‘There are two sets of books’: New Trump tax documents reveal a web of lies and inconsistencies

  • 10/19/2019 3:15 pm ET Dara Brewton
‘ Versions of fraud’— New Trump tax documents reveal a web of lies And inconsistencies

Source: Wikimedia

New tax documents are showing that Trump’s numbers just don’t add up. When comparing the figures on the tax documents to the figures presented to lenders, there are some blatant discrepancies.

ProPublica obtained new tax documents that show Trump’s businesses are fudging numbers somewhere. When comparing the numbers for one of Trump’s properties on 40 Wall Street in Manhattan, the documents are showing twice the amount of rent is reported to a lender than is reported on his tax documents.

The Wall Street building was reported to the lender as being 95% occupied in 2013, but the same building was only 81% occupied when it came to the information given to tax officials. According to a Professor of Finance and Real Estate as the Haas School, Nancy Wilson, there is no reason for the inconsistencies, and she calls them “versions of fraud.”

While there can be legitimate reasons for some discrepancy between loan and tax documents, the ones displayed on the Trump documents seem to be baffling the experts. Professor Kevin Riordan from Montclair State University says:

“It really feels like there’s two sets of books—it feels like a set of books for the tax guy and a set for the lender. It’s hard to argue numbers. That’s black and white.”

Tax fraud and the Trump name have a bit of a history already. The New York Times previously reported on schemes to “undervalue” the real estate owned by Trump’s parents. Plus, some of the President’s business associates in Panama have an ongoing lawsuit against the hotel there because the management company allegedly owes millions in taxes and fees.

And of course, there was that infamous moment when Trump claimed not paying taxes made him “smart”:

Yet, the occupancy levels aren’t the only discrepancies that ProPublica uncovered. Further examination of the documents they have unearthed showed there are several places where numbers just aren’t adding up. The building on Wall Street isn’t technically owned by Trump. It is owned by a German family, and Trump pays for the right to lease out the building. Tax documents show that he paid $1.65 million for that right, but when examining expenses line by line, the number actually comes to $1.24 million.

There were also differences in the cost of insurance that was reported. Tax documents show insurance costs at $744,521 but loan documents report insurance at $457,414.

When testifying before Congress, Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen admitted that messing with the books was a common Trump practice:

“It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.”

The reason for Trump’s fear of releasing his tax returns keeps getting clearer and clearer.

 

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