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June 2012
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Sale of Caribbean property owned by Trump revives ethics concerns

By JULIE BYKOWICZ Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- For sale: Luxury waterfront escape. Comes with two villas and five acres of paradise. And perhaps a bit of goodwill from the president of the United States?

President Donald Trump's corporate trust is selling a multimillion-dollar Caribbean resort, presenting an enticing new way for a wealthy interest to get the president's attention and creating a fresh ethical dilemma for a first family dogged by the repeated collision of its corporate ties and public service.

Just in the past few days, the Kushner Companies, the real estate company run by Trump's in-laws, apologized for advertising its connections to the White House during a pitch to Chinese investors. Ivanka Trump and other government employees are hawking her new book on social media -- despite her assertion that she won't promote it.

Last weekend was the president's 14th at a Trump-branded property, riling ethics experts who say the visits amount to in-kind advertising.

It's all part of a push and pull that has only intensified as the Trump administration wades deeper into policymaking. Although the family appears to be following the letter of the law to avoid conflicts of interest, Trump, his daughter and son-in-law Jared Kushner haven't always been able to keep their former business interests from creeping in.

In an effort to distance himself from his real estate empire, Trump put his properties and other business entities in a trust overseen by one of his adult sons and a senior Trump Organization executive. He has said he won't seek information about the business, but he can seize back control of the trust at any time.

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