When Donald Trump wanted to make a good impression — on a lender, a business partner, or a journalist — he sometimes sent them official-looking documents called “Statements of Financial Condition.”
These documents sometimes ran up to 20 pages. They were full of numbers, laying out Trump’s properties, debts and multibillion-dollar net worth.
But, for someone trying to get a true picture of Trump’s net worth, the documents were deeply flawed. Some simply omitted properties that carried big debts. Some assets were overvalued. And some key numbers were wrong.
For instance, Trump’s financial statement for 2011 said he had 55 home lots to sell at his golf course in Southern California. Those lots would sell for $3 million or more, the statement said.
But Trump had only 31 lots zoned and ready for sale at the course, according to city records. He claimed credit for 24 lots — and at least $72 million in future revenue — he didn’t have.
He also claimed his Virginia vineyard had 2,000 acres, when it really has about 1,200. He said Trump Tower has 68 stories. It has 58.
Now, investigators on Capitol Hill and in New York are homing in on these unusual documents in an apparent attempt to determine whether Trump’s familiar habit of bragging about his wealth ever crossed a line into fraud.
The statements are at the center of at least two of the inquiries that continue to follow Trump, unaffected by the end of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation. On Wednesday, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform said it had requested 10 years of these statements from Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA.
During the 2016 campaign, the two biggest corruption stories were 1)Clinton’s lack of compliance with email server management best practices and 2)various collectively damaging Republican snipe hunts about Clinton’s well-run life saving foundation. #1 wouldn’t be one of the top 1,000 scandalous things Donald Trump has done and #2 was not a scandal at all, but here we are.