— Four criminal convictions, one suicide, and one satisfied customer – Unravelling Donald Trump’s “complicated” 1993 Palm Beach real estate purchase from convicted fraudster Leslie Greyling
Earlier this month I blogged about Trump’s 1993 Palm Beach real estate deal with Leslie Greyling, a notorious fraudster who was later deported to his native South Africa after a string of illegal business ventures, including a mafia-linked “pump and dump” scheme.
According to a November 21, 1993 report by the Miami Herald, Trump paid Greyling $1.6 million – less than half the original sale price – for 1094 S. Ocean Blvd, a lavish 7,863 square-foot, marble-floored property adjacent Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
1094 S. Ocean Blvd (source)
The article left some nagging questions. For instance, why would Greyling – a professional con man – sell the property apparently at a substantial loss to himself?
Jeffrey A. Paine, a now-disbarred West Palm Beach attorney who helped arrange the deal, and who in 2001 was handed a five-year sentence and fined $80 million for conspiring to commit mail fraud, speculated that Trump might have had other deals with Greyling.
Trump’s local realtor at the time, Robert Weiner, who committed suicide in 2012 after Florida state regulators launched a probe into the disappearance of over $250,000 from his real estate Escrow accounts, also suggested that other deals had taken place, but didn’t say what they were.
After digging around online, I found this February 3, 1994 New York Times report, which holds some clues:
The Times article states that Trump “had purchased an option to buy a St. Charles, Mo., casino site from the Members Service Corporation,” a failed Winter Park holding company involved in gambling and real estate. Although Trump didn’t say how much he paid for the option, he told the Times it would be good for a “fairly long term.”
Here’s the scoop: Members Service was headed by none other than – you guessed it – Leslie Greyling, who along with two other executives, Arthur S. Feher Jr. and Daniel M. Boyar, was indicted in March 1996 for charges including conspiracy, stock fraud, and money laundering.
Greyling was sentenced to one year in prison and was later deported to South Africa.
Feher was convicted of unregistered securities fraud in what was said to be “the first criminal case involving a scheme to avoid registering securities under a regulation governing sales to foreigners.” Facing a 25-year sentence, he fled to Mexico where in late 1996 he died of a heart attack.
In 2015, Boyar was handed a seven-year sentence for tax evasion stemming from his activities with Greyling and Feher.
All in all, that’s – count ’em – two real estate deals, four criminal convictions, one suicide, and one satisfied customer.
It’s unclear what came of Trump’s 1994 Missouri deal with Members Service, but public records show Trump still owns 1094 S. Ocean Blvd.
The property is currently valued at over $8 million.