Donald Trump’s Grossly Exaggerated Net Worth: A Timeline

When cartoon plutocrat and healthy ripe pear Donald Trump officially entered the Republican presidential race on Tuesday, he softly a financial disclosure statement that says its net worth is around $ 9 billion. How much is Trump really worth? If history is a guide, the sure answer is: much less than he says he does.

Here is a timeline of how much money – visualized with the help of graphics – Donald Trump claimed to have over the years and how accurate these claims were according to the best sources available at the time.

Trump had the accounting firm Arthur Andersen – who would later be dishonored in the Enron scandal – audit his finances in 1988, revealing that he had more than $ 700 million in cash and liquid assets.

But according Spy, who happily deflated many of Trump’s public claims in the late 1980s and early 1990s, that was a pure mistake. Andersen’s audit came a week after Merrill Lynch gave Trump $ 651 million to build his famous Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, and did not notice that all that money was already earmarked for the project.

Most of Trump’s remaining assets were in stock, but accountants also failed to point out that these shares were bought with borrowed money – he still owed $ 69 million.

Per Spy In fact, Trump had $ 20 million in the hole at the time.

Trump’s biggest and most luxurious estimate: $ 700,125,000
Estimates of haters and losers: $ -20 million

In the same Spy John Connolly’s play (coverline: “Was Donald Trump Ever Really Rich? ”): Trump submitted a sworn statement to the New Jersey Casino Control Commission in March 1990, listing his assets at $ 1.5 billion.

Just a few months later, his own bankers valued his short-term assets, everything he could sell in 90 days, at “between $ 282 million and negative $ 295 million”.

Also in March, divorce lawyers for Donald’s then wife, Ivana Trump, argued that she was entitled to half of her assets – which they valued at $ 5 billion – despite the prenuptial agreement.

“But the former billionaire apparently never had that much to start with and he certainly doesn’t have it now,” O New York Times reported in 1991, “Mr. Trump’s financial problems led to bankruptcy last year and forced him to ask his banks to bail him out, lending him more money to pay the bills. “

Trump himself would not have reached $ 5 billion that year, especially at the risk of losing half. It may be the only time he has admitted to having less money than people thought.

In May 1990, Forbes published his famous cover story, “How much is Donald Trump really worth now?” stating that “we create properties that we believe have a market value of just under $ 3.7 billion and are burdened by almost $ 3.2 billion in debt. If our estimates are substantially correct – and we think they are generous – Donald Trump’s current net worth is about $ 500 million. “

A few billion dollars and several strategic bankruptcies later, everyone still suspects that Trump overdoes his real assets.

Trump’s biggest and most luxurious estimate: $ 1.5 billion (sorry Ivana)
Estimates of haters and losers: $ 500 million

“When I was in trouble in the early 90s, I used to walk around and – you know, a lot of people couldn’t believe I did it because they think I have an ego – I walked and openly told people that it was worth less 900 million ”, Trump told the New York Times in 2005. “And then I was able to make a deal with the banks.”

Trump’s biggest and most luxurious estimate: $ -900 million
Estimate of haters and losers who believe Donald Trump has an ego: n / a

Trump returned to Forbes list after a six-year absence, but according to the magazine, he was not exactly satisfied:

“Trump, polite but unhappy, calling from his plane: ‘Are you paying me $ 450 million? I have so much in stock exchange assets. There is 100% of Trump Tower, 100% of the new Nike store – they are paying $ 10 million a year in rent! ”Add it all up, Trump said, and his net worth is’ in the range of $ 2 billion, probably over $ 2 billion. ”

Trump’s biggest and most luxurious estimate: probably more than $ 2 billion
Estimates of haters and losers: $ 450 million

“He puts his net worth at $ 5 billion”, Wall Street Journal reported, but Abraham Wallach, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, said: “Donald sometimes exaggerates. He’s talking about futures. “

O WSJ piece went on to suggest that Trump was overvaluing his casinos and much of his real estate, basically “counting chickens before they hatch”.

At the time, he valued his greatest asset, Trump Place, still under construction – which would eventually turn into Riverside South, Manhattan’s largest residential development – at $ 2 to $ 3 billion. In 2005, the Southeast Asian financiers of the venture, Hudson Waterfront Associates, sold it for $ 1.76 billion. Trump sued, claiming they could have received at least $ 3 billion, but their claims were denied.

In 2006, Forbes assessed Trump’s participation in the development of the West Side at $ 170 million, much less than the billions he expected to bring in 2000.

Trump’s biggest and most luxurious estimate: $ 5 billion
Hater and Loser Estimate: Less.

Journalist Tim O’Brien, who rekindled speculation about Trump’s true equity with his 2005 book Trump Nation: the art of being Donald, recorded this hilarious anecdote about a meeting with Trump at New York Times that year:

“I would say six [billion]. 5-6. Five to six, ”he said.

Hmm. In the previous August, he told me that his net worth was $ 4 billion to $ 5 billion. Then, later on the same day in August, he said that his assets represented 2% of his wealth, which at the time gave him a net worth of about $ 1.7 billion. On the same day, estimates of Donald’s own wealth differed by as much as $ 3.3 billion. How could this happen? Donald was living in his own private zone of daily high, uncontrolled inflation, a Trump Bolivia? And its value of $ 1.7 billion in August was well below the $ 2.6 billion that Forbes would give it credit for publishing its rich list just a few months later.

Now Donald was saying it was worth between $ 5 billion and $ 6 billion.

“5-6. 5-6.”

And on the nightstand in my room at Donald’s Palm Beach club, Mar-a-Lago, there was a shiny brochure that said it was worth $ 9.5 billion.


That same year, Deutsche Bank made an independent assessment of Trump’s net worth before granting him a $ 640 million loan to build condos in Chicago, the Wall Street Journal reports. They determined that he was valued at $ 788 million.

Trump’s biggest and most luxurious estimate: $ 4-5 billion and $ 5-6 billion and $ 9.5 billion
Estimates of haters and losers: $ 788 million.

Trump sued O’Brien for defamation a year after the publication of his book, claiming that his net worth was actually $ 6 billion, not the $ 150 to $ 250 million reported by O’Brien based on sources he saw Trump’s finances. In the process of arguing, Trump cited that year’s Forbes list, which put him at $ 2.7 billion – lower than he liked to claim, but better than being a mere millionaire.

It’s the Forbes accurate figure? O’Brien argues that Trump has always owned “verbal billions”, whose boasting tends to blur the line between the properties he has built and the properties he actually owns. although Forbes never credits him with the unbelievable numbers he claims, the magazine’s numbers are asymmetrical because they are forced to trust the Trump Organization for information.

As O’Brien said, “Donald and The Forbes 400 were reinforcing each other.”

Forbes admitted this week that “every year, Trump shares a lot of information with us that helps us get to the numbers we publish. But he also consistently seeks higher equity – especially when it comes to the value of his personal brand. “

(Forbes it is not the only magazine that Trump presses to denounce his wealth too much. In 2000, Fortune reported that “Trump called so often to haggle his net worth that an intern was assigned to answer his calls.”

As for O’Brien’s numbers, he wrote that he would be willing to add up to $ 170 million to his estimate based on the value of Trump’s casinos. Since then, Trump’s casino business has gone bankrupt twice. Of his former properties in Atlantic City, only the Taj Mahal remains open – Donald is not fully involved in his administration. (And even that would be runs the risk of closing if new owner Carl Icahn has not been ordered to keep it functioning as a chapter 11 condition.)

Trump’s biggest and most luxurious estimate: $ 6 billion
Hater and loser estimate: $ 150-250 million

Trump’s case against O’Brien was fired in 2009, with the question of Trump’s real fortune still unresolved, because Trump could not prove that O’Brien had been malicious by relying on his anonymous sources. At the conclusion of the process, Trump still claimed to be worth $ 6 billion, the same amount as when the process started three years earlier. (Forbes listed it at $ 2.6 billion.)

During a deposition for the case, Trump and a lawyer had the following absolutely incredible exchange:

Q: Let me ask you first about the first sentence: Trump’s tirelessly coward about his developments – this will be the biggest, the best, the most incredible – leads people to assume that he exaggerates his net worth. Do you see that?

A: yes

Q: Do you know what poop means?

A: Well, I’m not sure that there is an exact definition, but I imagine that is it.

Q: Exaggeration?

A: It could be, yes.

Q: lying?

A: No.

If Trump’s estimates of his own assets are lies, exaggerations or fantasies to which he clings, there is no denying that he uses some unorthodox accounting methods to determine them. In the same testimony, he claimed to have made “mental projections” to arrive at the future value of one of his developments.

Trump’s biggest and most luxurious estimate: $ 6 billion, still
Estimates of haters and losers: $ 2.6 billion

Trump he lost an appeal in his defamation suit against O’Brien and his lawyer told reporters that his net worth was “conclusively proven” by more than $ 7 billion.

(This is the same case in which Trump testified that he just bet on 4, maybe 5 billion dollars in your net worth to explain the value of your brand.)

Trump’s biggest and most luxurious estimate: $ 7 billion, conclusively proven
Estimates of haters and losers: $ 2.9 billion, per Forbes

While talking to Washington Post about the possibility of a 2016 In the presidential candidacy, Trump estimated his net worth at “probably more than $ 10 billion”. This is the biggest and most ridiculous figure that Trump has publicly stated.

At the time, Forbes listed it at $ 3.2 billion, but the Post Trump reports waved the discrepancy saying that his ventures were very successful that year. (Almost $ 7 billion in earnings? Highly unlikely.)

Trump’s biggest and most luxurious estimate: probably more than $ 10 billion
Estimates of haters and losers: $ 3.2 billion

The only likely asset that comes from another Donald Trump candidacy for the presidency (in addition, of course, to Content) is the chance to study his public records of information that can help us determine how many of his “verbal billions” are real billions, real. In the sparse document released (and waved) on Tuesday, Trump claimed a net worth of US $ 8.7 billion in June 2014.

Two things in particular stand out in Trump’s “Summary of Equity” document: first, his most valuable asset is apparently the Trump brand and the licensing agreements it brings. He values ​​Just Being Donald Trump at more than $ 3.3 billion. According Forbes, your brand is worth just $ 125 million, plus “another $ 128 million in administration fees for Trump brand hotels.”

Second, on his list of liabilities, he only counts loans and mortgages on 100% owned properties by him – and, as we have seen, much of what “Trump” says is not the exclusive property of Donald himself.

“Normally, Trump, after losing his shirt, risks little money, but makes a profit – paid only after creditors and partners get their money back – acting as developer and promoter,” Wall Street Journal observed in 2000.

What if these developments never become profitable? Trump doesn’t like to talk about it. In a 2007 deposition for the O’Brien lawsuit, he asked the lawyers: “Would you like me to say, oh, damn it, the building is not going well, blah, blah, blah, come here, the building – nobody talks about that way. Who would speak like that?

Forbes also argues that Trump is vastly overvaluing his clubs and his golf course chain – by a billion dollars – and refuses to credit $ 300 million for properties that have not yet been built. In terms of assets that can be safely confirmed, Trump has $ 300 million in cash and securities and has about $ 3 billion in real estate. By their math, the math of the haters and losers in the world, Trump is worth $ 4 billion, or less than half what he claims.

[[[[Jim Cooke Pictures]

Paula Fonseca