Speed Reads

white house drama

Melania Trump parts ways with adviser following backlash over inaugural contract

A spokeswoman for first lady Melania Trump confirmed Monday that her office has "severed the gratuitous services contract" with adviser and friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, following news that President Trump's inaugural committee paid Wolkoff's firm $26 million for helping plan inaugural events in January 2017.

Two people with knowledge of the matter told The New York Times the contract was terminated last week, after the Trumps made it known they were not happy Wolkoff's firm, WIS Media Partners, received such a large sum of money. The president was also reportedly "enraged" that a friend Wolkoff brought in to help plan events, David Monn, received $3.7 million. Melania Trump's spokeswoman said the first lady "had no involvement" with the nonprofit 58th Presidential Inaugural Committee and "had no knowledge of how funds were spent."

Wolkoff told the Times she was "informed by the White House counsel's office that all gratuitous volunteer contracts were ended," and expects to "remain a trusted source for advice and support on an informal basis." Wolkoff, a New York City society event planner, also said most of the money her firm received went to pay subcontractors, and she split her $1.62 million commission with 14 other staffers for their consulting and creative services.