Newly uncovered documents reveal some of the reasons why the President and his legal team may be fighting so hard to keep his tax records under wraps.
Documents first uncovered by ProPublica indicate that there are several discrepancies that could indicate that Trump kept two different ‘sets of books’ for his real estate holdings, and may even indicate financial fraud.
The documents that ProPublica got ahold of include records for four of Trump’s real estate holdings. Trump International Hotel and Tower, Trump Tower, 40 Wall Street, and 1290 Avenue of the Americas.
These are some of Trump’s most “important” holdings, so it’s no surprise that he’s taking great pains to shield the information from the public.
These documents reveal some troubling inconsistencies within his reporting methods.
One of the filings, made in 2017 after he took office, indicate that Trump told a lender that he was receiving ‘X’ amount of rent each month from a building. Unfortunately, he told tax authorities that he was receiving ‘Y’ amount, an amount that was half what the lender thought.
Which is actually correct? Without combing through all of Trump’s financial records, it’s impossible to say. But a professor of finance and real estate at the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley told media outlets that there was no good reason for inconsistencies like this on tax documents.
She added that it looked like “versions of fraud”. Which, yes – if you tell a bank one thing to secure a loan, and tell the IRS something different to pay fewer taxes, that is considered financial fraud.
At the beginning of the month, a judge in New York ordered Trump to turn over eight years of his tax returns to New York prosecutors who are trying to investigate whether he has violated state law and fabricated business records.
And just days after this, the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ordered those same tax documents – 8 years worth – to be given to the House Oversight Committee.
Trump’s legal team is doing its best to block these, and swear they will take it all the way to the Supreme Court if they have to… but what do they have to lose by showing these documents?
Trump has long maintained that he has nothing to hide and hasn’t committed crimes with his bookkeeping, but still refuses to reveal proof.