Last week the New York Attorney General announced that she was hitting Donald Trump with millions of dollars in fines over his abuse of the Trump Foundation nonprofit charity. This included $2.8 million in restitution and another $5.6 million in penalties. At the time, Palmer Report pointed out that because Trump runs a debt-based cash-poor business model, he might have to sell off assets just to pay the fines – particularly if they kept piling up. It turns out we may or may not have been onto something.
Today it’s being reported that Donald Trump sold one of his New York City condos back on March 8th. Forbes is hitting on two key suspicious points. First, the buyer appears to have used a series of shell corporations to try to hide his or her real identity. Second, the buyer appears to have paid Trump far more than market value. These are both matters of concern. But what caught our eye is the specific dollar amount: $2.9 million. Sound familiar?
That’s right. Just one week before it was announced that Donald Trump was getting hit with a $2.8 million fine, he sold off a property for $2.9 million, which was conveniently just enough to cover the cost of the fine. Is this merely an interesting coincidence, or is Trump indeed selling off assets in order to get enough cash to pay his fines?
Trump was also hit with the separate $5.6 million fine, in addition to the $2.8 million fine. But he sold the property before the fines were publicly announced. It’s possible he knew the $2.8 million restitution charge was coming, and he wanted to generate enough cash to cover it, but he didn’t know the extra $5.6 million charge was coming.
Of course Donald Trump will likely try to fight these fines in court. But if the courts rule against him, and he doesn’t have the cash on hand to pay the fines, New York State could decide to seize some of his assets in order to make up for it. So yeah, Trump could be trying to get out ahead of this. Or it could simply be a coincidence that he found some shady buyer to pay him an overinflated $2.9 million, just as he was finding himself on the hook for $2.8 million.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report