Meet the 'subprime auto king' who arranged Trump's $175 million bond

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After weeks of uncertainty, former President Trump posted a $175 million bond in his New York civil fraud case Monday with the help of little-known California billionaire Don Hankey. 

Hankey’s Knight Specialty Insurance Company underwrote Trump’s bond, allowing the former president to move forward with his appeal of the case and preventing New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) from seizing his properties.

Hankey did not respond to a request for comment.

The billionaire, known as the “subprime auto king” in Los Angeles, made his fortune financing high-interest auto loans for customers with poor credit.

He has since expanded into finance, technology, real estate and insurance, running an eight-company empire known as The Hankey Group. He is worth about $7.4 billion, according to Forbes.

Hankey said he initially reached out to Trump after hearing about the former president’s difficulties posting the original $464 million bond in the case and “had a conversation about putting together a bond of that size,” according to CNN.

Trump’s lawyers told a New York appeals court last month that, despite “diligent efforts,” it would be “impossible” to secure the full bond due to lack of cash on hand. The court ultimately reduced the bond to $175 million.

“I heard they were looking for somebody and this is what Knight insurance does,” Hankey told Bloomberg. “We have the liquidity and I’m just happy to provide it.”

Hankey, who acknowledged that he has voted for and donated to Trump in the past, emphasized to The Washington Post that his decision to underwrite the bond was not political.

“I’m chairman of the board of several companies, and we just carry on our business and we try to stay away from political issues or taking sides,” he told the Post, adding, “I will support him in the future, but I wouldn’t consider myself a major supporter.”

Hankey has had previous financial ties to the former president via his stake in Axos Bank, which provided $225 million in loans to Trump’s businesses as other lenders cut ties in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection, according to the Post. 

However, Hankey, who is the largest individual shareholder in the bank, said he was not aware of the loans at the time.

“We would have done it for anybody else,” Hankey said to CNN of arranging Monday’s bond. “It was an easy transaction. It was put together very quickly.”

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