Oct 2, 2018

Trump’s self-made claims challenged by father’s tax returns

Donald Trump and father Fred Trump. Photo: Dennis Caruso/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

A mammoth New York Times investigation found that Donald Trump had engaged in "dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents."

Why it matters: The report, which relies on confidential Fred Trump (his father) documents and tax returns, shows how Donald Trump built his fortune. Documents suggest that Trump's father provided his son with as much as $60.7 million in loans ($140 million if adjusted for inflation), in contrast to Trump's suggestion he only received $1 million.

Details from the story: "All told, The Times documented 295 distinct streams of revenue Fred Trump created over five decades to channel wealth to his son."

  • "When Fred Trump died in June 1999 at the age of 93, the vast bulk of his empire was nowhere to be found in his estate — testament to the success of the tax strategies devised by the Trumps in the early 1990s."
  • The Times found that Trump received the equivalent of $413 million after questionable tax dealings with this father’s real estate empire during the 1990s.
  • Helped by a variety of tax dodges, the Trumps paid $52.2 million, or about 5%.
  • The IRS reportedly provided little pushback against the Trumps' tactics.
  • Trump reportedly tried to change his father's will when he was sick to benefit himself.
  • His father was “alarmed and angered, feared could result in his empire’s being used to bail out his son’s failing businesses.”

Among the juiciest lines: “By age 3, [Donald Trump] was earning $200,000 a year in today’s dollars from his father’s empire. He was a millionaire by age 8. In his 40s and 50s, he was receiving more than $5 million a year.”

  • Fred Trump illegally purchased $3.5 million in casino chips at his son's casino in 1990, ultimately paying a $65,000 fine.

The bottom line: Fred Trump's documents reveal he acted like the stereotype of a rich person, using every possible legal tax loophole (along with some that were less than legal) to pass his fortune to his children.

What's next: "The Tax Department is reviewing the allegations in the NYT article and is vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation," a spokesman from New York State Department of Taxation and Finance told CNBC.

Go deeper: Full Times story ... NYT takeaways ... Trump statement

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The Fed rescues Wall Street, but Main Street is another story

llustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In less than a month, the Federal Reserve has unleashed a multi-trillion dollar tour de force to buoy the U.S. economy against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: While it has steadied the markets, the Fed is poorly equipped to offset the hit being absorbed by small business owners and the close to 17 million Americans who have filed for unemployment in just the past three weeks.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 a.m. ET: 1,605,548 — Total deaths: 95,758 — Total recoveries: 355,983Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5 a.m. ET: 466,299 — Total deaths: 16,686 — Total recoveries: 26,522Map.
  3. 2020 latest: Top conservative leaders are concerned the Trump administration isn't addressing the virus' long-term economic impact.
  4. Public health latest: U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under a CDC public health orderDr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  5. Business latest: After another 6.6 million jobless claims, here's how to understand the scale of American job decimation.
  6. 1 "SNL" thing: "Saturday Night Live" will return this weekend in a remotely produced episode.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredPets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Automakers lay out back-to-work playbook for coronavirus pandemic

Magna employees in China adapting to a new normal at work. Images courtesy of Magna

The auto industry is sharing detailed return-to-work guidelines on how to shield employees from the coronavirus as it prepares to reopen its own factories in the coming weeks.

Why it matters: We might not shake hands again, but sooner or later, most of us will return to our jobs, whether in a factory, office or public venue within close proximity of others. Reestablishing an environment where employees feel comfortable and can remain healthy will be a daunting challenge for every employer.