The story of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort's dramatic plunge from his perch as a highly paid Republican consultant to alleged conspirator against the United States has, like most things, a Brooklyn blog angle. The connection dates back to February of this year, when Carroll Gardens blogger Katia Kelly wondered about a Union Street brownstone that she discovered was owned by Manafort.

The Daily Beast looks at how Kelly, along with Matt Termine and Julian Russo, became part of the story:

Kelly revealed that a dilapidated-looking brownstone that was creating an eyesore two blocks from her home is owned by the Washington super-lobbyist.

“I don’t know what to make of all this,” Kelly wrote on Feb. 16, after examining public records of the 2012 sale of the house and a 2013 renovation permit. “Maybe one of my readers can interpret these transactions?”

Brooklyn residents and corporate lawyers Matt Termine, who lives a 15-minute walk from the Manafort house, and Julian Russo, who lives in south Brooklyn several miles away, took Kelly up on her invitation; through dogged study of public records of purchases and mortgages during their off-hours and weekends, Termine and Russo uncovered a series of unusual loans and other financial transactions involving the Carroll Gardens property and several others owned by Manafort.

In the indictment from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office, the feds accuse Manafort of laundering millions through various ventures, including the brownstone as well as a Soho apartment on Howard Street. Manafort allegedly took out huge mortgages and loans on the NYC properties. According to the complaint, he received a $5 million loan on the Union Street brownstone (which he paid for with $3 million in cash), claiming $1.4 million would be used for construction. But the feds say that he used the $1.4 million to pay off another mortgage and buy a property in California.

Manafort-Gates Indictment from Justice Department by Jen Chung on Scribd

Asked if they had been contacted by anyone from the Mueller investigation, Termine told the Daily Beast, "We’re actually not able to comment on that."

The NY Times notes that while Manafort could eventually be pardoned by President Trump, "a presidential pardon does not apply to charges from state and local authorities"—and Manhattan D.A Cy Vance and NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman are investigating him: "Mr. Vance’s office is questioning whether Mr. Manafort misled the bank when applying for the loans, the people briefed on the investigation said, a previously unreported development that hews closely to the federal indictment announced on Monday. In examining the loan documents, Mr. Vance’s office is seeking to determine whether Mr. Manafort used the loan money for an unauthorized purpose, which could amount to filing a false business record, a crime in New York State."

Kelly had told the New Yorker in March that a local resident had given her the tip:

“She told me some of the details—that he had bought it a couple of years back, that there was a crew who had worked on it, and then the work stopped, and for the last two and half years this is what it looked like. So I think the neighbors were just probably upset at the state of the front garden, and that the house had a broken window, and they must have looked up the Department of Buildings Web site to find out who it belongs to. So she tells me this story, and I said, ‘Hold on, is this the Paul Manafort, from Trump’s campaign?’ And she said, ‘Yeah, yeah, that’s the guy.’ And she actually said, ‘You know, I meant to call the New York Times, but, hey, you can have the story.’ So I walked home.

When Kelly dug into building information via the Department of Buildings' website and ACRIS, she found Manafort as an owner on one permit (other documents had LLC's listed) and, later, Manafort's wife's name on mortgages. "I was pretty sure that it was him. But, I have to say, I sat on the story for at least twenty-four hours," she told the New Yorker. "I reached out to a good friend. I said, ‘Gee, I don’t know. This is kind of strange.’ I was a little bit frightened, honestly. These are big, powerful people. I sat on it. Slept on it. Showed it to my husband. Then to my daughter. And I said, ‘Well, what do you think?’ And they said, ‘This is interesting. Put it up.’"