By Ashley Feinberg:Gawker News
Donald Trump’s most recent expenditure report is a disaster perfectly befitting the campaign from whence it came. And of all the campaign’s various questionable spending decisions ($208,000 on hats), one recipient in particular stands out—mostly because it’s named after a fake advertising company from Mad Men.
According to the newly filed finance report, Donald Trump paid $35,000 to a company called Draper Sterling LLC—a company that was founded almost exactly a month before Trump made the actual payments. All four payments were made on the same day.
And here’s the business’s corporate history, according to the New Hampshire Secretary of State’s office:
As it just so happens, the same Jon Adkins who registered Draper Sterling LLC also appears in Trump’s expenditure report under his own name as a “field consultant.”
The address at which both Jon Adkins and his business list isn’t some office building, though—it’s a home.
And a lovely looking home at that.
While Jon Adkins has made campaign contributions in the past, it wasn’t to Donald Trump. In October of 2015, Adkins donated $1,000 to Republican Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker and, in June of 2013, he donated $250 to Massachusetts State Senator Ryan Fattman. For the former, Adkins listed his employer as “Dynamics Solutions” while in the latter he listed it as “Dynamic Solutions LLC.”
And according to Missouri Scout, conservative SuperPAC Patriots for America actually owed a different state’s Draper Sterling over $56,000 for “business consulting” just a few months ago. This Draper Sterling, however, was incorporated in December 2, 2015 in Delaware, which was also about a month before it showed up on the SuperPAC’s filings.
If you feel like things are starting to get confusing, just wait—it gets worse.
This past May, the Missouri Ethics Commission filed a complaint against Patriots for America for not complying with state guidelines, including a failure “to comply with the reporting requirements,” register expenditures with the Missouri Ethics Commission, appoint an in-state treasurer, and open a depository in the state.
According to Patriots for America’s filing, its sole donor was a nonprofit corporation called Franklin & Lee, from which it got $84,000 over the course of January and February. As California Is Not For Sale explained:
And where did Franklin & Lee get that money? No one knows. As a nonprofit, it isn’t required to divulge its donors in the way that a super PAC is.
Little information is available about Franklin & Lee. But its mailing address in the tiny town of Paquoson, Va., is the same as one of the listed addresses for McLain, the former Brunner staffer who set up the Patriots for America super PAC, according to campaign records.
McLain also shares an address with the super PAC itself — in the same town as the nonprofit, about four blocks away, according to a Paquoson map.
Now, lets’ get back to Jon Adkins. His LinkedIn page points out that, in addition to being a co-founder of Dynamic Solutions LLC (Draper Sterling is not listed), he is also a Vice President and Co-Founder at XenoTherapeutics Inc, “an early stage medical device and research company, started in 2016, principally focused on bringing the promising technology of xenotransplantation (transplants involving different species) to a regulatory and commercial reality while addressing the questions involving the intersection of clinical, engineering, and financial considerations.” Or what’s otherwise known as the process of transplanting the cells from one species to another. All of which is certainly a stretch from the “web advertising services” he rendered for the Trump campaign.
Dynamic Solutions, however, does at least make slightly more sense in terms of potentially being able to offer campaign services:
Dynamic Solutions is a scientific and technical consulting firm, which specializes in data analysis, process optimization, and organizational efficiency in industries including health care, politics, philanthropy, and medical device development.
At some point between last night, when Trump’s filings were released, and the time of publication, the website for XenoTherapeutics has been made private, but thankfully, Google still has a cached version for our viewing pleasure. Here’s the homepage:
And the “Meet Our Team” page:
The Dynamic Solutions Facebook page has apparently been deleted entirely.
So who is this Paul Holzer listed next to Jon Adkins on XenoTherapeutics’ website? According to a document that secured the merger of Adkins’ Florida-based Dynamic Solution Systems with his Massachusetts-based Dynamic Solution Systems, Paul Holzer is his partner in the Dynamic Solutions game, as well.
Remember how Draper Sterling was owed all that money by the Patriots for America SuperPac? Apparently, Paul Holzer was actually the Chief of Staff for gubernatorial candidate John Brunner in that very same Missouri race. As The Missouri Times wrote back in July:
Paul Holzer is Chief of Staff to John Brunner. He served as a United States Navy SEAL Officer from 2003-2013, deploying to combat four times including Iraq and Afghanistan; he ultimately attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander and was awarded two Bronze Stars. Mr. Holzer also holds a Master’s Degree in engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and later applied both skill sets as Executive Director of Massachusetts Victory and as a chief architect for the voter contact strategy in the 2014 Massachusetts election cycle on behalf of Republican Charlie Baker. Governor Baker was elected by a margin of 40,000 votes.
During this time, Holzer was also apparently a “Senior Operations Specialist” at Steward Health Care, making him quite the Renaissance man. Oh, and he also appears to be currently attending Dartmouth medical school.
Judd Legum from ThinkProgress called the number listed for Patriots For America, which forwarded them to “Grace’s Grantham Cafe, a New Hampshire coffee shop that, according to its website, was supposed to open on Memorial Day.” This coffee shop is registered to none other than Jon Adkins. Holzer’s’ brother answered the phone, but he wasn’t much help:
Asked about his connection to Draper Sterling and what services it provided to his super PAC, McLain said he had “no comment.” Asked whether Grace’s Grantham Cafe was a real cafe that has opened, McLain said he had “no comment.” Asked whether Paul Holzer was his brother, McLain also said he had “no comment.” McLain said he didn’t find the questions “relevant.”
Slate’s Ruth Graham drove to the address listed as Draper Sterling’s place of business and were greeted by Jon Adkins’ mother-in-law, who told them, “I don’t know what he does. All I do is I watch his kids” before eventually conceding that “he’s in the medical field” and “does a lot of business out of Boston. Whatever he does, I don’t know.”
Thus far, no one’s been able to pin down what exactly it is Draper Sterling—or Dynamic Solutions in any one of its forms—has done for the various campaigns it’s associated with.
We reached out to both Jon Adkins and the Trump campaign but have yet to receive a response. We will update this post if and when we hear back.
Additional reporting by Tim Burke