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President Trump pardons Cleveland real estate mogul James Kassouf, a co-host of Trump’s Bratenahl fundraiser in August

Kassouf, whose business runs parking lots and the Tower at Erieview, received a pardon for one count of making false tax return decades ago.

CLEVELAND — Among the people President Donald Trump pardoned Dec. 23 is longtime Cleveland businessman James Kassouf, who has owned and managed downtown parking lots and major properties, including the 40-story Tower at Erieview, which he and other investors purchased in 2018.

Kassouf pleaded guilty decades ago to one count of making a false tax return. As part of his 1999 plea deal and sentencing, he received one year's probation that included four months' home confinement and a $10,000 fine, according to the U.S. Justice Department records.

The statement from the White House describes the pardon this way: “President Trump granted a full pardon to James Kassouf. This pardon is supported by former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, Representative David Joyce, Representative Darrell Issa, Pastor Darrell Scott, and many friends in Northeast Ohio. Mr. Kassouf pled guilty in 1989 to one count of filing a false tax return. Since his conviction, he has devoted extensive time and resources to supporting causes such as Doctors Without Borders, the Red Cross, and his local church and fire department. Mr. Kassouf’s pastor, who also writes in support of today’s action, highlights Mr. Kassouf’s ‘vision’ to make his community a better place. Mr. Kassouf is dedicated to revitalizing the city of Cleveland and has been intensely involved in the Northeast Ohio community.”

You can read the president’s letter here.

Kassouf was among a group of Clevelanders who hosted an August fundraiser for President Trump’s campaign at the Shoreby Club in Bratenahl. The event, which generated controversy because it was held amid the pandemic, raised tens of thousands of dollars.

On Dec. 23, President Trump also pardoned several high-profile people close to his inner circle, including Charles Kushner, the father of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner; Paul Manafort, his 2016 campaign chairman; and Roger J. Stone Jr., his longtime adviser.

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