Donald Trump hired firm to lobby for tribal casino deal in Florida

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on the campaign trail. Photo by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.

A consulting firm hired by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump to push for a tribal casino deal in Florida also was paid for potentially illegal work in Cuba, Newsweek reports.

Seven Arrows Investment and Development Corp. was paid $38,996.32 for the unsuccessful gaming effort, according to the report. Based on documents reviewed by the publication, the company's primary goal was to woo politicians, who for years refused to negotiate with the Seminole Tribe, an issue famously brought up by former governor Jeb Bush during a GOP debate last year.

"You wanted it, and you didn’t get it," Bush told Trump.

"I would have gotten it," Trump responded, after denying he was interested in a casino.

But a casino wasn't the only item on Trump's agenda. According to Newsweek, his hotel company reimbursed $68,551.88 to Seven Arrows for a "secret business trip" to Cuba even though doing business there remains illegal under a decades-old embargo.

“As you know—and the people in this room know better than anyone—putting money and investing money in Cuba right now doesn’t go to the people of Cuba,’’ Trump later said in Florida in November 1999, months after his company had already reimbursed Seven Arrows for the trip, Newsweek reported.

“It goes to Fidel Castro. He’s a murderer. He’s a killer," Trump added. "He’s a bad guy in every respect, and, frankly, the embargo must stand if for no other reason than, if it does stand, he will come down.”

The Seminole Tribe finally got its gaming deal in 2010, after Jeb Bush left office, and has grown into an economic and political powerhouse. The tribe has shared more than $1 billion in revenues with the state.

Trump, though, has never acknowledged his past dealings with the tribe or his rocky history in Indian Country. He's questioned the legitimacy of tribes, accused tribes of being unable to police their own casinos, labeled tribal leaders as criminals and once tried to invalidate the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.

“We’re extremely worried because if Donald Trump gets elected history already shows us that we probably won’t be able to move forward,” Mic Isham, the chairman of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe from Wisconsin, told BuzzFeed News. “His comments about tribes, and his history with the tribes don’t bode well for us.”

Read More on the Story:
How Donald Trump’s Company Violated the United States Embargo Against Cuba (Newsweek 9/29)
Trump’s Decades Of Insults Against Native Americans Send Tribal Leaders Toward Clinton (BuzzFeed 9/29)
Seminole Tribe chairman Billie ousted from office by unanimous vote (The South Florida Sun-Sentinel 9/29)
What does the Seminole Tribe's surprise ouster of James Billie mean for Florida gambling, Tampa's Hard Rock? (The Tampa Bay Times 9/29)
Seminoles vote to oust Billie as chairman (The Miami Herald 8/28)

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