Trump-Russia figure vanishes as Robert Mueller closes in

An unexpected new player just joined the Trump-Russia cast of characters. Donald Trump’s favorite architect, John Fotiadis, has suddenly gone into hiding following a simple request from reporters. Known for being a “master of glass-encased towers and monumental entrances,” Fotiadis has been working to design Trump buildings for decades. According to a McClatchy article, Special Counsel Robert Mueller is interested in why Trump personally chose Fotiadis to design multiple buildings for the Trump Organization in its goal to create a foothold across the former Soviet Union, while looking into individuals involved in Trump deals that took place in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Georgia.

While a new report from CNBC states that currently there are no indications that Fotiadis has done anything nefarious, there is renewed interest in the architect who designed all or part of six Trump-branded buildings between 2007 and 2013, including “a Trump Tower in Kazakhstan; a Trump-branded seaside resort in the republic of Georgia; a 47-story Trump Tower in Tbilisi, Georgia; hotel rooms at the Trump Tower in Istanbul; a Trump movie studio complex in Florida; and major portions of the Trump Parc Stamford, a condominium tower in Connecticut.”

Despite working closely with Trump for years, Fotiadis never appeared to bring much attention to himself in terms of illegal activities. That all changed when CNBC reached out on April 11 for a comment from Fotiadis. It appears that this simple request started a chain reaction that led Fotiadis to go into hiding. He refused to respond to the request and eight hours later he announced on Twitter that he was closing his firm. Just a day later he deleted that Twitter account. Despite multiple calls, texts, and emails from CNBC, he never responded for comment or even to answer whether or not Mueller’s team had been in touch. His personal website is now just a single page basically saying JFA is no longer in business and he is planning to join an engineering company in New Jersey.

It appears that it’s not just Fotiadis that has suddenly gone silent. According to CNBC, a “half-dozen of Fotiadis’ former colleagues and associates in the U.S. and Ukraine have likewise not responded to inquiries about the architect. Nor have his former clients.” Perhaps this is all just some coincidence that questions about Mueller’s investigation happened to occur at the same time a famous architect was already preparing to go off the grid. More likely, this is just another curious case of someone who will likely regret ever doing business with Donald Trump.

I’m a ceramic engineer living in Central New York, avid sports fan but find myself more interested in politics lately.