Never-before-seen documents obtained by ProPublica show that President Trump’s businesses reported wildly different figures to lenders and tax authorities.
The documents show “stark differences” in earnings, expenses, and occupancy rates reported to lenders than those reported to New York tax authorities, according to the report. The discrepancies show that Trump’s companies made his buildings appear more profitable to lenders and less profitable to tax authorities.
In one case, Trump reported to a lender that he charged twice as much in rent as he reported to tax authorities in 2017. He similarly gave “conflicting occupancy figures” for his building at 40 Wall Street in Manhattan. “The company told a lender that 40 Wall Street had been 58.9% leased on Dec. 31, 2012, and then rose to 95% a few years later. The company told tax officials the building was 81% rented as of Jan. 5, 2013,” ProPublica reported.
Discrepancies suggest ‘fraud’:
A dozen real estate professionals told the outlet that there was “no clear explanation for multiple inconsistencies in the documents.”
Nancy Wallace, a finance professor at the University of California-Berkeley, said that the discrepancies are “versions of fraud.”
“This kind of stuff is not OK,” she said.
New York City tax forms state that “false filings are subject to all applicable civil and criminal penalties.” Penalties range from fines to criminal charges.
“Certainly, if I were sitting in a prosecutor’s office, I would want to ask a lot more questions,” former New Jersey Attorney General Anne Milgram told ProPublica.
“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,” Montclair State University real estate professor Kevin Riordan told the outlet. “It’s hard to argue numbers. That’s black and white.”
Trump’s taxes remain under investigation:
“Tax records for Trump personally and for his business continue to be subjects of contention in multiple investigations. The Justice Department has intervened in the investigation by the Manhattan district attorney, whose office has sought Trump’s personal tax returns. Congressional lawmakers investigating his business dealings have sought documents from his longtime accountant, Donald Bender, a partner at Mazars. Trump is fighting the subpoenas in court,” ProPublica reported.
The House Oversight Committee is also investigating statements made by longtime Trump lawyer Michael Cohen that Trump inflated his assets in official documents. The committee has issued a subpoena for Mazars’ records related to Trump.