Felix Sater, a recent Sands Point resident and former business associate of President Donald Trump, is to testify before Congress March 14 about negotiations for a Trump Tower in Moscow.
The announcement was made by U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, following testimony by Trump’s ex-personal attorney, Michael D. Cohen, at a congressional hearing last week.
To lower the public’s expectations, Schiff warned that not every hearing is going to be conducted in the open as Cohen’s was, but said committee members will try to do as much as possible in open session.
The scheduling of Sater’s hearing follows Cohen’s testimony during last Wednesday’s hearing that he had lied about when negotiations ended for a Trump Tower in Moscow.
“I stated that we stopped negotiating in January 2016 — that was false,” Cohen said. “Our negotiations continued for months later during the campaign.”
In emails obtained by news outlets and later confirmed by Cohen, it was revealed that negotiations did not cease until June 2016 after Trump had been declared the Republican candidate for president.
Sater has been identified by multiple news outlets as “Individual-2,” who is described as Cohen’s main contact in Russia during Trump Tower negotiations in Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller’s court filing.
At the age of 6, the Russian-American businessman fled to Israel from the Soviet Union, where he and his family faced persecution for their Jewish religion. After receiving refugee status, his family migrated to the United States, specifically Brighton Beach, when Sater was 8 years old.
He attended Pace University until he dropped out at 18 and got a job on Wall Street. A bar fight, where he stabbed a man in the face with a broken margarita glass, landed him in jail and cost him his stockbroker’s license.
After involvement in illegal Wall Street activities led to his pleading guilty to racketeering in 1998, Sater was enlisted as an FBI informant and “provided crucial intelligence information and assistance to numerous U.S. national security, intelligence and law enforcement agencies,” he said in a statement provided to the House Intelligence Committee in December 2017.
Sater joined Bayrock Group LLC, a luxury real estate firm that ran its offices out of the 24th floor of Trump Tower, in 2003.
He came to know his neighbor from two floors up, at the time a New York City real estate mogul who now serves as president, and began working on real estate negotiations for Trump, according to news reports.
The New York Times reported that Sater made his first attempt at brokering a Trump Tower in Moscow in 2005, having identified an old pencil factory on the Moscow River. That was followed by a sight-seeing trip a year later with Trump’s children, Ivanka and Don Jr.
After the original negotiations tapered off, Sater reached out to the Trump Organization, namely Cohen, again in November 2015 about a second attempt to build Trump Tower Moscow. He also pitched a potential opportunity for Russian President Vladimir Putin to say “great things” about the presidential candidate that might aid in getting him elected, according to reporting by The Washington Post.
In an interview with Buzzfeed News, Sater said he did not have a role in alleged Russian meddling into the 2016 election.
Sater moved from Port Washington to Los Angeles, bringing his Porsche along for the trip, in February 2018. He sold his home in Sands Point last month for just over $2 million.
He was a large contributor to the Chabad of Port Washington, where he served on the organization’s board of directors and was named Man of the Year in 2014.