President Donald Trump got at least $413 million from his father’s real estate empire, much of it through “dubious tax schemes…including instances of outright fraud.”
If true, the allegations not only belie Trump’s assertion that his father, Fred Trump, provided only minimal assistance in his rise to billionaire-dom—they also raise legal questions. And those questions have caught the attention of the New York State Tax Department.
“The Tax Department is reviewing the allegations in the New York Times article and is vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation,” department spokesman James Gazzale told Bloomberg.
…According to the exposé, Fred and Mary Trump transferred over $1 billion to their children. However, rather than paying $550 million under the inheritance taxes at the time, the Trumps paid less than a tenth of that amount.
Tax experts told the Times that some tactics—such as the establishment of what seems to have been a shell company for siphoning money from the Trump empire to Donald, his siblings and a cousin—could be characterized as criminal tax fraud. Fred and Mary Trump also appear to have significantly undervalued assets in tax returns. When Fred died, the most valuable item in his estate tax return was “a $10.3 million I.O.U. from Donald Trump, money his son appears to have borrowed the year before he died.”
…It claims he tried to change his father’s will in 1990, to make Donald the estate’s sole executor, but Fred feared his son would use the empire “as collateral to save his own failing businesses.” It says the $1 million Donald Trump always claimed he received from his father, to build his own empire, was actually more than $60 million.