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The Trump Organization

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The Trump Organization
TypePrivate
IndustryConglomerate
Founded1927; 94 years ago (1927)
(as E. Trump & Son)
Founders
HeadquartersTrump Tower, New York City
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
Services
RevenueUS$655 million (Estimate, 2017)[3]
OwnerDonald Trump
Number of employees
22,450 (2015)[4]
Websitewww.trump.com

The Trump Organization is a group of about 500 business entities of which Donald Trump is the sole or principal owner.[5] Around 250 of these entities use the Trump name.[6][7] The organization was founded in 1927 by Donald Trump's paternal grandmother, Elizabeth Christ Trump, and his father, Fred Trump, as E. Trump & Son. Donald Trump began leading it in 1971, renamed it around 1973, and handed off its leadership to his children in 2017.

The Trump Organization, through its various constituent companies and partnerships, has or has had interests in real estate development, investing, brokerage, sales and marketing, and property management. Trump Organization entities own, operate, invest in, and develop residential real estate, hotels, resorts, residential towers, and golf courses in various countries.[6][7][8] They also operate or have operated in construction, hospitality, casinos, entertainment, book and magazine publishing, broadcast media, model management, retail, financial services, food and beverages, business education, online travel, commercial and private aviation and beauty pageants.[9][10] Trump Organization entities also own the New York television production company that produced the reality television franchise The Apprentice.[11] Retail operations include or have included fashion apparel, jewelry and accessories, books, home furnishings, lighting products, bath textiles and accessories, bedding, home fragrance products, small leather goods, vodka, wine, barware, steaks, chocolate bars, and bottled spring water.[12]

Since the financial statements of the Trump Organization's holdings and Donald Trump's personal tax returns are both private, its true value is not publicly known, though a wide range of estimates have been made. Trump has publicly released little definitive financial documentation to confirm his valuation claims.[13][14] On several occasions, Trump has been accused of deliberately inflating the valuation of Trump Organization properties through aggressive lobbying of the media (in particular the authors of the annual Forbes 400 list) to bolster his perceived net worth.[15]

In July 2021, New York prosecutors charged the Trump Organization with 10 counts in an alleged 15-year tax avoidance scheme.

History

Founding and early history

The company's background starts with Frederick Trump and Elizabeth Christ Trump, a German immigrant couple who moved to the borough of Queens in 1906. Frederick began developing real estate there. On May 30, 1918, he died of Spanish flu in the 1918 influenza pandemic, leaving an estate valued at $31,359[16] (or about $535,381 in 2020).

Elizabeth carried on in the real estate business after her husband's death. She had contractors build houses on the empty lots Frederick had owned, sold the houses, and earned income off the mortgages she provided to buyers.[17] Her middle child, Fred Trump, entered the carpentry trade after graduating high school in 1923.[18] Fred would later say he completed his first single-family home in 1924,[19][20] but other sources date his start as a builder to 1927.[21] In that year, Fred reached the age of majority, and "E. Trump & Son," a name Elizabeth had used in ads since 1921, was formally incorporated.[22][a]

In 1929, with Fred at the helm, the company began developing pricier houses in nearby Jamaica Estates.[29][30] The deepening depression, however, put a pause on his housing ambitions.[31] In 1933, he instead opened a supermarket, called "Trump Market," then quickly sold it and returned to the real estate business. Around this same time, Fred Trump and a partner acquired the mortgage-servicing subsidiary of Brooklyn's J. Lehrenkrauss & Co., which had gone bankrupt and subsequently been broken up amid charges of fraud. This gave Trump access to the titles of many properties nearing foreclosure, which he bought at low cost and sold for a profit. He quickly became known as one of New York City's most successful young businessmen.[32][33] In 1935, the company moved to Brooklyn,[33] where, in addition to Queens, Trump was a prolific builder of single-family homes.[34]

During World War II, Trump constructed apartments and temporary housing for military personnel in Virginia and Pennsylvania.[34] In 1944, he shifted his focus back to Brooklyn and began planning to develop large apartment buildings.[35] He opened the 1,344-unit Shore Haven complex in 1949,[36] followed by Beach Haven in 1950[37] and Trump Village in 1964.[38]

Leadership under Donald Trump

An early logotype of the Trump Organization, as it appeared in 1976 correspondence from Donald Trump to the Penn Central Transportation Company

Donald Trump worked for his father's business while attending the University of Pennsylvania, and in 1968 officially joined the company.[23] In the early 1970s, Fred became chairman of the board while Donald was made president of the company.[39] Around 1973, he began referring to the business as the Trump Organization.[b] The business had previously been referred to on occasion as the Fred C. Trump Organization,[42][43] the Fred Trump Organization,[44][45] or the Trump Organization,[46] but had not had a single formal name.

Donald Trump focused his efforts on major development projects in Manhattan, including the renovation of the Commodore Hotel, in partnership with Hyatt, as the Grand Hyatt New York (opened in 1980);[47] the construction of Trump Tower in partnership with The Equitable (1983);[48] and the development of Trump Plaza (1984).[49] He also opened three casino hotels in Atlantic City, New Jersey: Trump Plaza (1984),[50] Trump Castle (1985),[51] and Trump Taj Mahal (1990).[52]

Amid a real estate slump in 1990, the Trump Organization approached a financial crisis and was believed to be on the brink of collapse, with Donald Trump and his companies owing 72 banks a total of $4 billion, of which Trump personally guaranteed $800 million.[53] Trump hired Stephen Bollenbach as the company's first chief financial officer, while Allen Weisselberg continued to serve under him as controller.[54][55] Trump spent the following years renegotiating his debts, and gave up some properties, including the Trump Shuttle airline and a stake in the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan.[56] Bollenbach left the company in 1992.[57] In 1995, Trump took another major step towards financial stability, launching a publicly traded company for the Trump casinos, Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts.[56][58] By 1996, Trump was widely considered to be making a comeback.[56][59] The casino company did not fare as well, however, and Trump eventually lost his stake in the company to bankruptcy.[60][61]

In 1997, Fred Trump transferred ownership of the bulk of his portfolio of apartment buildings to his four surviving children (Donald, Robert, Maryanne, and Elizabeth), submitting tax returns claiming the properties were worth $41.4 million.[62] Fred died in 1999.[37] In 2004, the four siblings sold the apartments for $737.9 million to a group led by Rubie Schron,[62] marking the family's exit from ownership of their father's business.[63][64][65]

Trump presidency

On January 11, 2017, before starting his tenure as president of the United States, Trump announced that he and his daughter Ivanka would fully resign and his sons Donald Jr. and Eric would take executive charge of the various businesses, along with Chief Finance Officer Allen Weisselberg.[66] Trump transferred his companies into a revocable trust, allowing him to tell the trustees how to run the company and fire them at any time.[67]

Trump retained his financial stake in the business, despite having offered during the campaign to put all his assets in a blind trust should he win the presidency.[68][69] His attorney at the time, Sheri Dillon, said Trump's assets would be overseen by an ethics officer, and that the Trump Organization would not pursue any new foreign business deals.[70] Under the pre-inaugural management agreement, Forbes magazine reported in March 2017:

The Trump Organization has curtailed some of its international work, pulling out of deals in Azerbaijan, Georgia and Brazil, while pledging to do no new foreign deals (though it has apparently resurrected an old deal in the Dominican Republic). Trump's international hotel licensing and management business makes up only $220 million of his estimated $3.5 billion fortune, but it's the most dynamic part of the Trump portfolio—and it throws off chunks of cash with virtually no risk. As the Trumps have wound down some international deals, they continue to push forward with new domestic agreements.

Eric Trump, in the Forbes article, discussed the "clear separation of church and state that we maintain" between the business and his father and said that with his father's presidency and related changes "[y]ou could look at it either way" in terms of business prospects. He also said that "he will continue to update his father on the business while he is in the presidency ... 'probably quarterly ... profitability reports and stuff like that'." The article quoted Larry Noble, general counsel of the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center and a former chief ethics officer at the Federal Election Commission, and President George W. Bush's former chief ethics lawyer, Richard Painter, as looking negatively at such multiple planned updates of President Trump per year.[71] Noble said in part "if he is now going to get reports from his son about the businesses, then he really isn't separate in any real way." Painter said in part "at the end of the day, he owns the business. He has the conflicts that come with it."[71]

Also in March 2017, Forbes did a listing of all "36 mini-Trumps", as it termed the domestic and international partners—often described as "billionaires"—with whom the Trump Organization has worked over the years. Introducing the listing, the magazine reported that at least 14 of the partners attended the president's inauguration and some of them paid for $18,000-a-night accommodations at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., for the event.[72]

In April 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, Eric Trump stated that the Trump Organization had requested rental relief from the landlord for its Trump International Hotel, which is the General Services Administration of the federal government.[73]

Real estate

Map highlights countries with properties that are either owned or licensed by the Trump Organization as of December 2016.[74][75]

As of 2019, Trump's net worth (as estimated by Forbes Magazine) is $3.1 billion, with about half of that coming from his New York City real estate holdings, and about a third coming from his national and international properties (including hotels and golf courses).[76] Licensing fees paid by outside owners for using Trump's name on their properties also contribute to his overall net worth.[77][78]

Selected completed properties

  • Trump Tower, 725 Fifth Avenue, Midtown Manhattan: A 58-story[79] mixed-use tower, the headquarters of the Trump Organization, was developed in partnership with The Equitable, and opened in 1983. Trump bought out the Equitable's stake in 1986,[80] and now owns the office and retail components of the tower.[81] The building also contains the three-story penthouse apartment that was Donald Trump's primary residence until he moved to the White House.[82] The value of the tower was estimated at $450 million in 2017.[83] Trump took out a $100 million mortgage on the building in 2012.[81]
  • Trump World Tower, 845 United Nations Plaza, also in Midtown Manhattan: In 2006, Forbes magazine estimated "$290 million in profits and unrealized appreciation" going to Trump.[84]
  • AXA Financial Center in Manhattan and 555 California Street in San Francisco: Trump owns a 30 percent stake in these two office buildings, resulting from a property swap involving Riverside South. Trump's stake in the two buildings was estimated to be at least $850 million as of 2013.[81]
  • The Trump Building at 40 Wall Street: Trump bought and renovated this building for $1 million in 1995. The pre-tax net operating income at the building as of 2011 was $20.89 million and is valued between $350 million and $400 million, according to the New York Department of Finance. Trump took out a $160 million mortgage attached to the property with an interest rate of 5.71% to use for other investments.[81] Forbes valued the property at $260 million in 2006.[84]
  • Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago: The entire project is valued at $1.2 billion ($112 million stake for Trump).
  • Trump International Hotel Las Vegas: A joint development with fellow Forbes 400 members, Phil Ruffin ("key partner"), and Jack Wishna ("minority partner").[85] In 2006, Trump's stake was estimated at $162 million.[84] In Forbes in March 2017, the Trump International Las Vegas was described as a 50-50 partnership between Donald Sr. and Ruffin, with Eric as the primary manager for the Trump Organization.[71]
  • Trump International Hotel and Tower New York: Trump provided his name and expertise to the building's owner (GE) during the building's re-development in 1994 for a fee totaling $40 million ($25 million for project management and $15 million in incentives deriving from the condo sales). Forbes values Trump's stake at $12 million. In March 2010, the penthouse apartment at Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York City sold for $33 million.[86][87]
  • Trump Park Avenue Park Avenue & 59th Street: It is valued at $142 million. Trump owns 23 apartments at Trump Park Avenue, which he rents for rates as high as $100,000 per month, and 19 units at Trump Parc.[81]
  • 6 East 57th Street: Trump has a leasehold interest on this retail building, adjacent to Trump Tower, through the year 2079.[88] The building was occupied by a Niketown store from 1996 to 2018.[88][89] The value of Trump's interest was estimated at $470 million as of 2015.[90]
  • Mar-a-Lago: A historic estate in Palm Beach, Florida, most of which was converted by Trump into a members-only resort. The property was worth as much as $250 million as of 2013.[81] Trump also owns two neighboring private houses, valued at $6.5 million and $3 million.[81]
  • Seven Springs: A 213-acre (86 ha) estate with a 13-bedroom mansion near Bedford, New York. Trump paid $7.5 million for the property in 1995.[91] Local brokers put the property's value at around $40 million as of 2013.[81] Trump had hoped to develop the land with a golf course or houses, but apparently abandoned those plans in 2015.[91]
  • Beverly Hills house: A 5-bedroom home purchased by Trump in 2007 for $7 million,[92] and valued between $8.5 and $10 million as of 2013.[81] Sold the property in June 2019, off-market, for $13.5 million.
  • Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C.: The Old Post Office Pavilion, historically known as the Old Post Office and Clock Tower, is a property located at 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C. The Trump Organization developed the property into a luxury hotel, which opened in September 2016.

Carousel

The Trump Organization operates the Central Park Carousel, a merry-go-round located in Manhattan's Central Park. In 2010, Trump took over the management of the carousel, where he promised to revive the merry-go-round after its previous operator was removed by the city's parks department. The carousel generates $589,000 from annual admissions.[93][94][95] The Trump Organization has a contract to operate the carousel through 2021.[96]

Skating rinks

In 1986, Trump rebuilt the deteriorating Wollman Rink two months ahead of schedule and $750,000 under the $2.5 million price ceiling imposed by the city.[97][98][99] Trump asked his contractors, among them HRH Construction, to do the work without making a profit, promising them publicity but not mentioning their contributions to the press afterwards.[100] Trump was given a concession to operate the rink for a year, with the profits to be given to charity. In 1987, as part of the agreement to keep operating Wollman Rink, the Trump Organization agreed to also take a concession for the Lasker Rink; they held the concessions until 1995.[101]

In 2001, a Trump-owned subsidiary, Wollman Rink Operations LLC, won another concession to operate the rinks until April 30, 2021.[102][103] Wollman Rink Operations LLC is owned by DJT Holdings LLC which was owned by the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust for the duration of Trump's presidency.[102] The Trump name was prominently displayed on the walls of the Wollman Rink and on the Zamboni maintaining the ice. In 2019, the Trump Organization replaced the name with Wollman Rink logos.[104] In his financial disclosure filed in May 2018, Trump reported nearly $35 million in income from the two rinks since 2015.[102][94]

The Trump Organization's contract to operate the rinks expired in April 2021.[96][105][106]

Trump Winery

Trump Winery is a winery situated on Trump Vineyard Estates near Charlottesville, Virginia. It is valued between $5 million and $25 million.[107]

The vineyard was purchased by Trump in April 2011 from Patricia Kluge, the widow of John Kluge. The property was distressed.[108] and was officially opened in October 2011.[109] Trump Winery is situated in the Monticello Wine Trail. Trump's son Eric was a partner in the purchase.[110]

After purchasing the property, Trump turned over management of the winery to his son.

Golf courses

The Trump Organization owns or manages seventeen golf courses in the United States, Scotland, Ireland, and the United Arab Emirates.[111] As of 2015, Trump listed income of at least $176 million in an 18-month span from his golf courses—about 41% of the low-end estimate of his income.[107]

United States

International

  • Trump International Golf Club, Dubai: A golf course owned by Damac Properties and managed by the Trump Organization.[114] Located in the Damac Hills residential development, it opened in 2017.[114] Trump's involvement with Damac head Hussain Sajwani has been cited as a source of possible conflicts of interest for Trump's presidency.[115][116]
  • Trump International Golf Links and Hotel Ireland
  • Trump International Golf Links, Scotland: A links course built in Balmedie, Aberdeenshire. The development of the course was controversial because of local concerns about the environmental impact, as well as a legal battle over the construction of a nearby offshore wind farm.
  • Trump Turnberry: A historic golf resort with three courses and a hotel, located in South Ayrshire, Scotland. Trump purchased the property in 2014, despite having threatened to withdraw any further investment in Scotland amid the wind farm controversy.[117]
  • Trump World Golf Club, Dubai: A second golf course under construction by Damac in its Akoya Oxygen housing development.[118] In February 2021, it was announced that the opening of the golf course was delayed until at least 2022. It was being asserted that the delay was due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Emirati developers were struggling to finish the real estate projects even before the pandemic.[119]

Real estate licensing

Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan attended the opening of the Trump Towers Istanbul AVM in 2012.

Many developers pay Donald Trump to market their properties and be the public face for their projects.[120] For that reason, Trump does not own many of the buildings that display his name.[120] According to Forbes, this portion of Trump's empire, actually run by his children, has valuation of $562 million. According to Forbes, there were 33 licensing projects under development including seven "condo hotels" (the seven Trump International Hotel and Tower developments). Trump has generated more than $74 million in real estate licensing deals and has $823.3 million worth of real estate in joint ventures.[81]

  • Manhattan:
    • Trump Palace: 200 East 69th Street, New York, NY.
    • Trump Parc and Trump Parc East: Two adjoining buildings on Central Park South on the southwest corner of The Avenue of the Americas. Trump Parc East is a 14-story apartment building and Trump Parc (the former Barbizon Plaza Hotel) is a 38-story condominium building.
    • Trump Plaza: 167 East 61st Street, New York, NY (36-story, Y-shaped plan condominium building on the Upper East Side)
    • 610 Park Avenue (Old Mayfair Hotel): Trump is helping with the construction and development of this property for Colony NorthStar.
    • Trump SoHo: Former name of The Dominick, originally a partnership with Bayrock Group. The SoHo hotel was rebranded following The Trump Organization's exit from the project.[121] "Russian-born" Felix Sater was listed as an employee of Bayrock when the partnership was born. Sater had served time in prison for injuries he inflicted in a bar fight before the Soho partnership.[72]
  • New York City suburbs:
  • Florida:
  • Other domestic:
  • International:
    • Elite Tower, Ramat Gan, Israel was a planned commercial real estate development slated to be the tallest building in Israel. Called the Trump Plaza Tower, Trump shelved the plans in 2007, when the site was sold on to Azorim for NIS 306.5 million.[136][137] Trump purchased the site for $44 million.[138]
    • Trump International Hotel & Tower Lido Lake, West Java, Indonesia. Trump Hotels will be involved with the 700-hectare Lido Lake development, one hour from Bandung, Indonesia including a six-star luxury resort, 18-hole signature Ernie Els championship golf course, elite Lifestyle Country Club & Spa as well as a high-end residential offering including luxury villas and condominiums.[139][140] One of the Trump Organization's partners in Indonesia is Tanoesoedibjo, who is "building up a following as he mulls a presidential run", according to Forbes.[71][72] MNC Lido City is partially funded by the Chinese government.[141][142]
    • Trump International Hotel & Tower Vancouver, Vancouver. The 63-story, 188-metre-high (617-foot), mixed-use tower in Downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, was primarily a project of Donald Trump, Jr., and the CEO of Malaysian company TA Global Berhad. It was completed in 2016.[71] The Trump hotel occupies the first 15 floors of the building.[143] The hotel had reported declining revenue in 2019 and closed in March 2020. Its owner, a subsidiary of TA Global Berhad, filed for bankruptcy in August 2020.[144][145]
    • Trump Towers Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey[146]

Former licensees

  • St. Regis Toronto hotel and condo tower, formerly Trump International Hotel and Tower, was renamed Adelaide Hotel Toronto in 2017 and St. Regis Toronto in 2018, and management was taken over by Marriott International.[151][152]
  • JW Marriott Panama hotel and condo tower, formerly Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower, Panama. Renamed JW Marriott Panama in 2019, management taken over by Marriott International.[153]

Former properties

  • Empire State Building: Trump acquired 50 percent ownership of the iconic skyscraper in 1994.[154] After failed efforts to gain control of the building by evicting the master leaseholder, he and his partner sold the building in 2002.[155]
  • General Motors Building at Trump International Plaza: Trump partnered with Conseco to buy the 50-story Manhattan office building in 1998, and then attached his name to it.[156] The building was sold in 2003.[157]
  • Grand Hyatt New York: Trump partnered with Hyatt to purchase and renovate the historic Commodore Hotel.[47] They reopened the hotel in 1980.[47] Trump sold his stake to Hyatt in 1996.[158]
  • Plaza Hotel: A historic hotel in Manhattan. Trump purchased it in 1988. He gave up half of his ownership in a 1992 bankruptcy case, and sold the rest in 1995.[159][160]
  • Hotel St. Moritz: Trump bought this Manhattan hotel in 1985 for $72 million, and then sold it in 1988 for $180 million.[161]
  • Maison de L'Amitie: A 43,000-square-foot (4,000 m2) oceanfront mansion in Palm Beach, Florida. Trump purchased this property for $41 million at a bankruptcy auction in 2004, renovated it, and then sold it for $95 million in 2008, making it, at the time, the most expensive house ever sold in the United States.[162]
  • Trump Plaza: After closing in 2014, the 34-story hotel and casino building fell into disrepair and was dynamited in 2021.[163]

Scion and American Idea hotels

Early in the Trump presidency, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. announced the creation of two new signature hotel brands, Scion and American Idea, as "the next generation of the company". After initially announcing as many as thirty potential deals in their pipeline, the ventures were scrapped in early 2019, with only one uncompleted hotel in Mississippi.[164]

Other ventures and investments

Trump owns a wide variety of other enterprises outside real estate (which had an estimated 2013 value of $317.6 million).[165] Other investments include a 17.2% stake in Parker Adnan, Inc. (formerly AdnanCo Group), a Bermuda-based financial services holdings company. He took in $1.1 million in men's wear licensing royalties.[166] Trump earns $15,000 to $100,000 in book royalties and $2.2 million for his involvement with Trump Model Management every year.[167] Until 2015, Trump owned the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants, collectively worth $15 million.[81]

Trump has marketed his name on a large number of products and services achieving mixed success doing so. Some of his external entrepreneurial and investment ventures include or have included:

In 2005, Trump reportedly received $1.5 million for a one-hour lecture at The Learning Annex Real Estate World Expo, with another seven events scheduled for a total fee of $12 million.[178] In a court deposition two years later, Trump admitted that he was paid $400,000.[179][180] From 2005 to 2015, Trump was paid $8.8 million for promoting multi-level marketing telecommunications company ACN Inc. and its products on ACN's website,[181] promotional DVDs and at their events, and on his The Apprentice reality-TV show.[182][183]

The Trump Organization also houses ventures started by Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka, which includes Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry (a jewelry line) and the Ivanka Trump Lifestyle Collection (a high-end designer-fashion and cosmetics line that includes fragrances, footwear, handbags, outerwear and eyewear collections).[184]

Financing

During the property boom of the 1980s, Trump acquired numerous properties and by 1990 owed $4 billion to 72 banks.[53] When the market entered a slump in 1990 that placed the organization at risk of collapse, Trump and his lenders acted to restructure his debts, although they disagree on who identified the problem and initiated negotiations. The resulting restructuring required his banks to forgive some of Trump's debt.[53] Trump's casinos later entered bankruptcies in which his bondholders took deep losses. After these incidents, Trump had difficulty borrowing new money from most mainstream financial institutions.[185] Deutsche Bank, which did not have a significant presence on Wall Street during the 1980s, expanded rapidly in the U.S. during the 1990s. Trump obtained a loan of approximately $425 million from them in 1998.[185] In the process of its rapid expansion, the bank engaged in numerous questionable practices, including manipulating currencies and interest rates, laundering billions of dollars for Russian oligarchs and misleading international bank regulators.[185] The bank was fined $630 million in 2017 for facilitating a $10 billion Russian money laundering scheme.[186] The bank provided Trump with a variety of services including financial instruments designed to shield him from risks and outside scrutiny, and helped connect Trump to wealthy clients (including some from Russia) who were interested in Western real estate.[185] During the 2000s and 2010s, Trump borrowed $2 billion from the bank, owing it about $360 million in 2016.[185][187]

Trump's eldest son, Donald Jr., was quoted as saying at a 2008 New York real estate conference, "In terms of high-end product influx into the US, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets ... We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia."[188] James Dodson, a golf magazine writer, said that during a 2014 golf game, he asked Trump's son Eric how the organization was funding its golf resort acquisitions, to which Trump responded, "Well, we don't rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia." Eric Trump later denied making the statement,[189] although some of the company's financing apparently involves Russian money.[190][191] The organization has many projects in foreign nations, leading some to point to a conflict of interest with foreign nations while Donald Trump was the president of the United States.[187]

Valuation disputes

The financial statements of the Trump Organization's holdings are private, as are Donald Trump's personal tax returns, and there exist a wide range of estimates of the Trump Organization's true value. Donald Trump has been accused on several occasions of deliberately inflating the valuation of Trump Organization properties through the aggressive lobbying of the media, in particular the authors of the annual Forbes 400 list, in order to bolster his perceived net worth among the public over several decades.[15] He has released little definitive financial documentation to the public confirm his valuation claims.[13][14][192][193]

It is difficult to determine a net value for the Trump Organization's real estate holdings independently since each individual property may be encumbered by debt.[15]

In October 2015, Forbes published an article detailing its decades-long struggle to estimate the true net worth of Trump and the Trump Organization.[194] In 2018, a former Forbes journalist who had worked on the Forbes list claimed in an op-ed to The Washington Post that Trump had lied about his wealth to Forbes to get on the list repeatedly and suggested that Forbes's previous low-end estimates of Trump's net worth were still well above his true net worth.[15]

Investigations for fraud and tax evasion

Fred Trump in the 1980s

In August 2018, the Manhattan district attorney was reported to be considering criminal charges against the organization and two of its senior executives for their accounting of the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels.[195]

In October 2018, The New York Times published a lengthy exposé concerning Donald Trump's inheritance from his parents, Fred and Mary Anne MacLeod Trump. It includes detailed analyses of Trump family financial records.[c] The article describes an alleged tax fraud scheme conducted by Trump and his siblings related to their joint inheritance of their parents's real estate holdings, effectively evading over $500 million in gift and estate taxes. The alleged schemes involved siphoning money from the companies to the children throughout their lives and understating the value of transferred properties.[62][d] The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance announced on the day of the exposé's publication that it would review the allegations.[199][200] In mid-2021, Mary L. Trump (a primary source for the exposé) elaborated on how the organization used a shell corporation to siphon money, devaluing Fred Trump's "core business" to $30 million at the time of his death.[201]

Former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen testified to Congress in February 2019 that Trump "inflated [the organization's] total assets when it served his purposes, such as trying to be listed amongst the wealthiest people in Forbes, and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes."[202] Following Cohen's testimony, the New York State Department of Financial Services issued a subpoena to Aon, the organization's longtime insurance broker.[203] As of September 2019, the organization was under federal investigation by the Southern District of New York regarding inflated insurance claims allegations.[204]

By December 2019, the New York attorney general's office had subpoenaed the Trump Organization for some of its records, which the company subsequently failed to provide. On September 2, 2021, a New York judge ordered the organization to submit a report explaining exactly what it was doing to comply with the subpoena. If this request is not met by October 15, an electronic discovery firm will be commissioned to review the company's records.[205]

In January 2020, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine sued the organization and Trump's inaugural committee on the basis that it had funneled nonprofit funding intended for the inauguration to the Trumps via event accommodations and a private party costing several hundred thousand dollars at the Trump Hotel. Ivanka Trump testified in December 2020 that she had little to no involvement in the event, which Mother Jones reported in June 2021 was false.[206][207] Donald Jr. similarly made key statements in his February 2021 testimony which Mother Jones reported in April 2021 were false.[208]

In August 2020, the attorney general of New York disclosed in a court filing that it was conducting a civil investigation of the organization for the asset inflation allegation, asking a court to compel the organization to provide information it had been withholding. The filing also noted that Eric Trump had resisted a subpoena and abruptly canceled an interview scheduled for the previous month.[209] The Manhattan district attorney, which had been seeking Donald Trump's tax returns, suggested in an August 2020 federal court filing that the organization was under investigation for bank and insurance fraud.[210] Eric Trump was deposed on October 5.[211][e] The New York Times reported in November 2020 that both investigators had recently issued subpoenas to the organization regarding tax deductions on millions of dollars in consulting fees, some of which were paid to Ivanka Trump.[214]

People v. Trump Corporation
Seal of New York (state).svg
CourtSupreme Court of the State of New York County of New York
Full case nameThe People of the State of New York v. The Trump Organization, d/b/a The Trump Organization, Trump Payroll Corp., d/b/a The Trump Organization, Allen Weisselberg
DefendantTrump Organization, Trump Payroll Organization, and Allen Weisselberg

On May 18, 2021, the New York attorney general's office announced that it was joining the Manhattan district attorney's office in probing the Trump Organization "in a criminal capacity."[215] The Manhattan district attorney convened a special grand jury to consider indicting Trump, his company or executives, and to investigate other matters.[216][217] Jeffrey McConney, a senior vice president and controller who had worked for almost 35 years at the Trump Organization, testified before the grand jury after he was subpoenaed.[218][219] By June 2021, longtime chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg and chief operating officer Michael Calamari were under scrutiny of the Manhattan district attorney investigation.[220][221][f][g] On August 31, Calamari's son, who heads security for the Trump Organization, was subpoenaed to testify before the grand jury; both he and McConney were expected to testify on September 2.[225][226]

Criminal charges

On July 1, 2021, New York prosecutors charged the Trump Organization with a "15 year 'scheme to defraud' the government", conspiracy, and falsifying business records. Prosecutors filed 10 charges against the organization and its Trump Payroll Corporation entity, and 15 felony counts against Weisselberg, including grand larceny and offering a false instrument for filing.[227][228][229] Prosecutors allege that Weisselberg received about $1.76 million in undeclared indirect compensation in the form of free rent and utilities, car leases for himself and his wife, and school tuition for his grandchildren.[f] They further allege that the organization kept track of the fringe benefits on internal spreadsheets and did not report them as taxable income.[230][231] Both the organization and Weisselberg pleaded not guilty.[223] On July 8, the Trump Organization removed Weisselberg as director of the company running its golf course in Aberdeen, Scotland; on July 9, the company removed him as director of 40 subsidiaries registered in Florida.[232]

The organization and Weisselberg next appeared in court on September 20.[233] Weisselberg's lawyer revealed that over 3 million documents had been discovered in the basement of an unidentified co-conspirator, including tax documents related to the organization, and announced that "We have strong reason to believe there could be other indictments coming." Weisselberg's defense team asked for more time to review the documents.[234] The judge agreed to this request and tentatively set a trial date for about a year in the future.[233] Prosecutors reportedly hope that Weisselberg will provide testimony against Donald Trump in exchange for a reduced or rescinded sentence.[234]

Controversies

In 1973, the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ) Civil Rights Division filed a civil rights suit against the Trump Organization charging them for violating the 1968 Fair Housing Act by refusing to rent to black people. The National Urban League had sent black and white testers to apply for apartments in Trump-owned complexes; the white testers got the apartments, whereas the black testers did not. According to court records, four superintendents or rental agents reported that applications sent to the central office for acceptance or rejection were coded by race. A 1979 Village Voice article quoted a rental agent who said Fred Trump had instructed him not to rent to black people and to encourage existing black tenants to leave. In 1975, a consent decree described by the head of DOJ's housing division as "one of the most far-reaching ever negotiated" required Trump to advertise vacancies in minority papers and list vacancies with the Urban League. The Justice Department subsequently stated that continuing "racially discriminatory conduct by Trump agents has occurred with such frequency that it has created a substantial impediment to the full enjoyment of equal opportunity."[235]

It is alleged that the organization, specifically under the leadership of Donald Trump, has a history of not paying for services rendered. Several hundred contractors or workers for the organization have filed lawsuits or liens saying they were not paid for their work, and others say they had to settle for cents on the dollar.[236]

In 1989, New York State officials ordered the Grand Hyatt New York, a hotel owned at the time by the Trump Organization and the Hyatt Corporation, to pay New York City $2.9 million in rent that had been withheld by the hotel in 1986 due to "unusual" accounting changes approved by Donald Trump.[237] An investigation by New York City auditors noted that the hotel was missing basic financial records and found the hotel was using procedures that violated generally accepted accounting principles.

From 2000 on, the Trump Organization held 50% of TD Trump Deutschland AG, a corporate venture with a German company, planning to build a skyscraper named "Trump Tower Europe" in Frankfurt, Berlin or Stuttgart, but allegedly never paid the full amount of their 2 million share.[238] At least three lawsuits followed and the company was disestablished in 2005.[239]

Resolving a trademark dispute, as of August 2017,[240] Tom Scharfeld owns the trademark of the "iTrump" mobile app which plays the trumpet. As "the word trump has other meanings,"[241][242] the court did not rule in favour of the Trump Organization.

In September 2020, it was revealed that Trump's properties had charged the government over $1.1 million since the beginning of his presidency. At the Bedminster club, for example, the Secret Service rented a three-bedroom cottage for $17,000 per month. The Washington Post arrived at this total amount after it filed a public-records lawsuit and pieced together receipts and invoices from Trump's businesses.[243]

Political contributions were also spent at Trump properties. The total amount paid by the Trump campaign to Trump properties during his presidency is estimated at $10–17 million.[244]

Coats of arms

The coat of arms granted to Davies in 1939
The coat of arms granted to "The Trump International Golf Club Scotland Ltd" in 2011

Donald Trump has used a number of logos in the style of coats of arms for his businesses.

Joseph E. Davies, third husband of Marjorie Merriweather Post and a former U.S. ambassador of Welsh origins, was granted a coat of arms, bearing the motto Integritas, by British heraldic authorities in 1939. After Donald Trump purchased Mar-a-Lago, the Florida estate built by Merriweather Post, in 1985, the Trump Organization started using Davies's coat of arms at Trump golf courses and estates across the country.[245] It was also registered with the U.S. patent and trademark office.[246]

In 2008, Trump attempted to establish the American logo at his new Trump International Golf Links in Balmedie, Scotland, but was warned by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, the highest authority for Scottish heraldry, that an act of the Scottish Parliament from 1672 disallows people using unregistered arms. In January 2012, shortly after the inauguration of the golf course, Trump unveiled the new coat of arms[247] that had been granted to "The Trump International Golf Club Scotland Ltd" by the Lord Lyon in 2011.[248]

Sarah Malone, executive vice-president of "The Trump International Golf Links, Scotland", said that "the coat of arms brings together visual elements that signify different aspects of the Trump family heritage [...], the Lion Rampant [in the crest] makes reference to Scotland and the stars to America. Three chevronels are used to denote the sky, sand dunes and sea—the essential components of the site, and the double-[headed] Eagle represents the dual nature and nationality of Trump's heritage (Scottish and German). The Eagle clutches golf balls making reference to the great name of golf, and the motto Numquam Concedere is Latin for Never Give Up—Trump's philosophy."[247]

From 2014, Trump used the same logo for "The Trump International Golf Links, Ireland", the golf resort built from his acquisition of Doonbeg Golf Club.[249][250]

Shield

Party per chevron: Azure two Mullets Argent; Vert a double headed Eagle displayed of the second, beaked, taloned and langued Gules, holding in its talons two Globes of the second; overall three chevronels Or.[251]

Crest

A demi Lion rampant Gules, armed and langued Azure, holding in the paws a Pennon Or flowing to the sinister.

Battle cry

"Numquam concedere" (Latin for "Never Give Up").

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Some modern sources, including Donald Trump's The Art of the Deal, refer to the company as "Elizabeth Trump & Son."[23][24] Contemporaneous sources, however, refer to "E. Trump & Son."[25][26] Elizabeth Trump used the plural "E. Trump & Sons" in classified ads at least as early as 1921,[27] and mixed in the singular "E. Trump & Son" by 1924.[28]
  2. ^ Donald Trump says in The Art of the Deal that he began using the Trump Organization name during conversations with Victor Palmieri which began in 1973.[40] However, the name was used in at least one advertisement as early as 1972.[41]
  3. ^ This drew from interviews with former Trump advisers and employees and over 100,000 pages of tax returns and financial records from Trump businesses.[62] Donald's niece Mary L. Trump revealed in her 2020 memoir that she provided the Times with 19 boxes of these financial records.[196]
  4. ^ A lawyer for Donald Trump denied that fraud or tax evasion had been committed, stating that "President Trump had virtually no involvement whatsoever with these matters. The affairs were handled by other Trump family members who were not experts themselves and therefore relied entirely upon [licensed attorneys, Certified Public Accountants and real estate appraisers]".[197] Incidentally, Donald Trump has claimed to be more knowledgeable about taxes "than the greatest C.P.A." and stated that he used such knowledge to his personal gain.[198]
  5. ^ On September 17, 2020, Eric Trump stated that he would provide his deposition after the November election, citing his busy travel schedule and "to avoid the use of his deposition attendance for political purposes".[212] Days later, New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron ordered Trump to provide the deposition by October 7.[213]
  6. ^ a b On June 25, the ex-wife of Allen Weisselberg's son Barry (who worked for the organization), Jennifer Weisselberg, reportedly told investigators that in January 2012 she witnessed Donald Trump discuss fringe benefits with her then-husband and father-in-law. Trump allegedly indicated that he would provide tuition for Barry and Jennifer's children at a top-rated private school (ultimately costing over $50,000 a year per child) instead of giving the two employees a raise, and directly told Jennifer that he would cover this cost.[222][223] On June 28, she stated that she was planning to provide testimony in the case.[224]
  7. ^ Prosecutors have reportedly been negotiating with a lawyer for Calamari to discuss his cooperation.[221]

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Sources

Further reading

External links