Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who worked on President
Winston Wolkoff, who previously helped organize the
She snapped back at the allegations from more than a year ago that she was forced out of the Trump White House because she profited from her role on Trump’s inaugural committee.
Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former adviser to Melania Trump, slammed reports she was fired from the White House more than a year after it happened
Federal prosecutors are examining donations to President Donald Trump’s inauguration committee
‘Was I fired? No,’ Winston Wolkoff said in a statement to
Winston Wolkoff served as an informal, unpaid adviser to Melania Trump in the East Wing of the White House until February 2018 when she left the position amid controversy.
She was in the news at the time after reports showed that her firm, WIS Media Partners, received a $26 million payment for its work on the inaugural.
The firm in turn spent $24 million on subcontractors, a person familiar with the inaugural planning told DailyMail.com at the time. The source said Winston Wolkoff provided ‘the whole look and feel – the creative vision’ for 18 or 20 inaugural events.
Her personal take from Trump’s inaugural committee was reported to be $1.62 million although later reports showed she received about $500,000 personally while the rest went to other producers working on the event.
According to the committee’s tax filings, Wolkoff’s WIS Media Partners was formed 45 days before the inauguration and got paid the most of any vendor for its work.
In the meantime, Winston Wolkoff’s lawyer told inaugural committee officials that she has been cooperating with federal prosecutors in Manhattan since last fall,
The Southern District of Manhattan is investigating the inaugural committee’s spending and fundraising.
Winston Wolkoff told The Times she could not discuss inaugural spending because of a non-disclosure she had signed with the committee.
If the committee ‘were to release me from this obligation, I would be able to speak freely without the fear of legal or financial repercussions,’ she said. ‘Otherwise, I am regrettably unable to provide any substantive comment.’
When Winston Wolkoff left the administration last year, officials said she was ousted because the first couple were angry over the spending for the January 2017 ceremony that swore Trump into office.
But in a private communication with Winston Wolkoff on Feb. 20, 2018, The Times reported, deputy White House counsel Stefan Passantino told her that the administration was terminating all types of ‘gratuitous service agreements’ – such as the one she had with the administration – amid a controversy over security clearances involving other officials.
She was assured by Passantino that ‘you didn’t do anything wrong, and there’s nothing wrong with this kind of contract, and I don’t want you to think that this has anything to do with’ the inaugural spending, she recalled to the newspaper. ‘So this is not personal.’
And a letter from Melania Trump to Winston Wolkoff noted that the decision affected ‘all’ such contracts, was ‘not personal’ and was made on a ‘professional level by White House counsel.’
Winston Wolkoff told The Times first lady’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, gave a ‘misleading statement about these events.’
Grisham, she said, ‘said that because she had been ‘inundated’ with questions following press reports about the’ inaugural committee, ‘a decision was made to state publicly that I had been ‘severed.’ That was not fair or accurate.’
Trump’s inauguration cost $107 million – more than twice what President Obama’s first inaugural cost
Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Melania Trump, and Rachel Roy at a dinner in Washington D.C. in January 2017 for President Trump’s inauguration
Wolkoff worked on the committee that organized inaugural events
She claimed Grisham ‘informed me that she had consulted with others within the White House and it was decided that ‘this messaging is the best way to go in order to minimize the negative press stories of today and protect’ Melania Trump and the administration.
Grisham responded to
By going public with a long interview to The Times, Winston Wolkoff becomes the latest former aide to break with the White House, a growing list of officials who are speaking out about being mistreated by the administration and offering documentation to back up their complaints.
Winston Wolkoff was Melania Trump’s first hire.
Before she took over her inaugural event planning role, she worked as a special events planner for Vogue, helped stage the Met Gala, and was a fashion director for Lincoln Center. She is a longtime friend of Melania’s.
In December, it was revealed federal prosecutors in New York were investigating whether President
The investigation came partly out of materials seized in the federal probe of Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen’s business dealings.
In April raids of Cohen’s home, office and hotel room, federal agents obtained a recorded conversation between Cohen and Winston Wolkoff.
Wolkoff, in their conversation, expressed concern about how the inaugural committee was spending its money.
It’s unknown when the conversation between Wolkoff and Cohen took place or why it was recorded.
Prosecutors started to probe inauguration donations after a raid on Michael Cohen’s office revealed a taped conversation about the spending between him and Winston Wolkoff
Investigators are looking into whether some of the top donors to Trump’s crowning event gave money in exchange for access to his administration
David Wolkoff, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, Melania Trump and Donald Trump attend GUCCI and MADONNA host A NIGHT TO BENEFIT RAISING MALAWI AND UNICEF in New York City in February 2008
Trump’s inaugural committee raised more than double what former President Barack Obama’s first inaugural committee did.
Supporters said the event was so costly because no one expected him to win so all the planning was done at the last minute.
But investigators are looking into whether some of the top donors to Trump’s crowning event gave money in exchange for access to his administration, policy concessions or to influence the administration.
Money in exchange for political favors could violate federal corruption laws. There could also be a violation of federal law if funds were diverted from the inaugural committee, which was registered as a nonprofit.
‘That doesn’t have anything to do with the president or the first lady,’ White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in December when the probe was first revealed. ‘The biggest thing the president did in his engagement for the inauguration was to come here and raise his hand and take the oath of office. The president was focused on the transition during that time and not on any of the planning.’