The indictment of Paul Manafort is shining a light on two New York City properties that the former Trump campaign manager owns. NY1's Gene Apodaca filed the following report on why the government is so interested in the prized real estate.
Lots of homes in Carroll Gardens have Halloween decorations, but resident John Esposito is more interested in a brownstone without them. He is especially struck, he says, by the recent construction work being done there.
Esposito: The pace has really picked up.
Apodaca: And that caught your attention?
Esposito: Well, we knew who the owner was.
The owner is President Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, whose indictment was announced Monday as part of charges that grew out of a larger federal investigation into possible collusion between Trump's campaign and Russia.
Manafort is accused, among other things, of buying the home with laundered money, and then using it as a means to fraudulently obtain a loan.
"No, it doesn't surprise me," neighbor Ernest Lubrano said. "You're talking about multi-million dollar homes, and if you want to hide some money in there, I'd assume that would be the best place to go."
According to the indictment, Manafort bought the property in 2012 with $3 million wired from a bank in Cyprus — money he earned lobbying on behalf of the Ukrainian government, without ever paying taxes on it.
The indictment charges that he then took out a $5 million construction loan against the building, but diverted some of that money to buy a property in California.
Neighbors in the area said contractors have been working on the home, including building a sizeable addition in the back, with new windows and a deck.
No one NY1 spoke to could remember ever seeing him at the location. "I don't know why he's in this neighborhood," neighbor Susan Ward said. "It was very surprising and odd."
Earlier this year, someone put up a sign seemingly mocking Manafort as a tool of Russia.
The indictment charges that he also used $2.8 million from his Ukrainian earnings to buy a condo in a building on Union Street in SoHo.
He then took out a mortgage against the property allegedly under the pretense that it would be a secondary home; he ended up renting it out instead.
As for the indictment, Manafort has pleaded not guilty to the charges. His bond has been set at $10 million.