From friend to foe
Stephanie Winston Wolkoff was friends with first lady Melania Trump for more than a decade, and while she briefly served in the White House as an adviser, she is now spending her time working with "three different prosecutors" who are looking into whether any financial crimes were committed during the planning and execution of President Trump's 2017 inauguration.
Winston Wolkoff writes about her relationship with the Trump family in her new book, Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of My Friendship with the First Lady, out Tuesday. In an interview with ABC News that aired Monday, Winston Wolkoff said she is working with the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of New York and the attorneys general in New Jersey and Washington, D.C. as they probe the inauguration. "It's taken over my life," she added.
The inaugural committee spent a record $104 million on Trump's inauguration. In 2018, The New York Times reported that Winston Wolkoff's event-planning firm received more than $26 million from the committee; she told ABC News most of the money was transferred to another company that produced multiple inaugural events. This article turned her into "the cover girl for the inauguration shenanigans," she said, and when she appealed to Trump for help, the first lady refused to help Winston Wolkoff clear her name.
Trump's spokesperson told the Times she had "no involvement" with the inaugural committee and "had no knowledge of how funds were spent." This, Winston Wolkoff writes in her book, was "complete and utter horses--t." Winston Wolkoff said Trump personally approved several pricey expenditures, including $130,000 Tiffany crystal bowls that were given to inaugural dinner guests. Winston Wolkoff told ABC News that after the inauguration, she took a close look at the bills, and was shocked when she saw "a tree you could buy for $10 was $1,000, or a stage that would cost $100,000 was $1 million." Read more about the extravagant inauguration and Winston Wolkoff's roll in it at ABC News.