Part 2 of our series about the stories involving scandals and cigars that inspired our very own list of scandalous cigar recommendations. Check them and buy cigars online here!
Rooms full of smoke were once synonymous with political deal-making. As I write this blog, a scandal is breaking regarding Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, the president’s campaign chairman, and a mysterious meeting with Russian political operative, Konstantin Kilimnik, at a New York City cigar bar, the members-only Grand Havana Room.
Documents suggest Manafort gave Kilimnik 75 pages of polling data prior to the 2016 Republican Convention and the beginning of the general election. Special counsel Robert Mueller has filed a sentencing memo for Paul Manafort.
Mueller does not take a position on how much time in prison Manafort should serve but accuses him of "repeatedly and brazenly" breaking the law for over a decade, even after he was indicted. The 69-year-old Manafort faces a potential sentence of 19 to 24 years in his Virginia financial fraud case.
The Grand Havana Room has panoramic views of New York City from the penthouse floor of its prestigious midtown location. Here, members have the opportunity to enjoy camaraderie, entertain clients and friends, conduct business meetings, and smoke cigars in a refined atmosphere.
The 800-locker humidor room is one of the largest in the Western Hemisphere. A small retail outlet has a small selection of top brand-name cigars, including Arturo Fuente, Macanudo, Partagas, Ashton, and Dominican versions of Cohiba and Montecristo.
The Grand Havana Room meeting, blocks away from Trump Tower at 666 Fifth Avenue, happened on August 2, 2016. Manafort lied to special counsel Robert Mueller’s office about payments and financial relationships to a law firm and his dealings with his business associate Konstantin Kilimnik, who also was indicted last year and whom the FBI has linked to Russian intelligence services.
According to a September 2018 New Yorker article, former NYC mayor, now President Trump’s private attorney, Rudy Giuliani was on the club’s board of directors. The President’s son-in-law and Senior Advisor, Jared Kushner and his real estate company, Kushner Companies, purchased the office building at 666 Fifth Avenue in 2007, for a then-record price of $1.8 billion, most of it borrowed. He assumed the role of CEO in 2008.
Following the property crash that year, the cash flow generated by the property was insufficient to cover its debt service, and the Kushners were forced to sell the retail footage to Stanley Chera and bring in Vornado Realty Trust as a 50% equity partner in the ownership of the building.
By that time, Kushner Companies had lost more than $90 million on its investment. His father Charles Kushner pushed him to do the deal. It’s interesting how cigars play such a vital role in many backroom wheelings and dealings.
Here are a few of El Cigar Shop’s premium cigars to get you through these turbulent times.
#1. Wynwood Hills cigars are a brand new three-blend Robusto line from Christian Eiroa of C.L.E. and Asylum 13 fame. The series includes: Deranged, a blend featuring an Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper, Mayhem with an authentic Corojo wrapper from the Eiroa Tobacco farm, and Unhinged, a blend that incorporates a U.S. Connecticut Broadleaf Maduro wrapper. Each blend is truly unique. For their protection, the cigars are wrapped in tissue that states “Question Everything”; a statement that is very appropriate today.
#2. When you want to impress and influence your business partner, nothing will seal the deal better than whipping out your stash of Padróns. Padrón 1926 Natural No. 2 is a Nicaraguan Puro commemorating patron Jose O. Padrón’s 75th birthday. Like the founder himself, the cigar has become a legacy. The cigar is pepper forward with fleeting notes of cedar, coffee, and chocolate with a long black tea finish. Padrón 1926 Natural No. 2 is the embodiment of perfection and should be featured in every cigar aficionado’s repertoire.
#3. After he signs that contract, celebrate with an Alec Bradley Fine and Rare JRS 10= (86)- 2018, a very special limited release cigar. The 2018 version is a Gran Toro rolled with 10 different tobaccos with a Honduran wrapper from Trojes. The ultra-premium Alec Bradley Fine and Rare cigars are noted for their flawless construction, masterful blending, and layers upon layers of delectable flavors. It is possible that this is one of the greatest offerings from Alec Bradley Fine and Rare cigars, a company which was founded in 1996 by Alan Rubin.
You can find and buy all of these incredible cigars online at El Cigar Shop at incredibly great prices. Enjoy and be wary out there!