Donald Trump’s presidential campaign disclosure reports declare that his buildings are worth a lot of money, in his view demonstrating phenomenal business acumen and how the Trump name adds luster. But in property tax filings Trump describes the same properties as almost worthless, asserting one of his biggest properties is in such an awful location that its retail space is unrentable—what he’d probably define as a loser.
There are multiple lessons in the different faces Trump presents to voters and tax officials that shine a light on Trump’s character and conduct.
Consider the Trump National Golf Club Westchester, located roughly 33 miles north of Trump Tower in Manhattan. It features a 50,000 square foot, $20 million clubhouse that Trump built after he acquired the 140 acres in the late 1990s. There are 18 holes and a majestic waterfall that Trump says is 101 feet high. Trump boasts that “no expense was spared” in creating a “world class” golf course.
It is located in Briarcliff Manor village, a tony Manhattan suburb where half the homes are valued at more than $700,000, according to town assessor Fernando Gonzalez. Houses listed for sale at that price typically are between 2,200 and 3,700 square feet and sit on a fraction of an acre.
In his presidential disclosure Trump valued the golf course and its massive clubhouse at more than $50 million. In tax documents Trump valued the same property at just $1.35 million.
That is a 97% variance, an irreconcilable difference that raises yet again questions about Trump’s integrity, not to mention the size of his fortune, which he has testified he values differently as his emotional state shifts, regardless of objective facts.
Trump’s presidential disclosure indicates he made $10.3 million off the golf course last year and early this year. That alone should sound alarms since businesses normally sell for multiples of their profits, not a tiny fraction of profits.