Ex-White House strategist Steve Bannon appears to have recently sought a loan against a Connecticut property linked to one of his troubled nonprofits, documents reviewed by The Daily Beast show, even though the charitable organization no longer owns the home.
The materials, addressed directly to Bannon at the $1.5 million stone estate in the plush suburban town of Wilton, do not reveal the amount of money sought, nor what Bannon sought it for. They do, however, date the loan application to Dec. 2, 2021, roughly three weeks after a grand jury indicted Bannon for refusing to testify before the House committee probing the Jan. 6 riot and around two weeks following his initial appearances in federal court.
They also indicate Bannon attempted to borrow the dough from a Phoenix branch of KS Statebank, a Kansas-based lender, via a Delaware limited liability company named for the home’s address.
Neither a spokesperson for Bannon nor his powerhouse attorneys responded to repeated requests for comment, and calls and emails to the bank and its employees went unanswered. It is unclear if the money ever came through, because the bank signaled in the documents it might want an appraisal of the five-acre compound, with its in-ground pool and guest house—and Bannon in fact does not own the home or any stake in it.
Rather, public records and private communications The Daily Beast uncovered show that the property briefly belonged to the Rule of Law Society, a nonprofit Bannon founded in 2018 with fugitive Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui. Property records show that a separate limited liability company helmed by two of that nonprofit’s officers, including its attorney David Podhaskie, bought the home from controversial right-wing psychiatrist Jeffrey Satinover in early August 2020. Efforts to reach Podhaskie and Satinover for comment for this story proved unsuccessful.
Just weeks later, federal agents arrested Bannon on Guo’s yacht off the Connecticut coast for allegedly embezzling from a separate nonprofit, We Build the Wall. Bannon would eventually get a pardon from defeated President Donald Trump, and in the meantime, the terms of his $5 million bail allowed him to continue traveling to the Nutmeg State.
But the Rule of Law Society apparently decided not to hold on to the posh pad. The Daily Beast obtained what appears to be an email Podhaskie sent to the organization’s board on Oct. 15, 2020.
“I am happy to report that within two weeks of listing the Connecticut house for sale, we have received an all-cash offer of $1,500,000,” Podhaskie wrote in an email, under a subject line including the property’s address. “The Rule of Law Society intends to move forward with this transaction. If anyone has any questions, comments or concerns, feel free to reach out.”
The sale went through on Nov. 19, 2020, though Wilton land records show the final price was $1,437,500, almost $40,000 less than the group had paid to acquire the house from Satinover just three months before. The new purchasers told The Daily Beast they had no involvement with Bannon or any loan application, but declined to comment further.
Making the date listed on the mortgage request even stranger, CNBC reported that Bannon had left the Rule of Society—which purports to promote democracy in mainland China—in August 2021. His co-founder, Guo Wengui, has since been embroiled in a cryptocurrency controversy that saw his companies cough up half a billion dollars to the Securities and Exchange Commission and has faced recriminations from former aides and supporters.
Bannon, for his part, faces up to $200,000 in fines and a year in prison for his refusal to cooperate with the House probe. He has maintained he cannot divulge his communications with Trump ahead of the attack on the Capitol last year because they enjoy executive privilege—despite the Republican being out of office for nearly a year.