Trump Sold $35 Million Of Real Estate In 2018
Donald Trump sold an estimated $35 million worth of real estate while serving in the White House last year, according to a Forbes analysis of local property records and federal filings. Although the president delegated day-to-day management of his assets to his sons Eric and Don Jr. upon taking office, he maintained ownership of his business, which continued to liquidate properties.
More than half of that $35 million came from a single deal, in which Trump and business partners offloaded a federally subsidized housing complex in Brooklyn for about $900 million. The president held a 4% stake in the property, according to his personal financial disclosure report. After subtracting roughly $370 million in debt, Forbes estimates Trump walked away with $20 million or so before taxes. The deal required approval from officials inside the Department of Housing & Urban Development, which rolls up to Donald Trump.
In Las Vegas, the president sold 36 units for $11 million inside his 64-story tower, which he owns in a 50-50 partnership with casino tycoon Phil Ruffin, according to an analysis of the latest public records. Trump’s cut of those deals amounted to an estimated $5.5 million before taxes. One-third of the Las Vegas condo customers purchased their units through limited liability companies, a move that allows buyers to shield their true identities.
In other words, people were pumping cash into the president’s coffers without disclosing who they were. According to a 2017 investigation by the USA Today, only 4% of purchasers in Trump buildings used LLCs in the two years before Trump secured the presidential nomination.
The president’s transactions come with other ethical concerns. Just before Trump took office, one of his lawyers promised, “No new foreign deals will be made whatsoever during the duration of President Trump’s presidency.” But on October 2, a man named Yu Zhang purchased a unit in the Las Vegas tower for $255,000, listing his address as Taiyuan City, China. Neither the White House nor the Trump Organization responded to requests for comment. USA Today reported that the president’s company previously decided a 2017 sale to a German couple did not qualify as a “foreign deal.”
Trump also sold three empty lots near his golf course outside Los Angeles for a combined $5.6 million, according to property records. In Chicago, the president unloaded three parking spaces at his Trump International Hotel and Tower for a total of $170,000. And in South Carolina, he sold a warehouse for $4.1 million.
Trump sold $35 million worth of real estate last year
One place he did not sell anything? His longtime home of Manhattan, though apparently not for lack of trying. The president owns an estimated $215 million worth of residential real estate there. A Trump Organization website advertises one of his Park Avenue penthouses, in the same building where Ivanka Trump used to live, for $28.5 million. The website also lists a $3 million unit for sale on the south end of Central Park.
Donald Trump still owns an estimated $437 million worth of residential real estate, opening up the possibility that anyone could theoretically buy a property and funnel money to the president of the United States. For those not interested in condos or mansions, there are other ways to line Trump’s pocket, through his hotels and his commercial real estate portfolio. And it’s even easier to disguise who is paying the president that way. Unlike buying real estate, staying in a Trump hotel or renting space in one of his office buildings typically creates no public paper trail.
This article originally appeared in Forbes.