 years—both prior to and after his hiring by Sapir in 1996.

Sapir, whom Trump calls a “great friend,” introduced Donald to Bayrock and is best known for his $500,000 payment to lobbyist and former U.S. Senator Al D’Amato for a single call to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to help him retain a lucrative lease with the agency. He was also fined $150,000 for decorating his yacht with 29 animal carcasses in violation of endangered species laws, including a stuffed lion and python-covered bar stools.

Trump Soho finally opened a year ago. Nineteen unit buyers are now suing, accusing Bayrock, Sapir, Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, and Donald Jr., among others, of “an ongoing pattern of fraudulent misrepresentations and deceptive sales practices.” Among these purportedly “reckless” claims “to induce sales” were Ivanka Trump’s assertions to Reuters and to the London Times in June 2008 that 60 percent of the 391-unit Tower were sold, at a time when documents later submitted to the New York attorney general indicated that only 14.5 percent had been sold. (The Soho’s response papers quibble with these numbers, suggesting they may have sold a handful more units than they reported to the New York attorney general.) The project was announced during the grand finale of the 2006 Apprentice, and Ivanka did a cleavage-baring ad for it, tagged “Possess Your Own Soho.”

Trump is now trying to put some distance between himself and the Soho project, which is discounting units by 25 percent and is at best a third sold. But the suit says he is listed in official documents as “actively involved” in the condo offering. In addition, he manages the hotel, which happens to be the entire building. That’s because an unprecedented city zoning agreement limits condo owners to living in the 46-story tower 120 days a year, allowing Trump, acting as a fee-collecting agent for the unit owners, to rent them out as hotel suites the rest of the time. He, Ivanka and Donald Jr. also own an 18 percent interest in the project. Ivanka and Donald Jr. did not respond to requests for comment.

What may prove particularly damaging to Trump Soho is the contention in the lawsuit that the project was marketed as an investment because of the hotel arrangement, with sales agents touting prospective nightly charges of up to $1,000 and annual returns of 153 percent. That may make securities fraud part of this case—as vigorously as the Trump Soho lawyers deny it—and courts typically take securities fraud more seriously than consumer deception.

The Soho’s lawyers have petitioned to dismiss the case, but if it survives that motion, it could have been in the headlines while candidate Donald was in Iowa, as might the ongoing criminal case involving Bayrock and Lauria. Either of these, or the probe of Trump’s for-profit university just launched by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, would have put a crimp in the campaign.

A similar case has been filed by buyers at Trump International in Fort Lauderdale, the other Bayrock/Sapir project. Rejecting parts of a dismissal motion in December 2010, Judge Adalberto Jordan’s 24-page ruling noted that “sales literature ballyhooed the building as a profitable investment allowing a favorable income share.” The 298-unit project, which was a focus of the recent New York Times story, has been such a disaster that it was halted shortly before it was completed and is empty and locked now. Trump, who had limited his exposure in this Bayrock/Sapir deal to licensing his name and possibly managing the hotel, abruptly pulled out in 2009, when they stopped paying him a monthly promotional fee for the use of his name. But the Jordan decision cites Trump’s smiling announcement about the project—“It’s with great pleasure that I present my latest development”—as evidence of why buyers thought they were buying Trump when they made their deposits.

Jordan dismissed many claims against Trump precisely because he was merely renting his name, but he did find that “these allegations seem to suffice to define” Trump and his company as persons who “advertise for sale or lease” and thus, under the terms of federal law, might be potentially liable for the apparent default. Trump and his partners insist that both this and the suit against Trump Soho are cases of buyers’ remorse in a sagging real-estate market from folks too busy to read the fine print of a contract, which tells purchasers to disregard other marketing promises.

The Trump family has also gone into business with two convicted cocaine traffickers, one in Turkey and another in Philadelphia. Engin Yesil, whose development company was said to “own the Turkey rights” for a $500 million project called Trump Towers Istanbul, was sentenced to a six-year prison term on cocaine charges in the U.S. 20 years ago. He says now that he “delegated” his Trump “royalties” to Dogan Holdings, a giant Turkish developer and media company that was just fined an extraordinary $2.5 billion for dodging corporate taxes in Turkey for years. When asked in the O’Brien deposition about the Istanbul project, Donald deferred to his son, who he said was handling the deal. In 2009, Ivanka did a huge press event in Istanbul, announcing that 45 percent of the units were already committed.

Trump Tower Philadelphia also involves a former cocaine dealer, Raoul Goldberg, aka Goldberger. Sentenced to 46 months in prison in 2000 on the coke conviction, he was technically on probation when he brought the site for the 45-story tower to Trump in 2005. And even though it’s only a license and management deal for Trump, Ivanka and Donald Jr. were so involved that they worked on spa and restaurant deals for the complex. Goldberg, who has suddenly “disappeared” from the project just as Felix Sater did, told Philadelphia Magazine in 2006 that he talked to Ivanka or Donald Jr. “every day.”

At a climactic moment in his 2007 deposition, Trump was asked to “put aside Bayrock.” Other than “this situation,” his interrogator wondered, “have you ever before associated with individuals you knew were associated with organized crime?”

“Not that I know of,” he testified.

In fact, Trump’s recent history with this catalog of criminals and cads is but an update on my earlier book, which listed dozens of mob relationships from concrete to casinos.

In one instance in the 1980s, Trump paid $8 million to buy out two mob-tied business associates when he feared his gaming license wouldn’t be approved. He wrote a letter to a federal judge on behalf of a mob-connected cocaine dealer whose helicopter company serviced his casinos and whose girlfriend had two Trump Tower apartments. He structured the purchase of a plot of land from a top leader of the murderous Scarfo crime family in Atlantic City so that his name would not appear in the transaction. He put a winsome but ostensibly penniless woman closely associated with the Gambino-connected head of the concrete drivers union in a triplex with Trump Tower’s only swimming pool right beneath his own apartment.

Trump threatened to sue over the book but never did. The gaming officials who questioned Trump under oath about 14 of the many charges in my book didn’t contradict any of these facts; they just viewed them more benignly.

Trump also claimed during this questioning by gaming authorities that he didn’t know that his lawyer, mentor, and close friend, Roy Cohn, represented Genovese godfather Fat Tony Salerno—though their two names appeared in the same paragraph about former clients in Cohn’s 1986 Times obituary. Trump’s answer was an effort to disassociate himself from Cohn because my book alleged that Cohn had brokered a Trump meeting with Salerno—which Trump denied—and he was aware that Barron Hilton had been denied a casino license for a lesser relationship with a lesser mob lawyer.

These kinds of associations once caused Trump worry about retaining his gaming licenses (he is still the largest shareholder in a public company that owns three of Atlantic City’s struggling casinos, but license renewal is no longer required). Perhaps he finally realized that in a presidential campaign, which requires filing detailed financial disclosures, the vetting of all sorts would be much tougher. Then a gang of questionable associations like this would’ve converted a candidacy into a scandal, damaging his star status, business prospects, and even his family.

Valerie Bogard, Bryan Finlayson, Nichole Sobecki, Barry Shifrin, and Katie Thompson contributed reporting to this article.

Wayne Barrett is a Newsweek contributor and a fellow at The Nation Institute.

STRESS and how to handle it!

A young lady confidently walked around the room while leading and explaining stress management to an audience; with a raised glass of water, and everyone knew she was going to ask the ultimate question, 'half empty or half full?'..... she fooled them all... "How heavy is this glass of water?", she inquired with a smile.

Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.

She replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. In each case it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." She continued, "and that's the way it is with stress. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on."

"As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden - holding stress longer and better each time practiced. So, as early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don't carry them through the evening and into the night... pick them up tomorrow.

Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment. Relax, pick them up later after you've rested. Life is short. Enjoy it and the now 'supposed' stress that you've conquered!"

1 * Accept the fact that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue!

2 * Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

3 * Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.

4 * Drive carefully... It's not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker..

5 * If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague

6 * If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it..

7 * It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.

8 * Never buy a car you can't push.

9 * Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.

10 * Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

11 * Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.

12 * The second mouse gets the cheese.

13 * When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

14 * Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.

15 * You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.

16 * Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.

17 * We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box.

18 * A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.

19 * Have an awesome day and know that someone has thought about you today.

20 * It was I, your friend!

*Save the earth..... It's the only planet with chocolate!