The woman who founded the “day spa” where New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft was arrested and later charged with soliciting prostitution has a business that offers access to President Donald Trump to fee-paying Chinese investors, Mother Jones magazine reported Saturday.
GOP donor Li Yang, who uses the name Cindy, has posted selfies on social media with Republican Party leaders and politicians — including Trump. She snapped a photo of herself with the president at a Super Bowl viewing party last month at Trump’s West Palm Beach club. (Trump cheered for the team owned by his pal Kraft.)
Yang owns a string of spas and massage parlors in Florida with a “reputation” of providing sexual services, the Miami Herald reported. She denies that she has ever broken the law.
Now Mother Jones reports that “consulting company” GY US Investments LLC, owned by Yang and her husband, Zubin Gong, offers fee-paying clients the “opportunity to interact with the president, the [U.S.] Minister of Commerce and other political figures,” according to the magazine’s translation of the firm’s web site, which is mostly in Chinese.
The site also claims it can arrange a “White House and Capitol Hill Dinner,” according to Mother Jones.
It’s not clear if access to the president was actually provided to clients. The business site posted photos of executives posing with Donald Trump Jr., according to the magazine.
The head of a Chinese electric car company posed with Eric Trump in a photo on New Year’s eve at Mar-a-Lago. He had hoped to meet the president, but Trump skipped a trip to the club then due to the government shutdown. The Chinese executive told Mother Jones the trip was organized by a public relations company that he did not name.
Yang’s business website was shut down Friday, the day the Miami Herald story about her was published. Yang’s Facebook page packed with photos of her with leading Republicans was also taken down then.
Her consulting site featured Yang posing next to Trump in a signed photo, and said she was on the “Presidential Fundraising Committee,” according to Mother Jones.
Yang’s consulting company promoted an upcoming event at Mar-a-Lago featuring Trump’s sister, Elizabeth Trump Grau, the magazine reported. The pitch touts the event as a “once-in-a-lifetime publicity opportunity” where “Chinese elites” can mingle with Trump’s sister and members of Congress, according to a Mother Jones translation.
The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Yang is a registered Republican, the Herald reported. Since 2017 she and her relatives have donated more than $42,000 to a Trump political action committee and more than $16,000 to Trump’s campaign, according to the newspaper.
Yang’s business is troubling because it raises the specter that only the wealthy can have the president’s ear. The elite few members of Mar-a-Lago, who pay $200,000 for a membership, have clearly been given special treatment by the president. ProPublica reported Wednesday that a policy suggestion written on a Mar-a-Lago napkin by a Pennsylvania dentist and member that began “Dear King,” was ordered by the president to be passed onto the secretary of Veterans Affairs.
ProPublica reported last year that Trump granted sweeping influence over Veterans Affairs to resort member Ike Perlmutter, chairman of Marvel Entertainment and was a major Trump campaign donor.
But also troubling, a security expert noted, is that a woman linked to massage parlors and Republican leaders could be in a position to blackmail powerful politicians.
It could present a “textbook story of how foreign actors gain leverage over senior officials,” David Rothkopf, a visiting scholar of the Carnegie Endowment and CEO of the Rothkopf Group, wrote in the Daily Beast Saturday in response to the Mother Jones story.
If the president is allowing Yang to sell access at Mar-a-Lago to Chinese business people “while his friends are getting serviced at businesses she started, he is making himself and the country vulnerable to massive blackmail risk,” Rothkopf warned.