The Jury Talks Back

10/16/2019

Evidence of Trump Organization Tax Fraud Emerges — What About that IRS Whistleblower Again?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 7:54 am

Pro Publica:

Documents obtained by ProPublica show stark differences in how Donald Trump’s businesses reported some expenses, profits and occupancy figures for two Manhattan buildings, giving a lender different figures than they provided to New York City tax authorities. The discrepancies made the buildings appear more profitable to the lender — and less profitable to the officials who set the buildings’ property tax.

For instance, Trump told the lender that he took in twice as much rent from one building as he reported to tax authorities during the same year, 2017. He also gave conflicting occupancy figures for one of his signature skyscrapers, located at 40 Wall Street.

. . . .

A dozen real estate professionals told ProPublica they saw no clear explanation for multiple inconsistencies in the documents. The discrepancies are “versions of fraud,” said Nancy Wallace, a professor of finance and real estate at the Haas School of Business at the University of California-Berkeley. “This kind of stuff is not OK.”

. . . .

There can be legitimate reasons for numbers to diverge between tax and loan documents, the experts noted, but some of the gaps seemed to have no reasonable justification. “It really feels like there’s two sets of books — it feels like a set of books for the tax guy and a set for the lender,” said Kevin Riordan, a financing expert and real estate professor at Montclair State University who reviewed the records. “It’s hard to argue numbers. That’s black and white.”

This is, of course, what Trump provably did in the 1990s, as the New York Times revealed in detail about a year ago. He got away with it for years, as rich people often do.

I’m suspicious of the language in the Pro Publica piece in the second paragraph of the quoted passage above: “Trump told the lender.” I see no other evidence in the article that Trump had direct involvement in the apparent shenanigans. He is President, after all, and in that capacity has his hands pretty full, what with the constant tweeting and promulgating policies that lead to the release of terrorists. One wonders where he would find the time to mislead tax authorities. He probably outsources that to his family now.

One thing Trump might exercise personal control over, however, is interfering with any audits of his tax returns. Recall the letter Richard Neal sent Mnuchin about allegations of efforts to influence the mandatory IRS audit of Trump’s tax returns. In the letter, Neal described “credible allegations” from a whistleblower of “evidence of possible misconduct” regarding “inappropriate efforts to influence” the mandatory IRS audit of the President and Vice President.

Neal to Mnuchin

This was part of the predicate for the House Ways and Means Committee to demand Trump’s tax returns — which Congress may do under a 1924 law that I discussed here in April.

The Pro Publica piece lends weight to the notion that the Trump Organization has something to fear from sunlight, and as prosecutors get closer to getting their mitts on Trump’s financials in New York, more may be coming to light. Indeed, if I were a betting man, I’d bet on it.

1 Comment »

  1. “This is, of course, what Trump provably did in the 1990s, as the New York Times revealed in detail about a year ago.”

    No, the only thing that article proved is that the NYT reporters are incapable of analyzing a tax return and were too arrogant or stupid to have someone who can do it for them. Substantially ALL of the accusations in the Oct 2018 NYT article are provably falsified by the very documents the NYT posted to “prove” them. I can provide you all the information one should need to verify that him or herself. As to why the NYT reporters got Pulitzers for it instead of banished from the entire news reporting profession, your guess is as good as mine.

    Propublica has yet to release copies of the source documents for their accusations. Until they do, I would very much advise everyone to be skeptical that those documents prove Propublica’s accusations.

    Comment by Thomas McLain — 10/16/2019 @ 2:00 pm

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