The evidence against President Donald Trump keeps piling up. Now, ProPublica is reporting on tax documents they’ve obtained that show that for years, he has been reporting at times wildly different income and expenses to tax authorities and lenders. Some of these differences are from documents submitted while Trump was in office, and they are poised to boost Trump’s income via making his businesses seem more profitable to lenders and less profitable to tax authorities. The docs are a confirmation of allegations his former longtime fixer Michael Cohen made to Congress that Trump routinely inflated and deflated his asset valuations to maximize his profits, readily going beyond the law.
As New Jersey attorney general turned law professor Anne Milgram put it:
‘Certainly, if I were sitting in a prosecutor’s office, I would want to ask a lot more questions.’
Many of the examples that ProPublica exposes are pretty glaring. For instance, they share that in 2017, Trump told the lender Ladder Capital (where a Trump Organization financial officer’s son worked) that his company had earned an amount in rent that was double what he reported to tax authorities that same year for that same building. That’s not just a typo.
At his 40 Wall Street property some years before Trump took office as president, his team seems to have completely invented a story of an ongoing boost in rentals. They claimed to Ladder that at the end of 2012, they were only 58.9 percent booked, but within a few years, occupancy had risen to 95 percent, they claimed — which obviously has implications for income totals and subsequently, how well-prepared the business really is to handle repaying a loan. The thing is — within seven days of their claimed under 60 percent occupancy level in late 2012, the Trump Organization claimed to tax authorities that they were 81 percent booked. Again, that’s not just a typo.
Proving how substantive those differences really were, as of 2018, the building had not once met the income expectations calculated by underwriters of a loan they’d successfully received based on those apparently contrived numbers.
At that same building, the glaring discrepancies go on, and they’d essentially all work in favor of Trump’s profits, considering he’d seem better off to lenders and worse off to those collecting his taxes. In 2017, he claimed that his insurance costs at 40 Wall Street were $744,521 in tax documents and $457,414 in material for his loan. Meanwhile, in 2015, the Trump Organization reported to loan authorities that they’d paid $1.65 million for leasing rights at 40 Wall Street and supposedly just $1.24 million in their tax filings.
At the Trump International Hotel and Tower, in 2017, the Trump Organization claimed to tax authorities that it made $822,000 renting out commercial space that it owned — and it claimed to loan backers that they’d made a full $1.67 million from renting those same spaces. That’s the instance of them more than doubling reported rent profits.
Although Congress has lately turned its attention to the Ukraine scandal involving the president’s attempt to get the country to cough up politically useful dirt on the Bidens, they’re still hoping to investigate these seemingly quite substantiated corruption allegations too. Cases to procure his tax returns are ongoing, with rulings piling up in investigators’ favor.
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