Trump sells off $10m jet to major megadonor as he owes millions in legal fees and judgements

The private jet was bought by Iranian-American construction and development tycoon Mehrdad Moayedi, records show

Martha McHardy
Tuesday 28 May 2024 14:20
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Donald Trump has sold off one of his private jets to a Republican megadonor as he owes more than half a billion dollars in legal judgements and fees.

Federal Aviation Administration records show that the registration of the plane, a 1997 Cessna jet, was transferred from the Trump Organization’s DT Air Corp to a Texas entity called MM Fleet Holdings LLC on 13 May, The Daily Beast first reported.

The plane is thought to be worth somewhere in the region of $10m, according to evoJets.

MM Fleet Holdings LLC is tied to Iranian-American construction and development tycoon, Mehrdad Moayedi, who lives near Dallas and runs Centurion American Custom Homes, according to state records.

Mr Moayedi has been a major Republican donor for some time, giving a combined $245,000 to Trump Victory – a committee that raised money for the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee, and state Republican parties – in 2019 and 2020.

He has also given hundreds of thousands of dollars to other Republican candidates and committees, including the RNC, Senator Ted Cruz, former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, as well as Arizona independent Kyrsten Sinema, who he made a maximum primary donation of $2,900 to in 2022.

Mr Trump previously boasted about his Cessna private jet on the Trump Aviation website, writing that the aircraft is a “very special feature within the Trump Aviation fleet.”

Former president and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attends the NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Former president and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump attends the NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway (Getty Images)

“This high speed jet is often referred to as a ‘rocket in the sky,’ flying at speeds up to Mach .92 and altitudes as high as 51,000 feet. It is one of the fastest in the world and allows for entry into smaller airports,” the site claimed, adding that the jet is outfitted with “top of the line interiors” that can comfortably seat nine passengers, and that “the signature Trump Crest” on the exterior bestows “an even higher level of luxury and beauty to this magnificent aircraft.”

The sale comes at a time when the former president’s finances are taking a hit from a string of civil and criminal cases, as he campaigns to take back the White House in November.

In January, a New York judge ordered Mr Trump to pay writer E Jean Carroll $83.3m after he was found liable for defaming her.

The former president posted a $91.6m bond in March to appeal the ruling. He was required to put up 110 per cent of the judgment to pause collections while the appeal plays out.

Meanwhile, in February, he was found liable for financial fraud in New York and was ordered to pay more than $350m in penalties. Following the ruling, the former president struggled to find financial backers to help him post the bond needed to appeal the decision. But he finally received a lifeline when a New York appeals court reduced the bond to $175m – a sum that he then posted thanks to underwriter Hankey’s Knight Specialty Insurance Co.

Donald Trump’s Boeing 757 pictured at Palm Beach International Airport in March
Donald Trump’s Boeing 757 pictured at Palm Beach International Airport in March (Getty Images)

Mr Trump is also spending millions of dollars on legal fees in his string of criminal and civil cases, with FEC data from 2022 showing that he had devoted $76.7m to legal fees in the space of two years.

His legal bills could continue to mount if he is convicted in his hush money trial in New York.

While Forbes estimated Mr Trump’s net worth at $2.6bn in September 2023, the pile-up of legal judgements poses substantial risk to his bottom line.

Forbes estimate is based on the value of various assets in Mr Trump’s portfolio: golf clubs and resorts ($870m), New York City real estate ($690m), cash and personal assets ($640m), non-NYC real estate ($190m) and social media and brand businesses ($160m).

But of that $2.6bn total, Forbes calculates that Mr Trump has only $426m in cash and liquid assets with which he would be able to pay off his legal obligations.

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