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Don Hankey, the Los Angeles Billionaire Who Funded Donald Trump’s Appeal Bond

Don Hankey (Credits: Bloomberg)

When it was revealed that former President Donald Trump had posted a $175-million bond to prevent asset seizure during his appeal of a New York judgment, the surprising figure behind the rescue operation was Los Angeles billionaire Don Hankey, aged 80.

Hankey, known for his success in financing vehicle sales to subprime borrowers through Westlake Financial Services, has diversified his investments beyond this industry.

Hankey’s involvement in high-profile projects, such as financing developer Nile Niami’s Bel-Air mega-mansion “The One,” has garnered attention. While the mansion project faced financial challenges and bankruptcy, Hankey’s company, Hankey Capital, recouped a huge portion of its investment.

Trump (Credits: The Hill)

Although Hankey’s wealth initially stemmed from subprime auto loans, he has expanded his business interests. Besides vehicle financing, his ventures include real estate, elective surgery loans, exotic car rentals through Midway Auto Group, and insurance through Knight Specialty Insurance Co., which underwrote Trump’s appeal bond.

Interestingly, Hankey has indirect ties to Trump through his investment in Axos Bank, which refinanced Trump Tower in 2022. While Hankey admitted his support for Trump, his decision to assist with the bond deal was purely business-driven.

Trump’s Campaign (Credits: NBC News)

The bond deal, facilitated by Hankey’s financial resources and liquidity, came together swiftly. Hankey, a hard-money lender, could provide the required funds promptly, demonstrating his ability to close deals efficiently.

Although Hankey had not previously underwritten an appeal bond, his insurance business had dealt with similar niche bonds in the past. The collateral for Trump’s bond is cash held in escrow, minimizing the risk for Hankey’s company.

Despite never speaking directly with Trump, Hankey received gratitude from Trump’s son, Eric, for the bond deal. The bond also temporarily halted fines against Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Allen Weisselberg, pending the outcome of the appeal.

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