As Donald Trump’s whistleblower scandal spirals further out of control and his popularity continues to drop, it’s still coming at him from all sides. When the holiday weekend is over, it’ll be harder for him to hide behind stunts like unannounced visits to the troops, especially since he managed to spark a national conversation about military justice when he pardoned Edward Gallagher. The last thing he needs is a new scandal, particularly one that could bring us any closer to seeing his taxes. New documents discovered by ProPublica this past Wednesday, however, indicate that’s where we may be headed. The documents suggest that the Trump Organization lied about occupancy rates at Trump Tower to potential lenders as well as to tax officials.
In 2011 and 2012, around the time that Donald Trump was believed to first eye a presidential run, the Trump Organization was trying to borrow money on the premise that the number of tenants in Trump Tower was considerably higher than the number of tenants they reported to New York City property tax officials.
They told lenders the building had an occupancy rate of 99% while also reporting to tax authorities that it was only 83% occupied, in what appeared to be a way of hoping for the best of both worlds – since potential lenders would be interested in a thriving property, while tax officials would be more lenient on a company with vacant spaces.
It’s also enough for a number of financial experts to call this fraud. This is in addition to other apparent discrepancies at other Trump properties in New York. It’s also happening at a time when Trump is battling frantically to keep his taxes hidden. We already know that Donald Trump is a liar and an unethical businessman, but this is likely to hit closer to him than anything to do with impeachment, for the simple reason that he’s afraid of the world seeing him as less wealthy than he is.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making