Exaggerations, Overstatements and Outright Lies: The 6 Most Blatant Examples of Donald Trump’s Alleged Wealth Inflation

Donald Trump and his family, along with the family business, blatantly misrepresented the value of their assets to obtain more favorable loan terms, allegedly through blatant accounting lies, exaggerations and outright lies, civil action alleges filed by the New York Attorney General.

In the decade from 2011 to 2021, the former president signed annual financial statements that included more than 200 false and misleading valuations of assets he owned, according to the civil suit. He allegedly used the exaggerated figures to personally guarantee hundreds of millions of dollars in loans his company took out for commercial developments.

“Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself and cheat the system,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said. “Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization have repeatedly and persistently manipulated asset values ​​to induce banks to lend money to the Trump Organization on more favorable terms.

Trump and his family dismissed the charges as politically motivated.

Here are six of the most striking examples James cited in his lawsuit.

Donald Trump’s apartment in New York

The lawsuit accuses Trump of claiming in 2015 that his Trump Tower triplex apartment on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue was 30,000 square feet, more than triple its actual size of 10,996 square feet. This allowed him to value the apartment at a stratospheric $327 million, or $29,738 per square foot. James’ lawsuit notes that at that time a single apartment had sold for more than $100 million in New York City, in a newly built tower. The record price for an apartment in the then 30-year-old Trump Tower was $16.5 million, or less than $4,500 per square foot.

Mar-a-Lago

James’ lawsuit accuses Trump of lying about restrictions on what he could do with his famous Palm Beach, Florida private club Mar-a-Lago. In his financial terms statement, Trump said there were no restrictions on the property and it could be developed and sold at any time for residential use. This allowed him to value the property at $739 million. In truth, James said, the deeds Trump signed when acquiring Mar-a-Lago in 1985 severely limited what he could do with the 18-acre property, severely limiting any alterations to it and prohibiting the right to develop the property into several residences. . In reality, the club generated annual revenues of less than $25 million and should have been valued at around $75 million, according to the lawsuit.

Rent-stabilized apartments

In 2012, according to the lawsuit, Trump valued 12 rent-stabilized apartments in his Trump Park Avenue building at $50 million, saying there were no restrictions on what he could do with them. Rent-stabilized apartments are however very limited and their tenants under the law cannot be evicted. Trump used the inflated valuation of the apartments, despite being told by an appraiser that they were collectively only worth $750,000, according to the suit.

Double the value

Bank-ordered appraisals for a commercial property Trump owned at 40 Wall St. valued it at $200 million in 2010 and $220 million in 2012. But during those same years, Trump listed the value of the building on its statement of financial conditions at $524 million. and $527 million – more than double appraisers’ opinions. Not only had Trump doubled the figure; he attributed the appraisals he provided to the expert who found the building to be worth half of what Trump was claiming, the lawsuit said.

a little moor

For Trump’s golf course in Aberdeen, Scotland, he based his $327 million valuation on the fact that he had obtained zoning approval to develop 2,500 homes on the land. But he had received approvals to develop fewer than 1,500 cottages and apartments, many of which could only be used for short-term rentals, according to the New York civil suit. The difference was more than 80% of the valuation Trump gave the property in 2014.

Trump brand

When calculating appraisals for his properties, Trump often applied a “brand premium” due to the supposed stamp attached to the Trump name. But he also claimed in statements that he hadn’t included that in his numbers. The rules of GAAP, or generally accepted accounting principles, prohibit the inclusion of “intangible internally generated brand bonuses”. In the 2013 filing, the suit said Trump added 30% to the value of his golf course in Jupiter, Fla., as deriving from the Trump “brand.” This allowed him to claim that the golf course he had bought a year earlier for $5 million was now worth more than $62 million. He used a similar accounting trick for six other golf clubs that year, according to the lawsuit.

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