Donald Trump is terrified of anyone other than his accountants and attorneys seeing his taxes, and there are various theories for why:
- He’s broke
- He has potentially illegal connections to foreign countries such as Russia or Saudi Arabia
- He doesn’t pay taxes
- He cheats on his taxes
Based on a blockbuster report from ProPublica, it seems the answer is that Trump may indeed be cheating when it comes to both his taxes and what he tells the financial institutions he borrows money from:
“Donald Trump’s business reported conflicting information about a key metric to New York City property tax officials and a lender who arranged financing for his signature building, Trump Tower in Manhattan, according to tax and loan documents obtained by ProPublica.”
Here’s an example of exactly what Trump did:
“The occupancy rate of the Trump Tower’s commercial space was listed, over three consecutive years, as 11, 16 and 16 percentage points higher in filings to a lender than in reports to city tax officials, records show.
“In tax filings, however, Trump’s business said the building’s occupancy was 83% in January 2012 and the same a year later. The 16 percentage point gap between the loan and tax filings is a ‘very significant difference,’ said Susan Mancuso, an attorney who specializes in New York property tax.”
What Trump did, it should be noted, is fraud, as explained by Nancy Wallace, a professor of finance and real estate at the Haas School of Business at the University of California-Berkeley, who called the discrepancies between what Trump claimed and what he paid in taxes “versions of fraud.”
These filings also match up perfectly with what the president’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, has told investigators and also testified to under oath before a congressional committee:
“Cohen said Trump at times inflated assets’ value in documents submitted to lenders in an effort to secure loans. In reports to tax officials, Cohen testified, Trump would lower the value to reduce what he owed.”
In recent weeks, there has been reporting that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. is taking a very close look at Trump’s finances and the actions of his company, the Trump Organization, which is currently run by his two eldest sons, Don Jr. and Eric.
Rest assured prosecutors in various jurisdictions are taking a close look at Trump’s business dealings and his taxes, which may well wind up being released to the House Oversight and Reform Committee once the Supreme Court rules on the matter. The Manhattan DA is also in court to get those tax documents.
Trump’s Achilles heel is his finances. When you follow the money, you inevitably find the crimes.