Donald Trump’s initial thrust into politics was fueled by a single idea: He’s rich, can fund his own campaign, and doesn’t owe anyone. But everything we’ve learned since then shows that just the opposite is true: Donald Trump has been piling up debt for decades.
In the 1970s, he ran up a $38 million personal debt and was bailed out by his father.
In the 1990s, he racked up $1 billion in debt twice and raided his own company to enrich himself, and even then, may have needed insolvency laws to climb out of the hole he dug.
Wouldn’t it be remarkable if the tycoon, who was claiming even in his darkest days in the 1990s to be worth over $1 billion, was admitting to the IRS that he was really not just dead broke, but hugely under water? And that a special escape provision called “insolvency”—a place Trump has never publicly confessed to being—saved him a bundle in taxes?
In the 2010s … we don’t know. American banks long ago stopped dealing with Donald Trump, and for a very good reason. Those losses Trump reported in 1995? They were 2 percent of all the net operating losses reported for the entire country. Donald Trump was a one-man economic wrecking crew.
So forget looking at who has donated $2,000 to Trump’s campaign. Forget even those who gave $10,000 to some PAC. Right this moment, the Republican candidate owes someone hundreds of millions of dollars. Maybe more. So who does Trump owe? He has admitted to at least five loans of at least $50 million each, but any of those loans could be for any amount above $50 million.
Who really owns the Republican candidate for president?
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We know he owes hundreds of millions to Deutsche Bank, which itself is an enormous conflict of interest.
… the presumptive GOP nominee also has a tremendous load of debt that includes five loans each over $50 million. (The disclosure form, which presidential candidates must submit, does not compel candidates to reveal the specific amount of any loans that exceed $50 million, and Trump has chosen not to provide details.) Two of those megaloans are held by Deutsche Bank, which is based in Germany but has US subsidiaries.
But Deutsche Bank has serious problems.
Deutsche Bank is in deep trouble. Its stock price has plummeted in recent days after the Justice Department demanded the gigantic German bank pay $14 billion to settle claims regarding its sale of bad mortgage-backed securities in the the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis. The bank's shares fell to a new low on Tuesday over reports it might be seeking a bailout from the German government—which Deutsche Bank has denied.
Which puts Donald Trump into the position of being in debt to a foreign institution by a minimum of $100 million when that institution has been caught hiding data, manipulating markets, and trying to evade laws aimed at preventing just the kind of mess Deutsche Bank has created.
And then there's Russia. Donald Trump can easily claim that he has “zero investments in Russia.” It may even be true. But it’s dead certain that Russia has investments in Trump.
The most obvious example is Trump Soho, a complicated web of financial intrigue that has played out in court. A lawsuit claimed that the business group, Bayrock, underpinning Trump Soho was supported by criminal Russian financial interests. While its initial claim absolved Trump of knowledge of those activities, Trump himself later took on the group’s principal partner as a senior adviser in the Trump organization.
“Tax evasion and money-laundering are the core of Bayrock’s business model,” the lawsuit said of the financiers behind Trump Soho.
And, according to Junior Trump, that’s far from the limit of Russian involvement.
“Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” Trump’s son, Donald Jr., told a real estate conference in 2008, according to an account posted on the website of eTurboNews, a trade publication. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”
German banksters. Russian Oligarchs. Who else owns Donald Trump?
On the campaign trail, Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, has sold himself as a businessman who has made billions of dollars and is beholden to no one. …
an office building on Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan, of which Mr. Trump is part owner, carries a $950 million loan. Among the lenders: the Bank of China, one of the largest banks in a country that Mr. Trump has railed against as an economic foe of the United States, and Goldman Sachs, a financial institution he has said controls Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, after it paid her $675,000 in speaking fees.
The Bank of China. Goldman Sachs. And who else? You can’t find out by just looking at the documents Trump filed with the FEC.
The Times found three other instances in which Mr. Trump had an ownership interest in a building but did not disclose the debt associated with it. In all three cases, Mr. Trump had passive investments in limited liability companies that had borrowed significant amounts of money.
Donald Trump’s business ties are a nest of people to whom he owes vast sums of money. Those are the people Trump is responsible to. The people at the top of his list.
Far from being “beholden to no one,” Donald Trump is the most indebted candidate to ever run for president. By far. No one has to worry about any money he might take as part of the campaign. Because no one could possibly contribute enough to come close to the amount owed to the people who already own Donald Trump.
Update: A Bayrock representative has indicated that Felix Sater, identified in the quoted article as a principal partner, was in fact an employee of Bayrock, not a partner.