Trump’s Riches and the Real-Estate Tax Racket
Take property taxes. Trump often employs a tricky two-step. In the 1990s, he bought 147 acres in Westchester County and built a pristine 18-hole golf course, complete with a 101-foot-tall waterfall and a $20 million-plus, 75,000-square-foot clubhouse. In his financial disclosure report filed with the Federal Election Commission this year, Trump valued the golf course and palatial clubhouse at more than $50 million and said he made $10.3 million from it last year and early this year.
However, when it came time to pay property taxes, he claimed that the property and clubhouse was worth just $1.36 million—a 97 percent cut from his FEC disclosure figure. Right before an ABC News investigative report was set to highlight the discrepancy, Trump’s lawyers bumped up the valuation to $9 million. That’s still far short of the at least $14.3 million the city assessor estimated it at. On top of that, in 2008, Trump even got a 55 percent valuation reduction—from $38 million to $16 million.
Nicolai Schäfer/Wikimedia Commons
Trump’s deal with New York City in 1980 to build the Grand Hyatt Hotel, left, required him and his partners to return a portion of the profits to the city. However, as the ABC News investigation found, when the city audited Trump in 1989, it discovered that his team had understated total profits by more than $5 million—thus bilking the city out of almost $3 million.
He’s a repeat offender. As a USA Today investigation found, Trump’s companies have been involved in more than 100 lawsuits or other battles over unpaid taxes or how much he owes.