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A Convicted Felon Registered A Bunch Of Trump-Related Domains In Asia

Joseph "Joey No Socks" Cinque's American Academy of Hospitality Sciences appears to have listed the Trump Organization's general counsel as the email contact for the sites.

Last updated on January 6, 2017, at 11:56 a.m. ET

Posted on January 4, 2017, at 10:29 a.m. ET

A firm whose president was convicted of a felony in the 1980s — and President-elect Donald Trump — appears to have registered at least two dozen web domains in Asia using Trump's name and properties.

Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images

Joseph "Joey No Socks" Cinque — who was convicted of possessing stolen property in 1989 and a New York magazine profile once connected to John Gotti, the then-head of the Gambino crime family — is the chairman of the American Association of Hospitality Sciences, which presents the "Star Diamond" award annually to restaurants, golf courses, and other establishments for "true excellence in hospitality."

The group has awarded Trump's establishments several such plaques but, as the Associated Press has reported, roughly half of the group's thirty trustees are friends or business associates of Trump.

Jeff Horwitz / AP

Cinque himself has recently been in the news for his appearance at Trump's New Year's Eve party at his Florida estate, Mar-a-Lago.

At Trump's pay-for-access party on NYE, he gave his remarks next to Joey "No Socks" Cinque, a known associate of Jo…

In a video of the event, obtained by the Palm Springs Daily News, Cinque can be seen next to Trump fist-pumping as the president-elect pledges to cut taxes and dismantle Obamacare.

In May, Trump told the AP that he was not close to Cinque and that he was unaware of his criminal background. “If a guy’s going to give you an award, you take it,” Trump said at the time. “You don’t tend to look up his whole life story.”

The connection between the AAHS and Trump Organization apparently extends to Asia, where several domains with keywords for Trump properties and families members are registered.

In the information for these sites, the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences is clearly listed as the registrant of the domain, though no sites have been built that direct to them.

Aside from sites related to Trump’s businesses, such as, sites using Trump’s grown children’s names are also registered under the AAHS’s name.

And some of the purchases go back as far as 2008, with the Trump Organization's general counsel listed as the email point of contact.

These are among the domains that have been purchased by the AAHS:

A lawyer with the AAHS on Friday confirmed that the group purchased the domains — but that they'd been handed over to the Trump Organization.

Jonathan Fickies / AP Images for Mexico Tourism Board

"In or about 2008, the referred to Registrations were formally transferred to The Trump Organization," Andy Langsam, a lawyer with the law firm Pryor Cashman who handles intellectual property issues for the AAHS, wrote in an email to BuzzFeed News.

When asked if there was more information about just why the AAHS purchased the domains in the first place, Langsam said there was none. "Possibly because there was a request by The Trump Organization knowing the Academy does much business in China for a firm that could be quickly contacted to protect the names," he wrote. "That firm either was confused, or to save time, The Academy was asked to do so immediately so as to be sure no unauthorized third parties took advantage of the availability of the domain names," he speculated.

Neither the Trump Organization nor the presidential transition team responded to a request for comment from BuzzFeed News about the nature of the relationship between the companies in purchasing the domains.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.