On Tuesday, the New York Times published a carefully researched article showing that Donald Trump’s entire life is a fraud. The wheeling, dealing master of the trade is actually someone who didn’t just grow up in the lap of privilege, but had everything — including his money — handed to him.
- Trump had a make-believe position with a make-believe company that paid him a very real $200,000 a year when he was three years old.
- Far from just taking $1 million from his father to start his business, as Trump has maintained in books and in interviews, he had a million in the bank from his parents by the time he was eight.
- Trump had an allowance from his father his whole life. Even as he was selling the idea of Donald Trump, entrepreneur, he was collecting $5 million a year from his father — right through his 40s and 50s.
- By the time Fred Trump died in 1999, Donald Trump had taken at least $413 million from his father. And almost every dollar had been delivered through fake companies, false reporting, and tax fraud.
- Not only did Donald Trump pocket a fortune, his brother and sister also seem complicit in splitting more than $1 billion and defrauding the government out of more than half a billion in taxes.
And now CNBC reports that report of massive fraud has caught the attention of New York state officials.
“The Tax Department is reviewing the allegations in the NYT article and is vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation,” a spokesman from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance said in an email to CNBC.
The IRS is limited in its ability to pursue criminal penalties against fraud that occurred twenty years ago. However, that won’t stop either state of federal officials from considering civil suits to recover the funds … and it doesn’t mean Trump and his siblings are off the hook.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders responded to the Times story through the usual Trump approaches.
A string of non sequiturs — “the market is at an all-time high,” “unemployment is at a fifty year low,” “taxes for families and businesses have been cut.” An equal dose of claims that the New York Times never says anything good about Trump. And, of course, liberal use of the term “failing.”
Trump weighed in on Wednesday morning with a capital-F “Failing” tweet.
The Failing New York Times did something I have never seen done before. They used the concept of “time value of money” in doing a very old, boring and often told hit piece on me. Added up, this means that 97% of their stories on me are bad. Never recovered from bad election call!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 3, 2018
Where the idea that the worst thing he could think to say about the article was that they adjusted the relative value of 1999 dollars in reporting his massive take.
The truth is that Donald Trump’s whole life story is a fiction. Not only was his oft-told “I got a small loan” from his father story off by at least $60 million in flat out recorded loans from Fred Trump to Donald Trump, that’s only a fraction of what Trump was actually raking in through shell companies that recorded him as everything from a vice president to a bookkeeper and awarded him salaries for doing nothing.
And even so, even in the 1990s when Trump’s father was illegally shoveling money to Trump through every conceivable means, including buying over $3 million in chips at his casino and simply leaving them behind … even with all that, Trump failed. In 1991 his biggest casino failed. In 1992, his other two casinos went down, along with his biggest property in New York. Then, when Trump made off with hundreds of millions more following his father’s death in 1999, he still ended up filing bankruptcy for his entire hotel and entertainment business in 2004.
Donald Trump isn’t just a rich kid who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and a daddy who put cash into him through every orifice. He’s not just a guy who was still living on his allowance into his 50s. He’s a guy who got all that and still failed.
In fact, the only thing that saved Trump was 9/11. It didn’t just (not) make his building the tallest, legislation passed in the wake of that disaster closed down many loopholes that were then used for money-laundering. Trump had already faced record fines for continuous money-laundering through his casinos. But after 2002, that door was closed much tighter.
The door that was left open, happily enough for Trump, was real estate. And that’s how he recovered from spending all his daddy’s cash and then some — by being bailed out by Russian mobsters engaged in a series of money-laundering schemes. It was money-laundering that injected fresh blasts of cash into Trump’s ruptured accounts. When his actual father was no longer there to save him, Trump relied on his Russian sugar daddies.
And that’s where the IRS, the New York state authorities, and everyone else comes back into the picture. Trump may well skate away from series of frauds that he and his family used to run off with $1 billion while ordinary Americans picked up their tax bill. But that doesn’t mean that Trump’s false accounting and tax fraud stopped with Fred Trump’s death.
Twenty years ago may be too far back for criminal charges. But ten years, or six years, or one year … that’s not. And there’s no reason to think anyone who looks into Trump’s taxes won’t find fraud at least as bad as what he was doing when the whole family was engaged.