Forbes examined former President Donald Trump’s campaign finance reports and determined that he had significantly less income in his final year in office than he claimed.
According to the documents, the self-proclaimed millionaire had only $93 million in cash at the end of the year. They were disclosed as part of New York Attorney General Letitia James’ civil investigation into the Trump Organization.
It’s a far cry from his assertion in 2015 that he had $793 million in the bank and $302 in “liquid assets.” Trump’s true fortune was impossible to determine until recently because he routinely deceived the press about it. He’s also lied about how much his father helped him with his cash and business interests.
Trump’s financial disclosure statement, which he was required to publish as part of his presidential campaign, stated that the amount was between $78 million and $232 million in mid-2015.
“Because I sell stuff,” Trump said in 2015, citing $30 million from the sale of the Miss Universe pageant. “‘Here’s your cash number here — or market value: 793.”
He then scribbled the figure on a piece of paper.
According to recent personal balance sheets received by James’ office: $114 million in 2016, $76 million in 2018, $87 million in 2019, and $93 million in 2020, his final year in office.
And that’s assuming Trump’s figures aren’t skewed. According to a recent news release, most of James’ case against Trump is based on charges that the valuations in his personal statements were frequently wrong or misleading.
The pandemic has been an additional drain on Trump’s bank account while the legal struggle continues. His brick-and-mortar properties are faltering, his Washington, D.C. hotel is losing money, and his long-losing golf clubs in Scotland and Ireland are still losing money.
Trump, who had an estimated $738 million in debt due over the next three years as of October, wouldn’t have much of a safety net with less than $100 million in cash.
However, his rumored arrangement to sell the hotel may be able to stem some of the bleedings. More crucially, he most likely received a windfall last year when Vornado Realty Trust—which owns 70% of two skyscrapers alongside Trump, who owns the remaining 30%—refinanced one of the buildings, yielding $616 million to investors.
According to Forbes, if Trump received his 30% cut, the former president’s cash pile should now be over $280 million, roughly treble what it was in 2020, owing to Vornado’s timely refinance.
Unfortunately for Trump, James’ office has seen the same alliance. On Tuesday, she accused Trump of inflating his cash estimate on his balance sheets by including money in the partnership—which Vornado controls and has “sole discretion” over whether to disburse funds to Trump—as cash he already possesses.
It’s still unclear whether James’ complaints, which include more serious allegations of misrepresentation, will hold up. Meanwhile, Trump is hard at work raising money in a variety of ways. His Trump Media & Technology Group revealed last month that it had raised an extra $1 billion in funding from investors for a new social media venture.
Even though Trump isn’t running for office right now, his campaign continues to raise money, with $82 million raised in the first half of last year. Donald Trump does not appear to have contributed a single dime from his personal fortune to the campaign, as he did in 2020.