WH cuts ties with Melania Trump aide after inauguration contract controversy
The White House has cut ties with a senior adviser to first lady Melania Trump after it was revealed the aide’s firm was paid close to $26 million to plan events around President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
The first lady’s office said in a statement that it ended its contract with Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who had been working as a special government employee.
“The Office of the First Lady severed the gratuitous services contract with Ms. Wolkoff. We thank her for her hard work and wish her all the best,” said spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham.
The New York Times first reported Wolkoff’s departure.
Inauguration committee tax documents revealed last week showed WIS Media Partners, a company based in Marina Del Rey, California, and founded by Wolkoff, received $25,843,509 for “event production services.”
The roughly $26 million the company received for its work on the inauguration was likely passed through to other vendors and event coordinators. The New York Times reported that Wolkoff personally received $1.62 million for her work.
She told the Times on Monday that most of the $26 million was paid to subcontractors, and that the $1.62 million was divided among 15 employees. Messages left by CNN with Wolkoff were not immediately returned.
Last week, Grisham said Melania Trump “had no involvement” in planning the inauguration and had “no knowledge of how funds were spent.”
Trump and Wolkoff are longtime friends.