Donald Trump relentlessly refuses to release his tax returns. The American people are apparently supposed to trust a man who is not even transparent enough to show how much he pays in taxes.
As it turns out, Trump has a long history of tax avoidance, and that may well explain just why he doesn’t want anyone to see the returns he’s filed with the IRS over the years. And an incident from the mid-1980s may give us further insight into why the Donald is so secretive about his tax documents.
In 1997, Trump told his accountants to take engage in a series of accounting changes (i.e. loopholes) that would give him the ability to not pay over $3 million in rent payments to New York City. Here’s how Trump managed to cheat the city:
In 1977, Trump made a deal with the city of New York which allowed him to forgo nearly $160 million in property taxes over a 40-year period. In exchange, Trump would give the city a portion of the profits from his hotel. Quid pro quo, so to speak. As CBS reports, New York City received annual rent payments, and then in 1986, things changed:
“In 1986, the hotel had its best year, raking in nearly $80 million. City officials expected to receive at least as much as the $3.7 million paid the year before.”
Instead, Trump sent the city a check for $667,155.
And when city auditors began sniffing around the discrepancy, they were met with silence and resistance:
“Experts asked by CBS News to examine the city auditor’s report, which was completed in 1989, described the behavior of hotel and Trump Organization officials as ‘unusual’ and ‘unheard of.’”
Karen Burstein, who was the city’s auditor general in 1987 commented:
“Something was fishy there. This was not the behavior of an innocent party. I think that’s what became evident to us.”
Finally, an audit date was set, but was then canceled at the last minute by Trump’s attorneys. And when city auditors did get access to the records, what did they find? Missing financial records and totally unacceptable accounting practices. Trump even tried to prevent the audit results from being released.
Asked about this incident now, Trump feigns total amnesia, saying:
“I sold the hotel many years ago for a tremendous profit. By building the hotel I created thousands of jobs, saved the Grand Central area, and helped to revive a dying, at the time, New York City. The city was extremely happy with that development and you’re now bringing up something thirty years later that I’ve never heard about.”
And this is the man we have running the largest economy in the world and making “great deals” for us? Hell, I’d sooner let my 10-year old daughter be Secretary of the Treasury. At least she’s dependable, honest, and good at math.
This article was originally published by the same author at Liberal America.org