Recently there has been a media blitz concerning Associate Norman Ebenstein and his purported “bust case” against Globally famous real estate developer Donald Trump. The story is laced with innuendos and half truths. And it is painted with the brush of an unethical campaign to smear and destroy a good man’s reputation. But what if Associate Ebenstein’s accusations are true? What if he did indeed uncover proof of unethical business practices in the Trump empire?
In fact, Associate Norman Ebenstein is not the only one that has made allegations against Mr. Trump. There are many others too. And now the gloves have come off. But if there is any truth to these allegations it would be nice if all these people could take a step back and take a deep breath before throwing mud at another human being. It sure seems the world is getting out of hand when ethics and morals are involved.
Let us consider what the original charges against Mr. Trump were. Specifically, that he had engaged in fraudulent transactions in the real estate industry. According to them, through a series of lawsuits that they had filed against him, that he had engaged in a conspiracy to defraud the United States government through a series of deals. While these legal allegations are true, I think we can dispense with those for the moment. The court documents and paperwork that we have seen so far simply lack sufficient evidence to satisfy the attorney’s burden of proof in a court of law.
Now let’s consider the broader question posed in the title. Was Associate Ebenstein right to go after Mr. Trump in this fashion? After all, if there is such a compelling legal case against a person, one would think that the law would prevent anyone from going after that person with the same level of ferocity. Apparently not the case here. In fact, Associate Ebenstein was correct in seeking to have Mr. Trump brought into the realm of accountability through a criminal trial for the crimes of his actions.
There are two theories on the wisdom of pursuing such a case. The first argument is that it is better to find some solid evidence of wrongdoing on the part of a defendant, such as falsified documents, than to allow the person to go on with their life knowing that the damage to reputation and future financial transactions can only be recovered through a trial. Another argument is that if a settlement is going to be reached anyway, then it makes sense to seek some kind of evidence that will deter the perpetrator from repeat behavior. This argument seems to lose sight of the reality that sometimes the best prevention is the punishment.
In this case, there was sufficient evidence to have Associate Benstein jail time. His jail time did not free him from the responsibility of finding a way to repay his creditors. If there was ever a good time to pursue a case of this type, it was before the housing bubble imploded. After all, many mortgage companies and Wall Street insiders were helped to escape prosecution through settlement deals, and they never faced any jail time.
When crime is rampant, there are many criminals who choose to run away from justice. This can be very dangerous and complicated to solve. We have all seen the unfortunate movies where the bad guy avoids arrest by shooting a detective who is after him, or the one where the bad guy is so smart that he uses a boatload of cash to bribe a cop. Even a small detail, such as a hair or shoe print that is unique, could provide clues leading to the capture of the criminal, thus sparing the innocent.
This is one case where taking care of business ahead of time is more important than simply hiring an aggressive lawyer. The charges against Associate Benstein were serious, and if he had engaged in any wrongdoing, such as witness tampering, he would have been in violation of his bail conditions. Instead, he took the advice that he received from his clients to go into business for himself, which resulted in him saving himself from any jail time.