The owner of The Lorenzo, Geoffrey Palmer, will be hosting President Donald Trump for a fundraiser Tuesday night at his home in Beverly Hills.
In July of 2016, during Trump’s presidential campaign, SEC filings state that Palmer was Trump’s single largest donor in the United States.
When he’s not being “Trump’s Los Angeles Money Man,” a title he was given by Politico in 2016, Palmer is a real estate developer with properties across Los Angeles. His company, G.H. Palmer Associates, owns numerous apartment complexes with names like Medici, Da Vinci, and Piero.
Palmer also owns the popular off-campus student housing complex, The Lorenzo. The Lorenzo’s website describes the complex as an “upscale student housing community near USC,” and states that it’s known as the best student housing near the university.
According to The Real Deal, Palmer has been involved in numerous lawsuits “railing” against Los Angeles’s affordable housing policies. Additionally, Palmer’s company was sued earlier this year for allegedly refusing to return the deposits of over 10,000 apartment residents illegally.
The multi-billionaire has a long and troubled history of involvement with political fundraising. According to Los Angeles Magazine, in 1991 Palmer was charged with 15 counts of illegally laundering political campaign contributions. The alleged scheme involved Palmer having his employees donate to political campaigns, after which he would reimburse them. This way Palmer was allegedly able to get around campaign finance laws.
Palmer made a number of other political donations to Republican campaigns. These donations include one from 2012 when he gave $500,000 to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.
During Trump’s campaign in 2016, Palmer donated to “Rebuilding America Now super PAC.” It was subsequently alleged that the super PAC was involved in campaign finance violations, and the “Rebuilding America Now” eventually became subject to Robert Mueller’s Russian Interference investigation.
Prosecutors investigated the possibility that the super PAC received donations from foreign sources, which would be highly illegal. Additionally, CLC reported that the super PAC “crossed legal lines” multiple times in 2016 by coordinating with the Trump campaign.
Palmer did not immediately respond to request for comment.
Tickets for Palmer’s fundraiser will cost up to $100,000.
About 3,000 students live at the Lorenzo, many of whom attend USC. The cheapest living space at the apartment complex typically rents for somewhere between $1,000-$1,500 per month.
Rish Rathinam is a sophomore at USC and a resident of The Lorenzo. He says he’s indifferent to Palmer’s fundraising for Trump.
“I don’t really care that the owner of The Lorenzo is a Trump donor. What he wants to do with his money is up to him and I don’t think it’s fair for me to judge him based on his political views,” said Rathinam.
Joon Lee, a junior at USC, says that learning of Palmer’s political activities changes how he would feel about potentially living at the Lorenzo.
“I would feel a bit uneasy knowing that I would be indirectly supporting Trump’s campaign by living there,” said Lee.