Marvel Entertainment Chairman Leading Shadow Group Overseeing VA Affairs.
On Tuesday, ProPublica reported that Marvel Entertainment Chairman and Trump confidante Ike Perlmutter was leading a shadow group running policy for the Veteran Affairs Administration. Perlmutter, along with Palm Beach physician Bruce Moskowitz and attorney Mark Sherman, all members of Donald Trump’s exclusive Mar-a-Lago resort which charges a $200,000.00 membership fee, has been dubbed “The Mar-a-Lago Crowd” by staffers at the VA.
The trio, none of whom are veterans nor hold government office, have a sweeping influence and unprecedented amount of power over The Department of Veterans policies. Documents uncovered show the triumvirate operating with virtually no transparency or oversight and no accountability.
The 75-year-old Perlmutter, who is described as “reclusive”, has been a close friend of Donald Trump for years, contributing $1 million dollars to Trump’s campaign. The Israeli American brought Marvel out of bankruptcy in 1990 and in 2009 sold the company to Disney for $4 billion dollars. He retains the title of chairman and CEO but hasn’t overseen Marvel Studios since 2015. Few photos of Perlmutter exist and he is rarely seen. Trump went to him for advice on putting his government together.
The Mar-a-Lago Crowd has denied any financial gain from their involvement in the VA. Perlmutter fought for Israel during the war in 1967 and chose the Veterans Affairs Administration for his focus. In 2017, Perlmutter worked with Johnson & Johnson to develop a public awareness campaign for Veteran suicide. Marvel and Disney joined with Johnson & Johnson for a promotional event for Veterans Day that brought the likes of Captain America and Spider-Man to the New York Stock Exchange.
The Mar-a-Lago crowd advocated expanding Veteran’s healthcare to the private sector. They thought that some of the VA hospitals were delivering some specialty healthcare when they shouldn’t. After Trump picked White House doctor and personal physician Ronnie Jackson to lead the VA and it soon blew up amid allegations of misconduct, Perlmutter endorsed Robert Wilkie to replace Jackson. After Trump nominated Jackson he was sworn in on July 30, 2017. Now Wilkie wants to put some of his own people in leadership positions, Something the Mar-a-Lago crowd is pushing back on.
Perlmutter may have changed the landscape of the motion picture industry with Marvel Studios but it’s also clear that this little-seen but very powerful billionaire is having a much larger influence over aspects of the country’s government.
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