A transaction of the type the president envisions could also prove
more expensive than the one Microsoft described on Sunday. Trump
said Monday that part of the amount paid to buy TikTok would have
to come to the U.S. Treasury Department because it would be making
the deal possible.
“It’s a little bit like the landlord/tenant; without a lease the
tenant has nothing, so they pay what’s called ‘key money,’ or they
pay something,” Trump said. “But the United States should be
reimbursed or should be paid a substantial amount of money,
because without the United States they don’t have anything, at
least having to do with the 30%.”
“Key money is when you pay a landlord money (usually under the
table) to secure an apartment,” says renters rights attorney Sam
Himmelstein, who notes that sometimes, it was supers, building
managers, or even the tenants themselves who demanded the cash.
The practice, unsurprisingly, is illegal — only licensed real
estate brokers are allowed to collect commission for an apartment — and has largely fallen by the wayside in recent years. “I
haven’t seen it in years,” says Himmelstein, “and most people
don’t report it unless they get into a scrape with their
But why even agree to this kind of bribe in the first place?
Essentially, key money served as a payoff for a lease that held
particular value, like that of a rent-stabilized apartment.
That’s how crooked this piece of shit Trump is — he just uses lingo that’s synonymous with illegal kickbacks with no shame.