Mar-A-Lago hasn’t fallen into a hole in the ground quite yet, so all sorts of creepy crawlies are still emerging from its fetid tiling to worm their way into the Trump administration. In this case, guest reception manager Heather Rinkus and her husband, twice-convicted felon Ari Rinkus, are connected to our government with no clear trail on who is paying their ticket.
BuzzFeed News reports that several sources have confirmed Heather Rinkus was quietly brought on to the team, though no one at the White House will confirm if she is being paid with tax dollars, or if she’s resigned from her position at Mar-A-Lago. Rinkus has been helping Trump prepare for his visit to Taormina, Italy, for the G-7 Summit. She has no previous experience in government, but she does have a White House email address and a government issued phone.
This is just one in a series of issues that have popped up around ethics nightmare Mar-A-Lago, where the $200,000 membership fee buys you access to the president and a front-row seat to as many international crises Trump can crank out in a long weekend. It has also become one of Trump’s preferred meeting places for strengthening relationships with foreign dignitaries (meaning money pours in along with political entourages). Ivanka’s grabbed a piece of the pie there too. FYI, the security and the food at Mar-A-Lago both suck.
And Heather Rinkus’s position suggests that Trump is filling his poorly staffed White House crew with business cronies, blurring the line further between the government and his financial interests. Of particular concern in this case is the involvement of Heather’s husband, who has reportedly been bragging about having access to the Trump administration through his wife.
In a previous report, BuzzFeed alleged that Ari told a foreign company called Securablinds that he could secure them government and Trump Organization contracts through her. The CEO of Securablinds, Gavin Richardson, confirmed the story with them soon after it was published:
“He told us he discussed it with Eric Trump,” he said, referring to one of Trump’s sons.
Richardson said they were unaware of Rinkus’s criminal history because he went by “Ari Rink.” “I feel like we’re the victims really… He came across as credible because he talked about the Trump Organization.”
Rinkus told the Securablinds executives, Richardson said, that Heather Rinkus worked for the Trump Organization and that he had “passed (Securablinds’ information) on to different individuals in the Trump Organization” through her.
“Someone who has access to the Trump family would have been quite effective to us,” Richardson said, adding he terminated his involvement with Rinkus after reading BuzzFeed News’ story about his background.
Ari’s “background” is that he plead guilty to the “illegal possession and resale of stolen motor vehicles” in 2006 in Michigan, and then again in 2011 for “felony wire fraud for a Ponzi scheme.” The couple did not respond to requests for comment, nor did the Trump administration. An employee who answered the phone at Mar-A-Lago told BuzzFeed that Heather Rinkus was abroad for the next three weeks.
Read the full story here.