Published On: Fri, Aug 16th, 2019

Melania Trump news: Major investigation into White House’s excessive spending launched | World | News

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff became a witness into the ongoing investigations whether the inaugural committee misspent funds or accepted bribes in exchange for access to top officials. She was was among the event planners who raised concerns over the excess spending in the weeks before the event in 2017. Ms Wolkoff was required to hand over a variety of information that could be evidence of any inaugural-related expenditures that were “wasteful, mismanaged, or improperly provided private benefit”.

Authorities are investigating whether any of the donations for the £89million event were used to improperly benefit certain individuals or came from foreign donors.

The Trump inauguration cost double the amount of Barrack Obama’s in 2009 and George W.Bush’s in 2001.

Officials are particularly interested in payments being made through the inaugural committee to Trump-owned businesses, and whether there was a fair bidding process for contractors.

Ms Wolkoff said she signed a nondisclosure agreement so was unable to comment on the investigation.

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She said: “If the Presidential Inaugural Committee wants to release me from this obligation, I would be able to speak freely without the fear of legal or financial repercussions.

“Otherwise, I am regrettably unable to provide substantial comment.”

The chairman of the committee, Thomas Barrack, was a personal friend of Trump.

Sources told CNN Ms Wolkoff clashed repeatedly with Mr Barrack and the committee over spending.

Ms Wolkfoff knew Melania for years, taking place in the First Lady’s small circle of confidants.

She was taken on board after receiving high praise for her running of the Met ball.

A close source to Ms Wolkoff told CNN she was meticulous in her record-keeping, maintaining extensive records of her work surrounding the inauguration, including detailed ledgers and spreadsheets of budget expenses.

Ms Wolkoff left the White House in February 2018 amid controversy over the expenditure when it was revealed her firm received £21million for her work on the inauguration.

In a statement in April 2019, Ms Wolkoff claimed she has been “thrown under the bus”.

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