The Detroit Post
Monday, 18 October, 2021

Is Trump Rich

Carole Stephens
• Tuesday, 05 January, 2021
• 18 min read

Donald Trump is unquestionably the wealthiest person to inhabit the White House, but getting an exact figure on his net worth? Part of the challenge is that the sprawling enterprise that he still owns, The Trump Organization, is a private entity that isn’t required to publish financial statements as a publicly traded company would be.

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While NBC News reported in 2015 that Trump claimed in a press release that he was worth more than $10 billion, that’s widely regarded as more bravado than reality. Perhaps the most cited valuation is from Forbes, which in April 2020 assessed the president’s net worth at $2.1 billion.That figure reflects a major slide from his estimated $3.1 billion fortune just a month earlier, before COVID-19 decimated the commercial real estate and hospitality industries.

Trump has notoriously refused to publish his tax returns, which makes determining his income very difficult, tax returns do not contain a person's net worth.President Trump has completed the annual financial disclosure forms that presidents are required to submit through the U.S. Office of Government Ethics. “This is compounded by the fact that these estimates are self-reported, unaudited, and clash with numbers the Trump Organization has reported stating and local tax officials.

The finance-oriented media firm certainly doesn’t have precise values for every property that The Trump Organization, now being run by sons Donald Jr. and Eric, owns. In April, Forbes put Trump ’s net worth at roughly $2.1 billion, reflecting a sudden drop in value brought on by the pandemic.

Much of Trump ’s wealth is tied to a handful of multiuse buildings in Manhattan, including 125,000 square feet of retail real estate in the usually busy Midtown district. The company’s hospitality holdings, including the Trump International Hotel down the street from the White House, are now valued at $38 million.

The Trump Organization owns a number of exclusive golf properties, from Colts Head, N.J., to Dubai.While players are still able to hit the links at most of those courses, the steep price of membership doesn’t make them recession-proof. “Mar-A-Lago is valued more like a billionaire’s trophy than an operating business, which seems to shield the impact of the current downturn,” writes Dan Alexander of Forbes.

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Because he runs a complex, privately owned enterprise, getting an accurate read-out on Donald Trump ’s net worth is an all but impossible task. Reporter David Parenthood explains what else we’ve learned from these documents about the president’s business ventures.

Over the weekend, President Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. Then Florida’s tourism economy crashed, leaving hundreds of people trapped in rundown motels on the edge of society.

Trump ’s operating income is real and documented, laid out in paperwork from local tax offices, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the president’s business partners. Don’t be fooled: The news is not that the president is broke (the Times story notes that tax returns do not list someone’s net worth).

Consider 40 Wall Street, a skyscraper in New York City that Donald Trump controls. Documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission show that Trump ’s net operating income was $18.1 million in 2019.

In interviews conducted a few months ago, eight New York City real estate experts suggested multiples to apply to this income and square footage numbers. Coming up with an exact valuation is difficult, but taking the average of the two methodologies and calling it $401 million seems to be a fair approach.

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Repeat a similar exercise across Trump ’s entire portfolio, and the assets add up to an estimated $3.7 billion. It may get wiped out by the time Trump ’s accountants finish preparing his taxes, but there’s no denying it’s there at the start, given that it’s documented on plenty of other paperwork.

The president’s partner at 555 California Street, a publicly traded real estate firm named Tornado, disclosed in public filings that its 70% share of the building kicked off $60 million of net operating income in 2019; that means Trump ’s 30% stake produced $26 million. A Trump Organization representative told Forbes in September 2019 that the president’s store at 6 East 57th Street hauled in $10.7 million of profit annually.

Altogether, Trump ’s interests in those buildings, which also include residential space in several of them, are worth an estimated $2.3 billion before subtracting debt. He owns ten traditional U.S. golf clubs, which generated $108 million of revenue in 2019, according to an analysis of the president’s annual financial disclosure report.

It’s hard to determine the operating margins on those properties, but past performance offers a clue. Documents connected to the Trump club in Jupiter, Florida, show margins of 19% in 2013, 13% in 2014 and 13% in 2015.

After hearing those figures, seven golf experts still estimated pre-COVID-19 margins at an average of 21%, which would suggest the operations were throwing off a combined $23 million last year. A representative for the Trump Organization told Forbes that profits ticked up to $9.7 million in 2018.

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In mid-September, Forbes reported that Doral and the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., seemed to be struggling financially. The D.C. hotel opened in 2016 and, by 2018, Trump had already declared tax losses of $55.5 million there, according to the Times.

There are plenty of other revenue-generating properties in Trump ’s portfolio, including a 50% share of a hotel-condo collection in Las Vegas, a licensing business and Mar-A-Lago. Then there are the toys, which don’t: the airplanes, helicopters and homes in New York, Florida and St. Martin.

A big chunk of Trump ’s liabilities is concentrated in 1290 Avenue of the Americas in New York City and 555 California Street in San Francisco, the two skyscrapers he owns in conjunction with Tornado. That adds up to $1.5 billion in total debt, and Trump ’s 30% share amounts to $448 million.

The president owes hundreds of millions more on other Manhattan buildings, as documented in SEC filings and property records. The president’s financial disclosure report lists liabilities against his Chicago tower of more than $75 million.

Trump has an $11 million mortgage against a mansion in Palm Beach, plus another loan against a palace in Bedford, New York. Having debt requires paying interest, which reduces the profits Trump has to declare on his tax returns.

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Donald Trump wrote off $26 million in “unexplained” consulting fees from 2010 to 2018, according to the Times. “If the payments to his daughter were compensation for work, it’s not clear why Trump would do it in this form,” the Times says, “other than to reduce his own tax liability.

Another, more legally perilous possibility is that the fees were a way to transfer assets to his children without incurring a gift tax.” Photo by Neckband on Unsplash Donald Trump owns hotels, golf courses, brands and other assets.

Donald Trump has refused to release his tax returns to the public while president. This billionaire's New York real estate has been estimated to be worth about $1.5 billion, give or take a few dollars.

In addition to these real estate holdings, Trump owns property in San Francisco, Las Vegas, Washington DC, Charlottesville, California, and Chicago. He also owns numerous golf courses and clubs, worth about $590 million.

His cash and prolific personal assets have been estimated to be worth about $310 million. This includes liquid assets, Trump's penthouse in Trump Tower, his personal plane, and numerous homes including residences in Palm Beach, Bedford, New York, St. Martin, the West Indies, and Virginia.

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Presidents are not required by law to release their tax returns to the public, but they often do so anyway, in the name of being transparent. Every sitting president between 1974 and 2012 released their taxes to the public voluntarily while in office except for Gerald Ford.

Ford did, however, share some data with the public that included his taxable income, tax paid, and major deductions he had filed. 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. 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.

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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. 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.

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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. “It took decades to unwind the elaborate farce Trump had enacted to project an image as one of the richest people in America.

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”. Although Trump did not run as a candidate in the 2012 elections, his “professionally prepared” 2012 financial disclosure was published in his book, which claimed a $7billion net worth.

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”. 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.

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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. 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.

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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. Trump has often given much higher values for his wealth than organizations estimating it.

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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.

Trump formed his own charitable foundation in 1988. In the first decade of the 2000s, he gave away $2.8 million through the foundation (though he had pledged three times that amount).

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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). “ “Donald Trump : The $7 billion dollar man”.

“The Problem With Donald Trump's One-Page Summary on His Wealth”. “Donald Trump will declare $9 billion in assets as he reveals 2016 plans”.

“As Trump Files FEC Disclosure, He Raises Claimed Net Worth To $10 Billion; Forbes Disagrees”. Trump Is Richer in Property and Deeper in Debt in New Valuation”.

^ “Donald Trump wealth details released by federal regulators”. Trump's Empire: A Maze of Debts and Opaque Ties”.

“Why Donald Trump's Tax Returns May Prove He's Not That Rich ". “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”.

“ An Inherited Money Dude from Queens County”: How Unseen Candidate Characteristics Affect Voter Perceptions”. Trump Foundation lacks the certification required for charities that solicit money”.

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