Maybe Donald Trump will finally go the way of Al Capone and crucify himself with his taxes. ProPublica has obtained property tax documents, using New York State’s freedom of information law, and sure enough, it appears there’s two sets of books, one to appease the IRS and another one to lure lenders. ProPublica:
Taxes have long been a third rail for Trump. Long before he famously declined to make his personal returns public, a New York Times investigation concluded, Trump participated in tax schemes that involved “outright fraud,” and that he had formulated “a strategy to undervalue his parents’ real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars on tax returns.” Trump’s former partners in Panama claimed in a lawsuit, which is ongoing, that Trump’s hotel management company failed to pay taxes on millions in fees it received. Spokespeople for Trump and his company have denied any tax improprieties in the past.
In February, Cohen told Congress that Trump had adjusted figures up or down, as necessary, to obtain loans and avoid taxes. “It was my experience that Mr. Trump inflated his total assets when it served his purposes,” Cohen testified, “and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.” […]
In response to ProPublica’s questions about the disparities, Laura Feyer, deputy press secretary for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, said of the Trump International Hotel and Tower, “The city is looking into this property, and if there has been any underreporting, we will take appropriate action.”
What Trump did was tell people what they wanted to hear, about how there was a great rise in leasing momentum and the building in question would soon be full. He backed up those claims with fraudulent records.
There can be legitimate reasons for numbers to diverge between tax and loan documents, the experts noted, but some of the gaps seemed to have no reasonable justification. “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,” said Kevin Riordan, a financing expert and real estate professor at Montclair State University who reviewed the records. “It’s hard to argue numbers. That’s black and white.”
What is ironic, is that Donald Trump spent his entire life trying to be a big shot in New York, to no avail. It’s very probable that his recent decision to make Florida his home state is based upon this investigation. The people that Trump spent a lifetime trying to impress, New Yorkers, may be the ones that finally take him to task. Good for them. It can’t happen soon enough.