The Detroit Post
Saturday, 04 December, 2021

How Did Trump Get Rich

Ava Flores
• Thursday, 07 January, 2021
• 16 min read

Republican presidential front-runner and billionaire businessman Donald Trump loves to talk about his money. The main reason for these widely differing numbers is that so much of his business holdings are private.

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In October, the front-runner told voters that his father gave him a “small loan” of $1m to get started. Fred Trump started a million dollar residential real estate business in Brooklyn and Queens.

He needed his father to co-sign his loans and relied on his banking and political connections,” says Ms Blair. At the time many buildings in Manhattan were facing foreclosure; the Commodore itself owed $1.5m in debt and New York was not seen as the luxury vacation spot it is today.

Using the negotiating skills he talks about so shamelessly on the campaign trail, Mr Trump convinced New York City to give the hotel a 40-year tax break that saved $160m. Donald Trump may claim to be a real estate mogul, but the bulk of his net worth comes from his brand value, which he began building in the 1980s.

The young businessman did regular TV interviews and was vocal during the 1988 Republican primaries. Mr Trump solidified his reputation as a straight-talking negotiator with his decade-long run as the host of The Apprentice, where his crass remarks and public firing of potential employees, often on an apparent whim, earned him legions of fans.

Image caption Donald Trump's wealth is closely tied to the value of his personal brand He has called it a smart business move to withhold payments on contracts when he does not like the work, forcing the other side to negotiate a lower rate.

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Mr Trump's “fight like hell” style has led to several well publicized legal battles. He is facing a lawsuit over Trump University and has been sued in the past by a former employee and union pension funds.

He sued a former Miss USA contestant for criticizing the pageant he owned. He sued Deutsche Bank for refusing to give him a loan extension on a building project in Chicago.

His organization has forced lenders to cut its debt on four occasions over the last three decades. He was responsible for $900m of the nearly $3bn debt owned by the casino and was forced to give up half his ownership in the company, and sell his airline and yacht.

Forbes awarded Donald Trump five out of 10 on its self-made scale, a number the publication says indicates that he “inherited a small or medium-size business and made it into a ten-digit fortune”. Provided Mr Trump can keep his name synonymous with wealth and winning many of his business lines should do fine, but it is unclear what his bid for president will do to that image.

A study by Politico reported that Trump donates $100,000 of his salary to government agencies every few months. Donald Trump ’s father Fred was an acclaimed real estate developer who built and sold middle-class housing for families in New York City during World War II.

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Once Donald graduated from college, he joined the business and began making connections in New York City. With millions of dollars in loans, as well as other financial guidance from his father, he was able to purchase his first big piece of real estate, the Commodore Hotel.

The company met a financial crisis in the early 1990s that eventually led to the relinquishment of numerous properties. Trump's numerous real estate holdings are by far the most lucrative aspects of his career, along with branding and licensing deals.

Club facilities and residential properties provide additional lofty income. On this NBC show, Trump interviewed driven contestants for a managerial position at one of his companies.

Various news organizations have attempted to estimate Trump's wealth. Donald Trump received at least $413 million (2018 prices) from his father's business empire, the New York Times reported in 2018.

The Times drew upon more than 100,000 pages of tax returns and financial records from Fred Trump's businesses and interviews with former advisers and employees, finding 295 distinct streams of revenue that Fred Trump created over five decades in order to channel his wealth to his son. Trump is the beneficiary of several trust funds set up by his father and paternal grandmother beginning in 1949 when he was three years old.

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According to the New York Times, he “was a millionaire by age 8”, In 1976, Fred set up trust funds of $1 million ($4.5 million in 2019 dollars) for each of his five children and three grandchildren. Donald Trump was also involved in a number of allegedly fraudulent tax schemes.

When Fred Trump sold shares in Trump Palace condos to his son well below their purchase price, masking what could be considered a hidden donation, and benefiting from a tax write-off. A lawyer for Trump denied the allegations, calling them “100 percent false, and highly defamatory”.

A spokesman for the New York State tax department said the agency was “vigorously pursuing all appropriate areas of investigation”. New York City officials also indicated they are examining the matter of Trump's alleged fraudulence.

Upon Fred Trump's death in 1999, his will divided $20 million after taxes among his surviving children. His immense wealth from childhood notwithstanding, Trump has sought to burnish a reputation for business acumen by minimizing the amount of money he received from his father.

He has acknowledged borrowing just $1 million from his father as a young adult, in a sworn deposition and repeatedly on the campaign trail, calling his loan “a very small amount of money”. Due largely to income received from the show, he paid a combined $70.1 million in federal taxes in 2005, 2006, and 2007.

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When he filed taxes in 2009, he declared over $700 million in business losses and, on that basis, he asked for a refund of his federal income taxes paid in 2005–2007. The New York Times said: “He also received $21.2 million in state and local refunds, which often piggyback on federal filings,” and he may be obligated to return those refunds, too.

Trump was listed on the initial Forbes List of wealthy individuals in 1982 as having a share of his family's estimated $200 million net worth. Former Forbes reporter Jonathan Greenberg said in 2018 that during the 1980s Trump had deceived him about his actual net worth and his share of the family assets in order to appear on the list.

After several years on the Forbes List, Trump's financial losses in the 1980s caused him to be dropped from 1990 to 1995, and reportedly obliged him to borrow from his siblings' trusts in 1993; in 2005, The New York Times referred to Trump's “verbal billions” in a skeptical article about Trump's self-reported wealth. At the time, three individuals with direct knowledge of Trump's finances told reporter Timothy L. O'Brien that Trump's actual net worth was between $150 and $250 million, though Trump then publicly claimed a net worth of $5 to $6 billion.

Claiming libel, Trump sued the reporter (and his book publisher) for $5 billion, lost the case, and then lost again on appeal; Trump refused to turn over his unreacted tax returns despite his assertion they supported his case. In April 2011, amid speculation whether Trump would run as a candidate in the United States presidential election of 2012, Politico quoted unnamed sources close to him stating that, if Trump should decide to run for president, he would file “financial disclosure statements that show his net worth in excess of $7 billion with more than $250 million of cash, and very little debt”.

Forbes believed his claim of $9billion was “a whopper”, figuring it was actually $4.1 billion. In June 2015, Business Insider published Trump's June 2014 financial statement, noting that $3.3 billion of that total is represented by “Real Estate Licensing Deals, Brand and Branded Developments”, described by Business Insider as “basically that Trump values his character at $3.3 billion”.

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Forbes reduced its estimate of Trump's net worth by $125 million following Trump's controversial 2015 remarks about Mexican undocumented immigrants, which ended Trump's business contracts with Universal, Univision, Macy's, Serra, pH Corporation, and Pyromania. In 2016, Forbes estimated Trump's net worth at $3.7 billion.

During the three years after Trump announced his presidential run in 2015, Forbes estimated his net worth declined 31% and his ranking fell 138 spots. Discrepancies in estimates of various organizations is due in part to the uncertainty of appraised property values, as well as Trump's own assessment of the value of his personal brand.

In its 2018 billionaires ranking, Forbes estimated Trump's net worth at $3.1 billion (766th in the world, 248th in the U.S.). In its 2019 billionaires ranking, Forbes estimated Trump's net worth at $3.1 billion (715th in the world, 259th in the U.S.) as of 5 March 2019 .

In July 2015, federal election regulators released new details of Trump's self-reported wealth and financial holdings when he became a Republican presidential candidate, reporting that his assets are worth above $1.4 billion, which includes at least $70 million in stocks, and a debt of at least $265 million. According to Bloomberg, for the purposes of Trump's FEC filings Trump “only reported revenue for golf properties in his campaign filings even though the disclosure form asks for income”, noting independent filings showing all three of his major European golf properties were unprofitable.

Trump is a leaseholder, not owner, of the land beneath 40 Wall Street. Other outstanding Trump mortgages and debts are pegged to current market interest rates.

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A 2012 report from Trump's accounting firm estimated $451.7 million in debt and other collateral obligations. Filings in 2015 disclosed debt of $504 million, according to Fortune magazine.

Trump's outstanding debt was at least $650 million in August 2016, in addition to an outstanding loan of $950 million to the Bank of China and Deutsche Bank (among other creditors) on 1290 Avenue of the Americas, in which Trump is a minority owner. In April 2020 it is reported Trump is tens of millions of dollars in debt to China.

The debt includes $211 million from the state-owned Bank of China, which matures in 2022. Trump and his family reported more than $500 million of income in mid-2018 financial disclosure forms.

A July 2015 campaign press release, issued one month after Trump announced his presidential run, said the FEC filing “was not designed for a man of Mr. Trump's massive wealth” and that his net worth is “in excess of ”. But in September 2020, the New York Times noted that “he is personally responsible for loans and other debts totaling $421 million, with most of it coming due within four years” and no obvious way to repay them.

Trump has a total of over $1 billion in debts, borrowed to finance his assets, reported Forbes in October 2020. Around $450 million was owed to unknown creditors, due to loans related to his properties of 1290 Avenue of the Americas and 555 California Street.


In addition, Trump owes over $50 million to Chicago Unit Acquisition LLC, a company he owns, which would indicate that this company is worth over $50 million; however Trump has not disclosed any value for this company on his financial disclosure report. Overall, Trump's assets still out value his debts, reported Forbes.

On the same day, Trump's own stated estimates of his net worth have varied by as much as $3.3 billion. Trump has also acknowledged that past exaggerated estimates of his wealth have been “good for financing”.

A subsequent analysis in The Washington Post similarly noted that Trump's estimated net worth of $100 million in 1978 would have increased to $6 billion by 2016 if he had invested it in a typical retirement fund, and concluded that Trump is a mix of braggadocio, business failures, and real success.” On May 10, 2019, House Ways and Means Committee chairman Richard Neal subpoenaed the Treasury Department and the IRS for six years of Trump's tax returns.

Seven days later, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin refused to comply with the subpoenas. On May 20, 2019, President Trump lost an unrelated lawsuit in which he sought to stop his accounting firm, Majors USA, from complying with a subpoena from the House Oversight Committee for various financial records.

The ruling against Trump was issued by Judge Amit Meta of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, who also denied the president a stay of the ruling pending any future appeal. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York issued a ruling which again found that the lower court had acted properly in upholding the congressional subpoenas for Trump's financial records, but this time also ordered for Deutsche Bank and Capital One to cooperate in releasing the financial records as well.

On July 9, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that Trump cannot continue to keep his financial records secret, but ruled they should instead be given to a Manhattan District Attorney rather than the U.S. House of Representatives. In May 2019, both houses of the New York State Legislature, which is based in Trump's native and business home of New York, approved a bill which allows the state's tax commissioner to release any state tax return requested by the leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee or the Joint Committee on Taxation for any “specific and legitimate legislative purpose”.

According to a 2019 study in the journal Political Behavior, many voters who perceived Trump as a keen businessman and the right choice for the presidency changed their opinions when given the knowledge that he inherited a lot of his money from his father. In the first decade of the 2000s, he gave away $2.8 million through the foundation (though he had pledged three times that amount).

He stopped personally contributing to the foundation in 2008, though he accepted donations from others. It was facing a civil lawsuit by the New York attorney general that alleged “persistently illegal conduct” including self-dealing and funneling campaign contributions.

Furthermore, it had never been properly certified in New York and did not submit to the annual audit that would have been required. ^ a b c Bar stow, David ; Craig, Susanne ; Better, Russ (October 2, 2018).

Trump Engaged in Suspect Tax Schemes as He Reaped Riches From His Father”. Trump's false claim he built his empire with a 'small loan' from his father”.

“New York could levy hefty penalties if Trump tax fraud is proven”. ^ “New York Regulators Examine the Trump Family's Tax Schemes”.

“Fred C. Trump, Postwar Master Builder of Housing for Middle Class, Dies at 93”. “For Donald Trump, Lessons From a Brother's Suffering”.

It divided the bulk of the inheritance, at least $20 million, among his children and their descendants, 'other than my son Fred C. Trump Jr.' ^ Kessler, Glenn (March 3, 2016). “ Trump's false claim he built his empire with a 'small loan' from his father”.

Trump In Deposition: $1 Million I Borrowed From Dad's Estate A “Small Amount ". “Donald Trump : My dad gave me 'a small loan' of $1 million to get started”.

^ a b Better, Russ; Craig, Susanne; McIntyre, Mike (September 27, 2021). “ Trump's tower a sore spot on the Strip”.

“Donald Trump will declare $9 billion in assets as he reveals 2016 plans”. Trump Exaggerating His Net Worth (By 100%) In Presidential Bid”.

^ Trump has fallen 138 spots on Forbes' wealthiest-Americans list, his net worth down over $1 billion, since he announced his presidential bid in 2015”. The gap between... is largely attributable to differences in how the two publications appraised individual properties.

“Opinion | Trump's emoluments: Just a fancy name for corruption”. ^ Trump attack on Biden highlights president's own past dealings with China”.

^ Trump owed tens of millions to Bank of China”. “Donald J. Trump Files Personal Financial Disclosure Statement With Federal Election Commission” (PDF).

Ale sci, Cristina ; Frankel, Laurie; Saudi, Jeanne (May 19, 2016). “The government just released a document detailing Donald Trump's alleged $10 billion fortune”.

“Donald Trump Has At Least $1 Billion In Debt, More Than Twice The Amount He Suggested”. “Donald Trump Claims His Wealth Exceeds 'TEN BILLION DOLLARS “.

Mr Trump's performance has been mediocre compared with the stock market and property in New York. “The myth and the reality of Donald Trump's business empire”.

“House Ways and Means Chairman Subpoenas Trump Tax Records”. “Mnuchin Defies Subpoena for President Trump's Tax Returns”.

“Mnuchin defies House Democrats' subpoenas for Trump's tax returns”. Trump loses lawsuit challenging subpoena for financial records”.

^ “Judge rules against Trump in fight over president's financial records”. Trump loses lawsuit challenging subpoena for financial records”.

Benjamin Weiser & Adam Lipton, Trump Taxes: Appeals Court Rules President Must Turn Over 8 Years of Tax Returns, New York Times (November 4, 2019). ^ “Banks Must Provide Trump's Financial Records To Congress, Federal Appeals Court Rules”.

“Supreme Court Rules Trump Cannot Block Release of Financial Records”. “Supreme Court says President Trump cannot keep tax, financial records from prosecutors”.

^ McDonald, Jared; Karol, David; Mason, Lillian (January 9, 2019). “ “ An Inherited Money Dude from Queens County”: How Unseen Candidate Characteristics Affect Voter Perceptions”.

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