NY Times exposé on Trump fortune: An empire built on tax evasion and fraud
“Behind every great fortune there is a great crime” – Honoré de Balzac
6 October 2018
In its print edition on Wednesday, the New York Times devoted eight full pages to a 14,000 word investigative report on the financial practices that gave rise to the multibillion-dollar fortune of President Donald Trump.
The article is the result of an 18-month investigation that included interviews with former employees of Trump’s real estate mogul father, Fred C. Trump, and a review of some 100,000 pages of financial records. It presents a detailed, factual case that Trump and his siblings benefited from tax fraud to the tune of at least half a billion dollars.
Even within the context of inheritance tax laws that are riddled with loopholes, some, if not all, of the tax dodges used by the Trumps to evade hundreds of millions of dollars in tax payments were very likely illegal. Whatever the legal issues, however, the picture of criminality and corruption that emerges from the Times report is one that characterizes not just the Trump clan, but the corporate-financial oligarchy as a whole.
The Times found that Fred and Mary Trump transferred well over $1 billion in wealth to their children, paying a total of $52.2 million in federal taxes, an effective rate of about 5 percent. The actual estate and gift tax rate at the time was 55 percent, meaning the Trumps paid less than 10 percent of the $550 billion they owed to the government.
This massive tax fraud was achieved through the setting up of shell companies owned by Donald Trump and his siblings and the systematic undervaluation of the assets of Fred Trump’s real estate empire, which resulted in a sharp reduction in inheritance taxes…