Thursday, May 10, 2018

Trump - No Commie Pumps - The Curious Case Of The Russian Oligarch And National Park Service Latrines

Sanctions that the Trump administration slapped on a Russian oligarch as part of an effort to punish the country for its hostile behavior in Crimea, Ukraine and Syria likely delayed the delivery of sewage pump equipment to the headquarters of the National Mall last month, forcing National Park Service employees to continue using portable toilets at work. The Russian in question is Viktor Vekselberg, the billionaire reportedly involved with $500,000 in payments to President Donald Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen. HuffPost was alerted to toilet troubles at the National Mall and Memorial Parks headquarters last month by an Interior Department employee with knowledge of the situation. The employee said at the time that the agency was working to find a new distributor to obtain a pump after the Russian sanctions held up the original order.Mike Litterst, a spokesman for the National Park Service, confirmed that the historic building, located just east of the Jefferson Memorial, has had ongoing issues with pumps in the building’s sewage pit. The pumps were replaced last summer, but burned out again in March, rendering the restrooms unusable.For weeks, employees had to use portable toilets or facilities in nearby buildings, Litterst said. It appears the restrooms would have been up and running sooner had Sulzer, a Swiss industrial company that specializes in pump equipment, not gotten wrapped up in the Russia sanctions. On April 6, the Treasury Department announced sanctions against seven Russian oligarchs with ties to President Vladimir Putin and 12 companies those individuals control or own. Among those targeted was Vekselberg, the Ukrainian-born owner of Renova Group, an investment company that specializes in metals, energy and chemicals. Until recently, Renova held a majority stake in Sulzer...MORE

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