Billionaire Trump supporter owns firm that underwrote Trump's $175M bond

MONEY & BUSINESS: Billionaire Trump supporter owns firm that underwrote Trump’s $175M bond

The company that underwrote Donald Trump’s $175 million appeal bond in New York state’s civil fraud suit is known for offering subprime auto loans — and owned by a billionaire supporter of the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Don Hankey — the California-based businessman who made his $1.6 billion fortune from lending money to auto buyers with flawed credit history, per Forbes — came to Trump’s rescue on Monday three days before a court-imposed deadline.

The multimillion-dollar bond puts a $454 million judgement on hold while Trump appeals a ruling from Judge Arthur Engoron saying he lied for years about his wealth to prop up his real estate empire — and barred the former president, his two eldest sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr. and other top Trump Organization execs from heading any company in the Big Apple for two and three years, variously.

Knight Specialty Insurance Company — known for offering subprime auto loans — underwrote Donald Trump’s $175 million appeal bond in New York state’s civil fraud suit on Monday, just three days before a court-imposed deadline. AFP via Getty Images

Hankey — who told Forbes that both cash and investment-grade bonds were used as collateral for Trumps appellate bond — is the chairman and chief executive Knight Specialty Insurance Company.

Hankey said that his company had reached out to Trump to initiate the deal, just days before an appeals court slashed the amount he would have to pay while his appeal was heard, according to Forbes.

“This is what we do at Knight Insurance,” Hankey said, and confirmed he had supported Trump’s political campaigns in the past, Forbes reported.

“I’d never met Donald Trump. I’d never talked to him on the phone. I heard that he needed a loan or a bond, and this is what we do. So, we reached out, and he responded.”

Hankey said the deal came together within a few days, according to Forbes.

It wasn’t the first time Hankey was tied up in a business deal with the 45th President of the United States without meeting the 77-year-old businessman turned politician. In 2022, Hankey was the largest individual owner of Axos Financial when that lender similarly bailed Trump out of trouble by refinancing his mortgages at Trump Tower in Miami, according to Forbes.

Don Hankey, a California-based billionaire and owner of Knight Insurance, wearing a blue shirt and tie, known for underwriting Trump's $175M bond
Knight Insurance is owned by California-based billionaire Don Hankey, who has previously supported supported Trump’s political campaigns. Hankey Group

Axos had also made at least two loans backed by at least two properties owned by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, when he served as the CEO.

Hankey’s latest attempt at helping Trump out has saved his assets, including his prized NYC property at 40 Wall Street, from New York Attorney General Letitia James’s attempt at seizing Trump’s assets — which she vowed to do without hesitation if he couldn’t cough up the judgement or bond.

Trump’s team has claimed they couldn’t find a backer after approaching 30 surety firms. And said he Trump didn’t want to sell any of his buildings at “fire sale” prices just to cover the funds.

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