Melania Trump drops adviser who was paid $26M to plan president's inauguration

Melania Trump drops adviser who was paid $26M to plan president's inauguration

First lady Melania Trump's NY friend, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, has been cut loose from her team as an unpaid adviser after controversy arose over the $26 million her firm received from the presidential inaugural committee.

Melania's spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham has told USA TODAY that the office had "severed the gratuitous services contract with Ms Wolkoff".

The First Lady, 47, was a guest at Ms Winston Wolkoff's 40th birthday party and the two women were close enough to meet for lunch every month, according to a New York Times profile.

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who helped plan events for events for the inauguration of Donald Trump, leaves Trump Tower on December 5, 2016. There are reports that claimed that WIS Media Partners was established as a company just weeks before Trump's inauguration.

The first lady and Wolkoff are expected to remain friends.

Firing back in an email, Ms. Winston Wolkoff said she was "proud of the work that we did to support the inauguration".

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Wolkoff, who was known for helping Vogue editor Anna Wintour plan the annual Met Gala, has been a friend to the first lady, a former fashion model, for years, and was one of the first people Mrs. Trump turned to after Donald Trump was elected.

She also said the first lady's decision had nothing to do with the inauguration contract and that she still maintains her relationship with her.

According to a tax filing by the inaugural committee, Mr Monn's firm was paid $4.75 million primarily to plan two events, one of which was billed as a "candlelight dinner" attended by Mr and Mrs Trump and Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen. She had worked as a "special government employee" handling special projects.

Melania Trump - who rarely makes public remarks - did not specifically address gun-control policy in her brief comments on Monday, but she spoke for about five minutes in general terms about the subject that she says is her signature issue: The welfare of children.

Inauguration committee chairman Tom Barrack had promised to donate any of the record $107 million raised by the committee and not used during the events to charity, but has not yet revealed where those funds have gone.

Winston Wolkoff said Monn "is an exceptional event planner who is universally respected for his design and décor expertise".

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