John Oliver uses Trump tax loophole to avoid paying levy on $9mn NYC penthouse

May 12, 2017

US political satire show host, John Oliver, reportedly used a tax loophole exploited by Donald Trump in the 1980s, to buy a $9.5 million penthouse apartment in a building that was formerly owned by the billionaire turned President of the United States. 

On Last Week Tonight, Oliver has positioned himself as an everyman, highlighting the cruel injustices in his adoptive home country.

However, it has now come to light that Oliver (net worth $5 million) and his number one target Trump may, in fact, have something in common.

In 2014, John Oliver discussed the ever-widening wealth gap in the United States. But mere months before the segment aired, however, Oliver hired high-profile legal firm Proskauer Rose LLP to handle his complex tax matters.

According to The Observer, Oliver’s lawyer set up two trusts – legal entities which are notoriously hard to prosecute – entitled JO (John Oliver) and KNO (Oliver’s wife Kate Norley Oliver).

The trusts were then used to create a shell company, Hoagie’s Place LLC, affectionately named after the Oliver family’s dog.

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

In 2015, the shell company bought a 39th floor penthouse in an Upper West Side worth $9.5 million, paying half up front and setting up a $4.75 million mortgage with JP Morgan to pay the rest.

In a cruel twist of fate for Oliver, Trump used to own the apartment building which the then real estate tycoon sold in 2005.

While Oliver paid $9.5 million for the penthouse apartment, New York City council assessed its market value for tax purposes at a mere $1.3 million.

Under city tax rules, only $515,000 of that were subject to property taxes, which at a rate of 12.8 percent, Oliver normally would have paid $66,390. Oliver actually benefitted from a tax break engineered by Trump in the 1980s and instead, paid just $27,343 (or a tax rate of roughly 0.25 percent) for the fiscal year in…

Read more