Try as they might, the federal courts are failing at keeping developer Felix Sater's shady criminal past a secret.
Sater was a key promoter in the Fort Lauderdale beachfront Trump tower and helped rake in millions to fund the now-abandoned project. A petition from investors to the U.S. Supreme Court says the details of Sater's past ties with mafia figures (and guilty plea in a $40-million stock ripoff) were kept from them -- lawyers say, "illegally."
The Supreme Court documents, obtained by the Miami Herald, reveal Sater's criminal activities were covered up in a deal with New York prosecutors. And now, it seems, everybody knows anyway.
Among the accusations against the guy people trusted with their condo cash: He stabbed a guy in a bar fight with the broken stem of a margarita glass, helped the government track down black-market missiles, informed on mafia figures, and pleaded guilty to a multi-million-dollar investment swindle. He's also accused of telling a condo administrator he could have him killed.
Many of the accusations were outlined In a Herald story last month, based on documents from a civil suit filed on behalf of Trump investors. The civil case was immediately sealed and the lawyer who filed it becoming the target of a federal probe.
The Supreme Court petition released yesterday says Sater's is only one of many federal cases hidden in New York, "creating a covert dual justice system accountable to no one, without public notice." Judges have heavily criticized the lawyers for dumping sealed records into public court filings and endangering witnesses; the lawyers say their clients had a right to know who they were dealing with.
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