Stormy Daniels’ attorney Michael Avenatti revealed Tuesday that Columbus Nova, a company based in New York, had funneled some $500,000 to Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen. Avenatti suggested that the money may have helped cover the $130,000 spent on keeping Daniels quiet about her alleged affair with Trump.
While Columbus Nova claims it has never been “owned by any foreign entity,” it was recently listed as a subsidiary of Renova — a Russia-based conglomerate run by sanctioned oligarch Viktor Vekselberg.
However, the revelations aren’t limited solely to news about a Russia-linked company sending substantial sums to the president’s lawyer. As NBC reported Wednesday morning, Columbus Nova also spent 2016 and 2017 registering a number of websites aimed at young white supremacists, or members of the so-called “alt-right.”
Among the URLs registered were domains like Alt-Right.co, Altrights.co, Alternate-rt.com, and Alt-rite.com. Some of the domains, like Alt-Right.com and Altrights.co, were registered in late August 2016 — just a few months before the American election — while others, like Alt-rite.com, were created in August 2017.
I can answer this question since I wrote that sentence. Here are some domains purchased by Columbus Nova:
alt-right (dot) co
alternate-rt (dot) com
alt-rite (dot) com
(7 other variations on that theme)
1-800getalife (dot) com
carlcuck (dot) com
cnnjournal (dot) com https://t.co/LGQsTRBzuh
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) May 9, 2018
There’s no evidence any material ever existed on the sites, and all of them return an error message.
However, a number of the domains were registered with a specific Columbus Nova email address that appears to belong to a Columbus Nova employee named Frederick Intrater.
It is unclear how, or if, Frederick Intrater is related Columbus Nova CEO Andrew Intrater — who is Vekselberg’s cousin — but on his LinkedIn profile, Frederick Intrater lists himself as the Design Manager at Columbus Nova. CorporationWiki also lists Frederick Intrater as the “coordinator of marketing” for “Renova Unitedstates Management.”
Frederick Intrater did not respond to ThinkProgress’ request for comment via phone and email.
There are other, non-white supremacist sites also registered via Columbus Nova accounts. Many of the links are dead or don’t have anything on their sites. At least one, however — registered at 1-800getalife.com — reroutes directly to Intrater.com, a site that now has nothing on it.
However, according to the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, Intrater.com belonged to Frederick Intrater through at least March of this year, highlighting his design skills.
It remains unclear why Columbus Nova or Frederick Intrater would have been interested in registering sites aimed at young white supremacists. However, as ThinkProgress found earlier Wednesday, it wouldn’t be the first time Columbus Nova has attempted to distance itself from scandal — only to be tripped up by material online.
Despite claiming that it is a separate entity from Vekselberg’s Renova, an archived version of Renova’s site — a site that is now “under construction” — specifically listed Columbus Nova as part of Renova. The archived site helps undercut Columbus Nova’s claim that it is an independent entity with no connection to Russia, or to the oligarchs close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.