Many credulous people admire Donald Trump for the image of wealth he projects and the knowledge that despite his increasing debt load in 2016 and the fact that four of his businesses, the Trump Taj Mahal, the Plaza Hotel, Trump Hotels and Casino Resorts, and Trump Entertainment Resorts, all went bankrupt, he has retained a net worth in the billions. Indeed, according to Donald Trump and his supporters, he is excellent at managing money.
However, as of October 2016, his net worth has declined by about $800 million since August, falling from $4.5 billion to $3.7 billion, and reports have surfaced that in 1995 alone, he took a loss of $915 million. Many American taxpayers are indeed irked, as the fact that Donald Trump’s wasteful habits with money enables him to avoid paying taxes demonstrates the inherent problem with the tax code in the United States.
Though Donald Trump claimed that he was “smart” for exploiting loopholes in the tax code, shortly after his tax records from 1995 were leaked to The New York Times in early October 2016, his accountant, Jack Mitnick appeared on Inside Edition and revealed:
“I did all the tax preparation. He never saw the product until it was presented to him for signature… I’m the one who did all the work.”
Though Donald Trump himself has not released the remainder of his tax returns, in addition to the revelation of his billion-dollar tax loss in 1995, on October 5, 2016, BuzzFeed linked to bankruptcy paperwork for The Trump Taj Mahal Casino, Trump’s Plaza and The Trump Castle. The findings show Trump’s reputation for aggressive business negotiation, that he stiffed a number of small-time investors and small-business owners who sold Trump’s enterprises goods and services, and that even George Miller, Trump’s own bankruptcy attorney, did not trust him. According Miller’s testimony at a bankruptcy hearing:
“It’s always been our practice to make sure that two people are present, and we don’t have a problem with people lying… Trump is an expert at interpreting things. Let’s put it that way…Donald says certain things and then has a lack of memory.”
In addition, throughout the end of September into early October, Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold revealed that Trump embezzled over a quarter of a million dollars from the Donald J. Trump Foundation to settle lawsuits against him; that Trump instructed individuals and businesses who owed him money to instead write the checks to the Trump Foundation so that he could avoid being taxed on the $2.3 million he received; that the Trump Foundation never got the proper license to conduct fundraising in New York State and that as a result, Trump was barred from fundraising there.
On the same day BuzzFeed made the bankruptcy documents for three of Trump’s businesses public, The New York Daily News reported that in 1978, Trump maxed out a $35 million line of credit from Chase Manhattan that his father helped him obtain and that during that year, Trump took a loss of over $400,000 (nearly $1.5 million in 2016 dollars). The following year, Trump lost $3.4 million, which would amount to a little over $12.5 million today.
Given that many conservative voters gripe about what they perceive as “out-of-control spending,” the notion that many of them would favor a candidate who is so frivolous with money is bizarre.
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