No end to Trump’s financial sleaze

Serial sex abuser Donald Trump’s (SSAT) has already been found guilty of fraud in a case that required him to pay hundred’s of millions of dollars in penalties and is now undergoing an appeal. Then we have the current fraud trial in a New York City court. As if that was not enough, ProPublica has come out with another potential fraud case as a result of a tax audit that may make him liable for another $100 million. Like the first trial, it involves dubious accounting practices.

Former President Donald Trump used a dubious accounting maneuver to claim improper tax breaks from his troubled Chicago tower, according to an IRS inquiry uncovered by ProPublica and The New York Times. Losing a yearslong audit battle over the claim could mean a tax bill of more than $100 million.

The 92-story, glass-sheathed skyscraper along the Chicago River is the tallest and, at least for now, the last major construction project by Trump. Through a combination of cost overruns and the bad luck of opening in the teeth of the Great Recession, it was also a vast money loser.

But when Trump sought to reap tax benefits from his losses, the IRS has argued, he went too far and in effect wrote off the same losses twice.

The first write-off came on Trump’s tax return for 2008. With sales lagging far behind projections, he claimed that his investment in the condo-hotel tower met the tax code definition of “worthless,” because his debt on the project meant he would never see a profit. That move resulted in Trump reporting losses as high as $651 million for the year, ProPublica and the Times found.

There is no indication the IRS challenged that initial claim, though that lack of scrutiny surprised tax experts consulted for this article. But in 2010, Trump and his tax advisers sought to extract further benefits from the Chicago project, executing a maneuver that would draw years of inquiry from the IRS. First, he shifted the company that owned the tower into a new partnership. Because he controlled both companies, it was like moving coins from one pocket to another. Then he used the shift as justification to declare $168 million in additional losses over the next decade.

It is an open secret that real-estate developers benefit greatly from various loopholes in the tax code, mainly involving depreciation, that their lobbyists have managed to conveniently get inserted into laws.

But it seems like even those generous loopholes are not enough for the ever-greedy SSAT and he had to go for even more.


  1. Acolyte of Sagan says

    The 92-story, glass-sheathed skyscraper

    I assume that is meant to be ’92-storey’, and not that each floor has a tale to tell.

  2. moarscienceplz says

    @Acolyte of Sagan
    The USA word for a level or floor of a tall building is in fact ‘story’. ‘Storey’ is the British spelling.

  3. Matt G says

    When you will come up with excuses for every single example of malfeasance by your leader, you might be a member of a cult.

  4. says

    he had to go for even more.

    For people of his ilk, it’s not about if a tactic is fair or honest.

    It’s just a question of what they can get away with.

  5. says

    This just shows what a smart businessman he is!
    Just imagine the genius-level business acumen it takes to lose $819 million dollars. Most of us can only aspire to such greatness.

  6. birgerjohansson says

    If SSAT had been struck by lightning and his honest (and apparently non-sociopathic) brother had taken over the business after Fred Trump, it is perfectly feasible he would have done better financially and without any of the sleaze and crime.

    SSAT is the antithesis of King Midas. Everything he touches turns to garbage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *