The Florida connection to the latest Trump-Russia twist

Trump and Felix Sater were involved in a failed Fort Lauderdale project.<br>
The proposed Trump International Hotel & Tower in Fort Lauderdale
The proposed Trump International Hotel & Tower in Fort Lauderdale
Published Aug. 29, 2017|Updated Aug. 29, 2017

Felix Sater, a former business associate of President Donald Trump, is in the news this week after an email surfaced in which he envisions Trump becoming president and says, “I will get all of Putins team to buy in on this.”

Some might recall Sater and Trump share a Florida connection.

In the mid 2000s, they teamed up on the proposed Trump International Hotel and Tower in Fort Lauderdale, though the $200 million project was a failure, described by developers as “the worst real-estate disaster in generations.”

Trump had licensed his name for the project but pulled out “just months before it was to open, stinging buyers who put down millions because of the name,” the Miami Herald reported.

Trump last year prevailed in court against fraud accusations.

In a deposition, Trump sought distance between him and Sater, suggesting he barely knew him. Trump acknowledged the Fort Lauderdale link but said Sater ”was not involved in this job very much.”

During the presidential campaign, a conservative Super PAC, American Future Fund, aired a TV ad in Florida highlighting the Trump-Sater tie and the Fort Lauderdale project. It also recalled Saber’s history, which includes alleged ties to the mob and pleading guilty to stock fraud.

“Trump entrusted convicts to help him run his company,” the ad stated. “Who would he entrust to run the country?”

Trump licensed his name for the project, though was cast as the developer. The same arrangement was made for a proposed Trump Tower Tampa that ran into all sorts of problems.

“The main reason we went into this was Trump,″ Jay McLaughlin, a physical therapist from Connecticut, told the Tampa Bay Times in 2015. “We had no idea he was just putting his name on it and not backing it financially.”