Lawsuits piling up against sketchy bank that lent millions to Donald Trump and Jared Kushner

Lawsuits piling up against sketchy bank that lent millions to Donald Trump and Jared Kushner
President Donald Trump pauses during the 9/11 Observance Ceremony at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., Sept. 11, 2017. During the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, 184 people were killed at the Pentagon. To the left is first lady Melania Trump, and to the right are Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford. (DOD photo by Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Dominique A. Pineiro)

Eric Trump proclaimed that the "very profitable" Trump Organization had "no problem refinancing" when it recently closed on a $100 million loan on Trump Tower. The source of that money is a controversial small internet bank called Axos that has extensive ties to Donald Trump and the Republican Party, according to a report from Forbes.

The bank is headed by CEO Greg Garrabrants who has contributed $50,000 to Republican campaigns, including $9,600 in support of Trump, since 2012, according to Federal Election Commission records. Garrabrants also donated to a number of GOP Senate candidates including Missouri’s Josh Hawley, Texas’ Ted Cruz, and Tennessee’s Marsha Blackburn.

It originally was known as Bank of the Internet USA when it launched in 1999. But after a series of state lawsuits and a Congressional inquiry into its business practices, including alleged usury, it rebranded itself Axos. The bank also has financed at least three real-estate transactions with Jared Kushner’s family enterprise Kushner Companies, Rolling Stone reports.

Axos recently has been the target of lawsuits in a number of states for allegedly being a "rent-a-bank" by partnering with unscrupulous lenders, such as payday lenders, who charge astronomical interest rates. And, a 2020 lawsuit against Axos and its partner World Business Lenders accuses the companies of conspiring to sell a mortgage at a staggering 138 percent APR.

In a separate case that also triggered a lawsuit, a restaurant owner got saddled with a WBL/Axos loan with a 268 percent APR that also reportedly featured a 30 percent prepayment penalty.

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