The Trump Files: Guess Who Gave Donald His Big Awards

Ivylise Simones

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Until the election, we’re bringing you “The Trump Files,” a daily dose of telling episodes, strange but true stories, or curious scenes from the life of GOP nominee Donald Trump.

Donald Trump frequently boasts of his hotels and golf resorts, and it’s true that they have won awards. The American Academy of Hospitality Sciences has given Trump at least 19 Diamond awards, which it calls “the most prestigious emblem of achievement and true quality in the world today,” for his various properties, according to journalist David Cay Johnston in his book The Making of Donald Trump. It also gave his golf course in Aberdeen, Scotland, a prize as “the best golf course worldwide.”

All of which sounds impressive. Except that the board of the Academy consisted mostly of Trump’s employees, friends, and family members.

“A majority of the trustees bestowing these awards on Trump and his properties were Trump’s employees, friends, or retainers,” Johnston writes. Two of his sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, served on the board of trustees, according to the Associated Press. Trump’s former butler of 17 years, the subject of a Mother Jones story earlier this year for calling on Facebook for President Barack Obama to be “hung for treason,” was also a trustee. Trump himself served on the board and was listed as the Academy’s “ambassador extraordinaire.”

The president of the Academy, Joseph Cinque (a.k.a. Joey No Socks), is a convicted felon with alleged ties to organized crime.

In May, Trump denied having any connection to the organization in an interview with Yahoo News, saying, “I mean, I receive awards from different places sometimes, but I’m not involved in it. How am I involved in it?”

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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