Here's How People Are Trying to Make Money off Trump's Presidency

December 6th 2016

On Tuesday, Politico broke the story that realtors at Douglas Elliman Real Estate were advertising secret service protection among the perks of renting an apartment in Trump Tower

According to Politico, the email subject read, "Fifth Avenue Buyers Interested in Secret Service Protection?"

As can be seen in the below screen shot, the ad boasts that the $2,100,000 condo comes with "the New Aminity [sic] – The United States Secret Service."

Douglas Elliman Real Estate/Politico - politico.com

No mention of the Secret Service can be found on Douglas Elliman's website, though they describe the condo as "the best value in the most secure building in Manhattan."

Trump Tower Condo listingDouglas Elliman Real Estate - elliman.com

According to The Hill, President-elect Donald Trump won't get a cut of the condo once it's sold. However, he will get something out of it, in an indirect way: "The building owned by President-elect Donald Trump does not receive a percentage of the unit's sale price but will get processing fees that are about $2,000 per application, plus $250 for every additional adult inhabitant," they report.

Realtors are becoming desperate to sell homes in Trump buildings, as the Trump name has become tarnished over the past year.

The Los Angeles Times reported in October that residents were embarrassed to live in a Trump-branded building, with one resident telling the Times, "I used to tell people I lived in Trump Place. Now I say I live at 66th and Riverside Boulevard."

About one month after the Los Angeles Times article was published, the "Trump Place" lettering was taken off that building and two others.

It makes sense that real estate agents are getting creative with ways to sell a Trump residence.

Devin Hugh Leahy, one of the realtors on the listing, took credit for his unique approach of marketing the Secret Service, writing in a now-deleted Instagram video post, "Regardless of political views, our marketing strategies clearly work! [...] History continues to prove to us that the more eyes that view a listing, regardless of opinions or typos ;) , the greater our chances of doing the best job we possibly can for our clients."

deleted instagram postInstagram.com/devinhughleahy - instagram.com

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Arial; color: #232323; -webkit-text-stroke: #232323} p.p2 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Arial; color: #232323; -webkit-text-stroke: #232323; min-height: 15.0px} span.s1 {font-kerning: none} Hana S. Callaghan, from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, said the security detail “really more of a business ethics question than a government ethics question.”  

Essentially, Callaghan said any advertisement suggesting the Secret Service would look out for condo residents would be untrue. “The Secret Service is tasked  with protecting the President and his family.  This would include securing the building and as a result tenants may receive some indirect benefit from that. However the Secret Service is not there to protect the tenants and any representation to the contrary would be deceptive.”

When reached for comment by ATTN: on Tuesday afternoon, Barbara Wagner, a publicist for Douglas Elliman, declined to comment. 

Trump, the Secret Service, and New York City

Because Trump is the President-elect, he and his family are entitled to Secret Service protection, as well as a security detail provided by New York City.

Donald TrumpMichael Vadon/Flickr - flic.kr

On Monday, Mayor Bill DeBlasio announced he was requesting $35 million to cover the costs of providing protection to the President-elect between Election Day, Nov. 8, and Inauguration Day, Jan. 20 — for an average of more than $470,000 per day.

How Trump could actually make money off the Secret Service

As Lucy Tiven of ATTN: previously reported, both secret service and NYPD is allegedly seeking to rent two floors out of Trump Tower in order to provide protection and security. Who would they make the check out to?

"In this case the rent checks would to go to a corporation owned by the President-elect," Tiven reported.

Furthermore, when Trump flies, he uses his own private jet. Previous presidential candidates have had to hire planes; not so with Trump. Justin Bachman explained in a November piece for Bloomberg what that means: "As a result, while the Secret Service chipped in for its share of what the Clinton campaign paid to charter a plane, when it came to Trump’s campaign, the federal agency effectively just paid him."

[h/t Politico]

A previous version of this story referred to Barbara Wagner as an executive vice president at Douglas Elliman, she is a publicist. We regret the error. 

Update: 12/7 10:20 a.m. PST: This story was updated to reflect that on Wednesday at 10:20 a.m., a spokesperson for Douglas Elliman told us "This was completely unauthorized and done without the knowledge or approval of Douglas Elliman."

Share your opinion

Are you worried about President-Elect Donald Trump's conflicts of interest?

No 12%Yes 88%