3 October 2018
Cogito Ergo Non Serviam
The New York Times has published a 13,000 word article in today's edition, adding 8 pages to the print edition, detailing the financial shenanigans of Donald Trump, his father and many of the other family members. The key sentence among those thousands is President Trump participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the fortune he received from his parents, an investigation by the New York Times has found." One of the president's lawyers called the article "100% false, and highly defamatory." The absence of a lawsuit against the paper suggests otherwise.
Mr. Trump has long claimed that he built his business empire with a small loan of one million dollars from his father, that he had to repay with interest. That tale of a self-made man always smelled a bit anyway. In very few families would a loan of a million dollars count as small. Fewer families have such a sum. For Mr. Trump to pose as a bootstrap pulling type started out ridiculous.
The paper says that he started earning a couple hundred thousand in today's dollars a year as a toddler and was worth a million by the time he was eight. Father Fred continued to pour the family fortune into his son's pockets over the years in a variety of ways. Donald Trump was listed as the property manager on some buildings, which earned him a fee. Or he was a consultant, which earned him a fee. He even got paid the quarters out of the laundry machines in some of the buildings, a tidy fee as well.
The point of the investigation, however, is not to undermine the myth of Donald Trump, self-made man. The point is that the Trump billions (or perhaps it is just millions) stems from tax evasion and fraud. This is why the president's tax returns never became public. It is why he avoids lawsuits; he fears discovery will make his financial crimes public.
One of the methods used was manipulating the valuations of New York real property owned by the Trumps. When it came time to pay taxes, the Trumps maintained the buildings were almost valueless. When it came time to use them as collateral for loans, they were worth gazillions. Most experts agree that this is a pattern that results in charges of tax fraud.
The NYT also says, "The most overt fraud was All County Building Supply & Maintenance, a company formed by the Trump family in 1992. All County's ostensible purpose was to be the purchasing agent for Fred Trump's buildings, buying everything from boilers to cleaning supplies. It did no such thing, records and interviews show. Instead All County siphoned millions of dollars from Fred Trump's empire by simply marking up purchases already made by his employees. Those millions, effectively untaxed gifts, then flowed to All County's owners -- Donald Trump, his siblings and a cousin. Fred Trump then used the padded All County receipts to justify bigger rent increases for thousands of tenants."
Given how long ago these events occurred, there is no question of criminal charges. The statute of limitations has long run out. Civil penalties are entirely different. It is entirely possible that the president and his family could find themselves in the dock having to pay millions in fines and restitution. The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance said it "reviewing the allegations" and "vigorously pursuing all appropriate areas of investigation."
In addition, there is a fair chance that methods to avoid taxes in the 1990s are still in use today. Tax fraud from 1996 is not likely to result in a prison stretch. Tax fraud from 2016 is another matter entirely.
One is confident Robert Mueller knows more than the New York Times.
© Copyright 2018 by The Kensington Review, Jeff Myhre, PhD, Editor. No part of this publication may be reproduced without written consent. Produced using Ubuntu Linux.