Trump Organisation lawyer and Scots public affairs exec team up for book on US president

A senior Trump Organisation executive tasked with managing the company’s potential conflicts of interest during Donald Trump’s presidency has teamed up with a former editor of a Scottish newspaper to write a “behind the scenes” account of the the US president’s business dealings, The Scotsman can reveal.

George Sorial, executive vice president and chief compliance counsel for the Trump Organisation, is co-writing the book alongside Damian Bates, a former editor of the Press and Journal.

The book, entitled ‘The Real Deal: My Decade Fighting Battles and Winning Wars with Trump’, is billed as a collection of “behind the scenes stories of Trump’s leadership, problem solving, and success.” It promises readers an insight into the “life lessons” accrued “from a decade with a man of the people.”

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The book is expected to chronicle the Trump Organisation’s move into Scotland with Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire and its subsequent acquisition of the historic Turnberry hotel and golf resort in South Ayrshire.

Trump Organisation executive George Sorial on a visit to the under construction Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire in 2009. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty

Mr Sorial was the driving force behind Trump’s protracted and contentious attempts to create his inaugural Scottish golf course, giving evidence before the Scottish Parliament and meeting former first minister Alex Salmond.

The former real estate lawyer, whose mother is from the Lewis village of Bragar, has been employed by Trump since 2007. He has been secretary of the company behind the Aberdeenshire resort since November 2008.

Mr Bates, who in 2013 married Sarah Malone, the Peterhead-born executive vice president of Trump International Golf Links, stepped down as editor of the Press and Journal and editor-in-chief of Aberdeenshire Journals in 2017. Under his editorship, the daily title hired Trump as a columnist during the 2016 US election campaign.

Mr Bates now runs Abraitis & Co, a strategic communications consultancy, and is chair of Fifth Ring, a PR and marketing agency in which DC Thomson, publishers of the Press and Journal, has a majority stake.

He is also a member of the investigations panel for the Independent Press Standards Organisation, the UK’s largest press regulator, as well as a visiting professor at Robert Gordon University, which in 2015 stripped Trump of an honorary degree it awarded him five years previously.

Mr Sorial and Mr Bates have been working on the book since early last year. A source familiar with the project told The Scotsman the co-authors have interviewed Trump in person on several occasions for the book.

Last year, Mr Bates posted a photograph on his Facebook account standing outside Air Force One. His profile picture on the social network shows him standing outside the White House.

The book will be published in June by Broadside Books, a conservative-leaning imprint of HarperCollins, part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp group.

According to the publisher’s website, Broadside specialises in “ conservative non fiction” which spans the “full range of right of centre thought and opinion.”

Its recent titles include The Russia Hoax, which claims to reveal an “illicit scheme to clear Hillary Clinton and frame Donald Trump,” and The Deep State, concerned with “how an army of bureaucrats protected Barack Obama and is working to destroy the Trump agenda.”

Neither Mr Sorial nor Mr Bates responded to enquiries from The Scotsman.