Li “Cindy” Yang, the former owner of the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida, is many things: an entrepreneur, a Trump supporter, a lover of all things bedazzled. Yet she is not a foreign government agent, as she insisted in her first interview with NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt.
During the interview, Yang denied allegations by Democrats on the House and Senate intelligence and judiciary committees that she was a foreign agent working on behalf of the Chinese government, arguing that she was being targeted solely because of her race and her political leanings.
“I’m Chinese. I’m Republican,” Yang said to NBC Nightly News’ Lester Holt. “That’s the reason the Democrats want to check me.”
Yang first made headlines when it was reported that she was the former owner of Orchids of Asia Day Spa, which was one of a handful of spas and massage parlors busted during a Florida anti-sex trafficking investigation. One of the clients busted as a result of the sting was Robert Kraft, the owner of the New England Patriots, who is now facing charges of two counts of soliciting prostitution.
Yang sold the business seven years ago, and she flatly denies maintaining any connection to it. “I sold to [new owner Hua Zhang] in 2012 or 2013,” Yang said. “How they do their business has nothing to do with me.” She is not facing any charges in connection to the investigation.
Yet Yang attracted media attention earlier this month when the Miami Herald reported that she had connections to the Trump administration and had donated $10,000 to his campaign. Yang also posted a Facebook selfie of her with the President and other members of his inner circle at a Super Bowl party at one of his Florida golf resorts.
On March 15, Dems wrote a letter to the FBI requesting an investigation into Yang’s company, GY Investments, which they allege Yang may be using as a front to offer Chinese businesspeople access to President Trump. A website for GY Investments promised “the opportunity to interact with the President, the [American] Minister of Commerce and other political figures.” (It has since been taken down.)
”Although Ms. Yang’s activities may only be those of an unscrupulous actor allegedly selling access to politicians for profit, her activities also could permit adversary governments or their agents access to these same politicians to acquire potential material for blackmail or other even more nefarious purposes,” the letter to the FBI said.
In the interview with Holt, Yang denied these allegations, saying that she has no relationship with the Chinese government. “I love Americans. I love our president. I don’t do anything wrong,” she said.