Donald Trump received millions from his parents through dodgy tax practices, according to a bombshell investigation
Wednesday - 03/10/2018 01:47
A BOMBSHELL investigation has blown apart a claim US President Donald Trump has peddled about his wealth for years.
WHEN you picture wealth, you no doubt picture Donald Trump.
Born into a wealthy family, the 72-year-old made successful real estate investments, bought television shows and sports teams, and built a massive empire centred around his family name.
The US President has long claimed he’s a “self-made” man, saying he received a “small loan” of a million dollars from his father, Fred, through which he built his own $10 billion empire.
But an explosive new report claims the Trump family engaged in large-scale tax fraud for decades, with Mr Trump and his siblings allegedly receiving more than a billion dollars from their parents altogether.
Meanwhile, Mr Trump’s net worth has taken a tumble following his ascent to the White House. HOW TRUMP REALLY MADE HIS BILLIONS
A massive investigation has revealed that Mr Trump helped “his parents dodge taxes” and received far more money from his father’s real estate empire than he has claimed in the past.
The New York Times has uncovered a pattern of tax evasion that allowed Mr Trump to receive $413 million in today’s dollars from his father through alleged dodgy acts.
The bombshell report alleges that Mr Trump and his siblings received hundreds of millions of dollars from his father Fred’s real estate empire, starting from when they were children.
They reportedly “set up a sham corporation to disguise millions of dollars in gifts from their parents”, and Mr Trump “helped his father take improper tax deductions worth millions more” by undervaluing his real estate holdings.
Experts said the alleged actions amounted to “outright fraud”.
Over several decades, Mr Trump’s parents allegedly funnelled more than $1 billion to their children in gifts. The state of New York had a 55 per cent tax rate on such transactions, but according to records, the Trumps paid a mere 5 per cent in taxes on them.
If true, what did all this mean for Mr Trump? By age three, he was earning $200,000 a year in today’s dollars from his father’s empire. By age eight, he was a millionaire. By the time he’d graduated from college, he was receiving $1 million a year from his father.
It’s a drastic contrast to Mr Trump’s claim during his presidential campaign that he received a “small loan of a million dollars” from his father, and nothing more.
“My whole life, really, has been a no. It has not been easy for me. I started off in Brooklyn,” Mr Trump said in New Hampshire in October 2015. “My father gave me a small loan of a million dollars. I came into Manhattan, and I had to pay him back, and I had to pay him back with interest. But I came into Manhattan and I started buying properties, and I did great.”
Charles Harder, a lawyer representing Donald Trump, said the Times report’s claims are “100 per cent false.”
“The New York Times’ allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100 per cent false, and highly defamatory,” Mr Harder said in a statement.
“There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone. The facts upon which the Times bases its false allegations are extremely inaccurate. All estate matters were handled by licensed attorneys, licensed CPAs and licensed real estate appraisers who followed all laws and rules strictly. All matters were filed with the IRS and New York taxing authorities.
“The returns and tax positions that the Times now attacks were examined in real time by the relevant taxing authorities. The taxing authorities requested a few minor adjustments, which were made, and then fully approved all of the tax filings. These matters have now been closed for more than a decade.”
He added that the President “had virtually no involvement whatsoever with these matters,” which were “handled by other Trump family members” who relied on professionals.
Mr Trump has consistently refused to release his tax returns to the public, in an unusual move for a US President.
The state tax department has announced a review of the allegations.
WHY TRUMP’S NET WORTH HAS TAKEN A HIT
The bombshell report comes as Mr Trump’s net worth has declined by more than $1 billion since he launched his presidential campaign just over three years ago.
In 2015, Mr Trump’s net worth sat at $4.5 billion. It’s since dropped down to $3.1 billion, seeing the US leader tumble in the Forbes 400 list.
Last year, he was listed as the 248th wealthiest person in the United States, down from 156th the year before.
Mr Trump’s net worth has been plummeting since Inauguration Day, despite his best efforts, according to a new Forbes report.
“Much as he’s trying — and he’s definitely trying — Donald Trump is not getting richer off the presidency,” the report states.
Forbes notes this is partly due to external factors, like larger market forces. “Trump owns commercial space at a time when e-commerce is decimating brick-and-mortar retail, shaving more than $100 million off his fortune — and no amount of bully-pulpit Amazon-bashing will change that.”
Media scrutiny of his real estate empire have also raised doubts about his worth.
But his controversial high-profile image has also played a key role.
As early as the lead-up to the 2016 election, big-name companies were hesitant to align themselves with a man who bashed everybody from Mexicans to Muslims to the Pope, according to the magazine.
At the same time, Mr Trump’s golf properties in the US fell by around 9 per cent in 2017. The heightened security measures like metal detectors and on-site bomb-sniffing dogs detracted from the luxurious marketing.
“It’s not a country-club experience,” a source familiar with the President’s golf business told Forbes. “It was captivating at first, but it has become tiresome.”
In other words, the presidency is costing Mr Trump.
“He’s so polarising that people are afraid to do business with him,” said Jeff Lotman, who runs the licensing company Global Icons. “He has significantly tarnished the brand.”
Cyndy Salgado, a real estate broker who sold Trump Organisation condos in Chicago, gave a similar argument. Asked about his declining property values, she said: “People bought into the building based on the brand being synonymous with luxury. Now many people feel that the brand represents divisiveness, embarrassment and questionable morals.”
Condo prices at Trump Tower are now roughly 33 per cent off their highs, according to the magazine.
Mr Trump gave the operations of the Trump Organisation to his sons Donald Jr and Eric.
“My father made a tremendous sacrifice when he left a company that he spent his entire life building to go into politics,” said Eric in a statement to Forbes. “Everything he does is for the good of the American people — he has zero involvement in the Trump Organisation and quite frankly to suggest otherwise is outrageous.”
The authors also noted that if Mr Trump had liquidated, paid capital gains taxes on his wealth and created a blind trust to invest it all, he would be $500 million richer today.
There is, however, a slight upside. Mr Trump’s election victory will likely add an extra $10 million to the price tag of Trump Tower.
His exclusive Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, is also estimated to have increased $10 million in value.
Likewise, the Boeing 757 he flouted during campaign rallies could fetch an additional $6 million.
In 2000, Mr Trump famously said: “It’s very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it.”