A Feb. 21 press release from a national women’s-advocacy organization proves I need to pay much more attention to the national news. That was not the point of UltraViolet’s message titled “Women’s Group Sends Letter to the FEC Demanding Investigation into the Trump Campaign’s Use of Funds to Defend against Summer Zervos’ Defamation Suit.” (Read the release below.) It nonetheless shook me to the core.
First, we must back up to the years leading up to my father-in-law’s passing in 2015. Living alone following the death of his wife of more than 50 years, Jim frequented restaurants near his Huntington Beach home to be with people. My wife and I and, if they were in town, our children often tagged along.
One of his favorite eateries was our least favorite: Sunnys Restaurant. My clan cheered when Sunnys closed in what is now an Automobile Club branch near Beach Boulevard and Adams Avenue. But Sunnys reopened at its current location on Edinger Avenue, across the street from Golden West College. Both places were dingy inside, and the food ranged from uninspiring to sick-making. Making things worse at the current spot was the hostess with a sour disposition and look on her face. We were told she was the daughter of the Sunnys owner.
I’d forgotten all about the joint until shortly after I received the UltraViolet press release. Having nothing better to do, I searched for the name “Summer Zervos” in case she had an Orange County connection. Turns out she was an attractive blonde who had been a contestant on The Apprentice and accused then-reality-show star Donald Trump of “aggressively kissing her” and leaving her feeling “nervous and embarrassed” when she met him in his New York office to discuss a possible Trump Organization job. Trump and the White House denied that happened, so Zervos sued for defamation.
She is the Sunnys hostess referred to earlier, as previously reported by plenty of local, national and international media sources I obviously don’t pay enough attention to. That changes starting now because I can’t wait to discover the national scandal surrounding a certain assistant manager at Polly’s Pies.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, February 21, 2019
Women’s Group Sends Letter to the FEC Demanding Investigation Into the Trump Campaign’s Use of Funds to Defend Against Summer Zervos’ Defamation Suit
Trump Campaign Paid $323,000 to Kasowitz Benson and Torres in November 2018
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, UltraViolet, a leading national women’s advocacy organization, sent a letter today to the Federal Elections Commission demanding that they investigate the Trump Campaign’s payment of $323,000 to the law firm Kasowitz, Benson and Torres. Marc Kasowitz, a partner at Kasowitz, Benson and Torres, is only known to have worked for Trump last fall in defending him against Summer Zervos’ defamation suit.
In a letter sent to the FEC, Shaunna Thomas, co-founder and executive director of UltraViolet argues that “there is a strong possibility that Respondents have violated federal law by using campaign funds to defray legal expenses that Mr. Trump personally incurred as the defendant in a defamation lawsuit,” and “respectfully requests that the Commission promptly investigate these violations of the Act and Commission regulations, and that Respondents be enjoined from further violations and fined the maximum amount permitted by law.”
VIEW THE LETTER SENT BY ULTRAVIOLET’S LAWYERS TO THE FEC HERE: http://weareultraviolet.org/FECletter
“More than 20 women have accused Donald Trump of sexual assault and harassment. Just as he has tried to do with Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal – Trump has tried to threaten and silence these women – but his attempts to silence Summer Zervos and her defamation case against him appear to have been funded with campaign dollars – in violation of FEC rules. Trump’s abuse of women, and illegal attempts to cover-up the accusations against him are unacceptable” explained Shaunna Thomas, co-founder and executive director of UltraViolet. “The Federal Election Commission should investigate these violations. We won’t stop holding Trump accountable for his abuse of women and make sure he is held accountable through every means available.”
A spokesperson for the Trump Campaign has denied that the payment was for work on the Zervos case – raising the question about what the payment was for.
Additionally, Thomas’ complaint note that “Any attempt by Mr. Trump to argue that payments related to the Zervos suit are campaign-related would contradict the stance Mr. Trump has taken with respect to the hush money payments made to two women claiming to have had affairs with him. Mr. Trump’s personal attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, has argued that these payments did not violate campaign finance law because they were personal, rather than campaign related.”
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.