By Steven R. Maher
Recently, the InCity Times website, incitytimesworcester.org, published a book review by me – Trump and Me, written by longtime New Yorker magazine writer Mark Singer. The book had a number of facts about Trump that highlights the need for Democrats to pressure candidate Donald Trump to release his tax returns.
Democrats should put aside the controversies over Trump University and Trump’s bellicose rhetoric about Muslims, Mexicans and Hillary Clinton.
The Democrats need to focus, like a laser beam, on pressuring Trump to release his tax returns.
Not technically bankrupt
Trump has denied ever going bankrupt. Technically speaking, that’s true. Trump set up individual corporate entities for each separate property, particularly his Atlantic City casinos. In the event of an economic downturn, Trump was able to throw some of these corporations under the bus, putting them into bankruptcy without involving himself legally as an individual. There is nothing illegal or insidious about such behavior. The very purpose of corporate entities is to shield stockholders from responsibility for corporate debts and liabilities.
In 1996 Trump was paid by Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts a $1 million salary, another $1 million for miscellaneous “services,” and a bonus of $5 million. Trump will have to list every company he receives income from on his tax returns.
Trump’s tax returns are quite likely verified by “Schedules,” in which he lists the details of his claimed income and deductions. On Form D Trump will list in schedules specific capital gains transactions on which he has made or lost money. These will include stock and real estate sales.
Other sections of Trump’s tax returns will show his charitable donations and may turn up obscure real estate tax credits or deductions that Trump, one of America’s savviest property investors, likely took advantage of. It will also show alimony payments, if any.
$10 billion net worth
Trump claimed in federal filings he had a net worth of $10 billion. Recently InCity Times published a book review written by me of “Vendetta: Bobby Kennedy versus Jimmy Hoffa” by James Neff. In that book, Neff detailed how accountant Carmine S. Bellino was able to use tax returns to make rough calculations of the filer’s net worth. Some of Trump’s critics assert Trump’s $10 billion calculation overstates Trump’s true net worth. Real estate valuation is a flexible art. Trump’s cash flows may not match up to his claimed net worth.
Donald Trump tax returns are probably prepared by the best tax lawyers and CPAs in America. Whether these will stand up to public scrutiny or cause Trump severe political embarrassment remains to be seen.
But the big issue is whether Trump will release these returns prior to the November 2016 election.