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How the firm behind Trump’s $175 million bond deal was formed


Apr 3, 2024

Don Hankey, the chairman and majority shareholder of Knight Specialty Insurance, recently spoke with CNN about the quick and easy deal to underwrite a $175 million bond for former President Donald Trump in New York. Hankey mentioned that Trump put up all cash as collateral for the bond, stating that it was a straightforward transaction that came together rapidly. Knight Specialty Insurance is located in California and is known for offering subprime auto loans to buyers with lower credit scores.

Hankey, who has supported Trump’s presidential campaigns in the past, revealed that he initially contacted the Trump Organization last month when the former president was struggling to secure a $464 million bond. Eventually, the bond amount was reduced to $175 million by a New York appeals court, leading the Trump team to reconnect with Knight Specialty. Trump initially planned to use a combination of investment-grade bonds and cash as collateral but ended up posting all cash for the bond.

Although Hankey confirmed making campaign contributions to Trump in the past and intends to support him in the 2024 elections, he mentioned that he has not heard from the president directly. Eric Trump did reach out to thank him for the business. This is not the first time Hankey’s dealings have intersected with Trump’s businesses.

In 2022, Axos Bank lent Trump $100 million to refinance the mortgage on Trump Tower. Hankey, a leading shareholder in Axos at the time of the loan, claimed he was unaware of the transaction. Despite their past interactions, Hankey said the recent bond deal with Knight Specialty was purely a business arrangement and that he would have assisted anyone in a similar situation.

By editor

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