By Robert Willmann
It is deja vu all over again. Around 1692-1693, in Salem in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, numerous people were charged with witchcraft, an accusation that was an abstraction. The situation produced the term “witch-hunt”, which remains in our vocabulary today. The term aptly describes the attempt to remove president Donald Trump by more than one means, including an effort by the appointed Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller, which effort was disguised as an investigation of “interference” by the Russian government in the 2016 presidential election. In that investigation, Gen. Michael Flynn (ret.), who had briefly been Trump’s national security advisor, was threatened with a criminal charge of violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), if he did not plead guilty to making false statements during an unrecorded interview with agents of a federal organization called the FBI.
And now, Thomas Joseph Barrack, Jr. — a self-made, accomplished man and friend of Donald Trump — is charged with crimes including violating FARA and making false statements to the FBI . As a result of his arrest, he has resigned from the Board of Regents (Board of Trustees) of the well-known University of Southern California (USC), where he has been on the board since 6 June 2012, and where he went to school, graduating in 1969. He has resigned from the real estate oriented company he founded in 1991, Colony Capital, Inc., which was listed on the New York Stock Exchange (CLNY) and became DigitalBridge Group, Inc. on 22 June 2021 with NYSE ticker DBRG. From August 1994 to September 2007, he served on the board of Continental Airlines, Inc., one of the largest passenger airlines in the United States, including as a member of its Corporate Governance Committee, Executive Committee and HR Committee. Starting in January 2014, he was on the board of Carrefour S.A., a French retailer which is one of the largest in the world. From June 2001 until 2019, he was on the board of directors of First Republic Bank, which he also helped stabilize in 2010, and which by the end of 2019 was the 17th largest bank by deposits in the U.S. He has been on the board of directors of one of the largest property companies in Hong Kong called Kerry Properties; and on the board of Korea First Bank; and Aozora Bank in Japan. And there have been others.