There is a damn good reason that presidents in the past have both released tax returns and put assets in a blind trust. We are all human, we all have to guard against even the most subtle biases coming into play. Any president has the power to move billions in equities, make or break companies with policy changes, it is near impossible to make a decision that doesn’t have a massive impact on some fraction of the economy.
Now imagine the danger presented by a man for whom wealth is the only measure of a person, one who always presented himself as a “billionaire,” branded himself on wealth alone, one who didn’t divest himself, is not blind to his assets, and – this is key – is barely keeping his head above water financially, one who may actually be insolvent were everything to be added up. Imagine the danger that man represents as president.
There are troubling signs all around us, and they are not new.
Noticed the problem with DJT & Cohen coming up w/ ~$300,000 to pay off Stormy. Did not understand why coming up w/ this smallish amount of cash (for a supposed billionaire) was a problem.
— Empress of the Multiverse (@being_nontheist) November 2, 2019
He stiffs cities on the bills for campaign events. He charges the government for Secret Service room/board at his places. He and his children are prohibited by law from running a charity, because they stole from the one he had set-up. He knew he would take enormous heat at the worst time if he named Doral as the location of the G7, and did it anyway. We know through public documents that certain resorts are bleeding money. Governor Cuomo said “good riddance” and that Trump doesn’t pay any taxes anyway. One of his assets known to make money, the Trump DC hotel, was just put up for sale at the earliest possible date. And then there is this, which I think is quite valid:
If Trump was worth what he said, he'd be posting his AGI on billboards.
— Butt Dialing Ugh (@ContrarySarie) November 2, 2019
But there is more, just beneath the surface, and I am not alone (obviously) in this worry, because it is a worry. If Trump is actually broke, he is even more dangerous than we already know him to be. Seth Abramson must be taken with a grain of salt. He has made some radical allegations, but he also has a decent nose. This isn’t an allegation, it is a question, one that must be asked.
Who else thinks Trump likely has a negative net worth
— Seth Abramson (@SethAbramson) November 2, 2019
I am not sure about “negative,” but it could be extremely dicey, and I posted a column about this very thing just a few weeks ago. Since that time, Trump has screamed again about the Fed not lowering interest rates, again, in a “great economy” (according to Trump) and at already low rates.
Trump has so many red lights flashing with respect to his finances being tied to laundering money, it is head-spinning. The quote from Eric; “We don’t rely on American banks, we see a lot of money pouring in from Russia,” says so much it could fill a book. Donald Trump once proclaimed himself to be the “King of Debt,” he would leverage everything to the hilt, put all the risk in LLCs and then bail out when it fell apart, keeping the cash on the personal side. Think Atlantic City. He was so notorious for the debt-bankruptcy act that American banks simply refused to lend to him, the supposed “billionaire.”
Yet, in the late 2000s, when the great recession began and no one was laying out large cash investments in anything, Trump went on a buying spree, suddenly using cash, to buy high-end properties in the middle of a recession. Using cash? The “we don’t rely on American banks” cash, the “we see a lot of money pouring in from Russia” cash, cash in a dead economy? What was really going on? His primary bank-lender became Deutsche Bank, a bank notorious for sustaining massive fines for banking with criminal oligarchs.
Given that he couldn’t bank with American banks, and given that he had long had relations with both American and Russian organized crime, it wouldn’t “shock” anyone if it was at that point he looked to the “lender of last resort,” the Russian oligarchs, who desperately wanted property in the U.S. to park their money, a match made in heaven.
The only problem with that arrangement – beyond being criminal – is “winning the presidency,” because a president actually does have to have his personal taxes audited each year. A president has a hard time making “deals” for property, those “deals” might have been the only things keeping him afloat. The tap on the Russian cash flow might have suddenly been turned off, and the debts might suddenly have been called in. It is possible that Trump never considered “divesting” as president, because there was nothing to “divest.” Is it possible that to truly “divest,” he would have to pay out huge sums he did not have?
Remember the look in his eyes the night he won the election? He not only looked stunned, he looked scared, like “that was never the plan,” scared. Could it be that he feared the loss of the cash flow even more than disclosure of his relationships with Russia? It would align with his priorities, fear of losing money over fear of criminal charges or a little impeachment issue.
Thing is, so long as he is president, he can likely keep the big debts at bay, because Putin’s buddies, the oligarchs, can offer many ways to “pay down” his debt. Pulling out of Syria might be worth $250 million. We can’t know, right now anyway. But none of that helps with his immediate cash flow issues.
Does this explain how it is that he is so easily “purchased” by countries renting rooms at hotels? If someone is actually a billionaire, is that person going to be influenced by fifty Saudis spending a week vacationing (at top rates, for sure) at a property owned by the billionaire? Fifty guests is a rounding error for a billionaire, unless it is a “fake” billionaire, starved for cash, and that cash got “passed through” the resort, quickly, to personal accounts.
And then there is the mysterious move to Florida. Florida has no state income tax, and it allows for an unlimited homestead exemption should one declare bankruptcy. Is he now suddenly making “income” through those few properties, and favors as president, and he needs as much of that “income” as he can get his hands on? Such that the Florida residence is essential?
Put a bunch of things together: With Doral in real trouble, with the Scotland resort in real trouble, with the SoHo property in real trouble, with the DC hotel – the one making money – up for sale, with the move to Florida, all of it coupled with the fact that despite facing impeachment and a trial in the Senate, when any “millionaire” (never mind billionaire) would have a friggin platoon of special ops lawyers HALO’ing-in dressed in thousand dollar suits, from every direction, his only personal lawyer, that we know for certain that represents him personally, is Rudy. Rudy is the guy who butt-called someone saying they needed a few hundred thousand dollars from Bahrain, Rudy the guy who hangs out with …. criminal Russian-Ukrainian henchmen.
Something is wrong. I am not financially literate enough to put it all together and write the story, but something is definitely not right. And it’s just so damned dangerous with a man like him. I think we can all agree, he would rather be the first president removed from office by impeachment, than to be a bankrupt/broke ex-president. That could add up to one desperate person, with more power than anyone else on the globe.
It feels like there is some desperation in the air, and the move to Florida means something. It is not that “New York has been very bad to him.” Being a New Yorker is part of his persona, part of his brand, he doesn’t care how they “treat him.”
Something is happening just under the surface. He is acting like someone with astronomical expenses, assets tied-up and illiquid, and in desperate need of cash. If it were all truly audited, all of it, he might well be in the negative. For years and years, he may have managed to pull the act off by his willingness to risk prison by laundering money for his Russian “friends.”
But not now.
I wonder, and the more I wonder, the more worried I get. He has always been a con, and this might be the biggest of all.
firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter: @MiciakZoom