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“The Art Of The Hustle”: Donald Trump’s ‘Charity’ Is A Money-Making Scam

No wonder Donald Trump calls himself an ardent philanthropist.

He has likely made millions off it.

He is not just some cheap miser who avoids digging into his pocket for charity, as The Smoking Gun and The Washington Post have described him.

He does not simply avoid giving.

He gets.

Maybe his book should have been called The Art of the Hustle.

His biggest score appears to have come in 2006, and if he ever releases his tax return for that year, we will learn if he is a felon or just a liar.

Either way, the self-proclaimed “ardent philanthropist” seems to give precious little money to charity while receiving millions in deductions by donating land he valued at somewhere between 13 and 50 times what he paid for it.

Back in the 1990s, Trump paid $2 million for two parcels of land totaling 436 acres north of New York City with the hope of building a pair of golf courses.

He initially sought to overcome various environmental obstacles and permitting hurdles by applying his self-described mastery of deal making. He placed a phone call to the then supervisor of the Westchester County village of Yorktown, Linda Cooper.

“Linda, just let me build the golf course—I’m rich, you’ll like it,’” Trump said, by her recollection.

Cooper would tell the press that Trump “just didn’t want to go through the rules.”

She offered the same description of Trump that others would later offer during his present presidential campaign.

“He’s like the bully on the playground,” Cooper told the Journal News. “Whether you are a big person or a little person, you have to follow the same rules. If he chooses to stop the process, so be it.”

The rules remained the rules, and Trump did indeed choose to stop the process in 2002.

“You have done a terrible disservice to your constituents who have sadly lost out on a tremendous opportunity,” Trump said in a letter to Cooper.

Trump suggested to reporters that he had been making a sacrifice to begin with.

“My problem is that I can make much more money with housing than I can with a golf course,” he said.

He announced, “I have put a ‘For Sale’ sign out,” and said it was sure to attract “every developer in Westchester.”

He had yet to sell the land four years later, when he donated it to New York State for a park.

“You know me,” he said. “I never throw up my hands. I fight back. I could have sold the property to a developer, because it’s zoned for houses. Instead, I’m giving it to the state, which is the best thing to do.”

The park would of course be named after himself. The gift came with a further condition.

“The name will be prominently displayed at least at each entrance to the park,” read a letter from his attorney to the state.

A press conference was held at the new Donald J. Trump State Park. Trump was joined by his wife, Melania, and two of his children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka.

“This is so beautiful, am I allowed to change my mind?” he joked to his wife.

He said his children had suggested donation as a way “to do something spectacular.”

“I have always loved the city and state of New York and this is my way of trying to give something back,” Trump said, as then-Gov. George Pataki stood beside him, beaming approvingly. “I hope that these 436 acres of property will turn into one of the most beautiful parks anywhere in the world.”

A reporter asked the value of the land in question.

“People have told me about $100 million,” Trump said.

The press took that to mean the donation was worth $100 million, an impression Trump made no effort to dispel.

A town planning official would later suggest that the land was more likely worth in the vicinity of $15 million.

The question now is whether Trump claimed the $100 million valuation as a charitable deduction in his income tax return for 2006. That would seem to constitute tax fraud, a felony.

But a list of Trump’s supposed charitable donations compiled by his campaign and given to the Associated Press is topped by this entry:

“LAND DONATED TO NYS OFFICE OF PARKS—YORKTOWN, NY—436 ACRES…$26,100,000”

That appraisal would be more in keeping with reality and on the honest side of outright fraud if he used it in his tax return. He would not be a felon after all, just a liar who exaggerated the value of the land by some $73,900,000.

He has said, “I fight like hell not to pay a lot of tax,” so he almost certainly sought a big-time tax break from the donation.

Even the much smaller deduction resulting from the $26.1 million valuation would likely still be worth millions more than the $2 million he paid for the land.

Talk about ardent philanthropy!

Trump also remains that rare soul who made money off the 9/11 attacks. He gave little if any of his own money in the aftermath when the whole world was offering to help, but he accepted $150,000 to offset supposed business losses at his building several blocks from Ground Zero.

By contrast, Rosie O’Donnell gave $1 million the day after the attacks. Trump has called her a fat pig.

On Saturday, Trump seemed to reduce his 9/11 net profit by presenting the September 11 Memorial with a check for $100,000 while making his first visit there.

But The Washington Post reported that the check was actually drawn on the Trump Foundation. And Trump does not seem to have given anything to the foundation that bears his name since 2008. The funds handed out in his name have actually come from such various sources as a World Wrestling Federation, a Queens carpet wholesaler, and a prominent ticket scalper known as The Ticket Man.

On Monday, a spokesman for the September 11 Memorial was unable to confirm that Trump’s check had indeed come from the foundation rather than The Donald himself. Should the money prove to have come out of his pocket, he will remain $50,000 ahead from 9/11.

Meanwhile, Donald J. Trump State Park was closed in 2010 as a result of budget cuts. Signs prominently bearing his name are still posted not only at the entrances, as required by the agreement, but on nearby parkway exits.

Only his 2006 tax return will show if Trump is a felon or a liar.

Only that return will document if he was not a big-time giver but a big-time getter.

Only all his tax returns—which the IRS says he has no reason not to release despite his talk about audits —will tell the full story of The Art of the Hustle.

 

By: Michael Daly, The Daily Beast, April 11, 2016

April 13, 2016 Posted by | Charitable Donations, Donald Trump, Tax Returns | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Why Is Trump Still Talking?”: The Mad Men Throwback, Treating Women As Nothing More Than A Distraction

When the Republican presidential debate began Tuesday evening in Milwaukee, I was still in my car heading home, so I listened to the first part on satellite radio.

As Richard Nixon learned after his 1960 televised debate with Jack Kennedy, listening to a debate without the distraction of participants’ facial expressions changes how we hear them. We tend to focus more on substance. For Nixon, this was a good thing. For Donald Trump, not so much.

A quick aside for political junkies: In 2006, Meet the Press host Tim Russert walked into the show’s greenroom and told my husband and me why Nixon had become such a wet mop of a mess in that same studio during that debate. Bobby Kennedy, knowing of Nixon’s propensity for sweating, arrived early to the studio to turn up the thermostat. Nixon didn’t stand a chance. Remember that story the next time someone goes on and on about how debates were always such an honorable tradition before this circus came to town.

Driving along the streets of Cleveland, I heard Trump without seeing the usual pouty expressions and ubiquitous shrugging of his shoulders. Whenever he spouted in his meandering know-it-all voice, I thought, “Whom does he remind me of?”

I didn’t have the answer until after I walked through the door and made it to the TV in time to catch Trump complaining about Carly Fiorina. She had interjected her opinion about Ronald Reagan and Reykjavik before Rand Paul had finished talking. Her repeated behavior of stepping on the comments of others was no different from that of her male colleagues on the stage. Trump singled her out anyway.

“Why does she keep interrupting everybody?” he said, waving his left arm in her direction. “Boy, terrible.”

A smattering of laughter and applause preceded loud booing from the audience, and for a fleeting moment, I identified with Fiorina. That feeling quickly passed, but I had finally figured out whom — or, more accurately, what — Trump represents to a lot of his fans. He’s that other Donald, albeit a less classy and certainly less sophisticated version of him. He’s the Mad Men throwback, a Donald Draper wannabe.

Even if you’ve never seen an episode of the AMC show, if you are over 50 or wish we still lived in the ’50s, you know the type I mean. He’s the guy who thinks women are either a prop or a problem, and he is incapable of hiding his contempt for women who think otherwise.

His comments about Rosie O’Donnell in the first debate were such an egregious example of misogyny that it was easy for some to dismiss him as a dinosaur. His public display of disgust for fellow presidential candidate Fiorina, however, revealed a more sinister side. Not only does he think it’s ridiculous that he has to compete with this, this woman but also he assumes plenty of others agree with him.

If this were Trump in a vacuum, we could dismiss him as the summer replacement for the prime-time show returning this fall. But he continues to poll as one of the top two presidential candidates for Republican voters, which means a lot of people are, at the very least, getting a kick out of him. They either share or don’t care about Trump’s attitudes toward women.

This doesn’t surprise a lot of women in my generation, who long ago lost count of how many times we’ve been told to pipe down. Certainly, it’s no news to my daughters’ generation, either. The stories they tell.

Our youngest daughter is weeks away from giving birth. She has started sharing with me comments from male strangers and men she barely knows. They point to her belly and let her know she’s pregnant and feel free to tell her she should be napping, not working at her job. They feel free to ask her whether she’s going to nurse, too, as if her pregnancy has given them permission to discuss her breasts.

These men are old enough to know better and way too young to claim an elderly generation’s habits. This is all part and parcel of the same thing. They are Trump, multiplied, and to them, he is a godsend. He’s rich and powerful, and he’s made it popular again to say it out loud — to treat women as nothing more than a distraction and an invitation to misbehave. In that way, we women are no different to Trump from the 11 million Mexicans he wants to march right out of here.

As we lean in to the 2016 campaign, I leave you with this, from Don Draper: “Get out of here and move forward. This never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened.”

From your lips, mad man.

 

By: Connie Schultz, a Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist; The National Memo, November 12, 2015

November 13, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Primary Debates, War On Women | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“People, Places And Things”: Donald Trump Sued Everyone But His Hairdresser

Future United States President Donald Trump sued Univision last week, after the Spanish-language network said it would not be airing Trump’s Miss USA and Miss Universe beauty pageants due to his claim that illegal immigrants are “rapists.”

Trump, who says Univision is suppressing his freedom of speech, is seeking $500 million in damages. Meanwhile, Univision is dismissing the complaint as “factually false and legally ridiculous.”

It’s a familiar predicament for Trump.

Over the past few decades, the self-proclaimed “very rich” businessman has sued people, businesses and entire cities and countries. He’s sued a newspaper, his ex wife, a quaint business card store in Georgia and a Native American tribe. He’s cried breach of contract, government favoritism, fraud and libel.

Trump sues when he is made to feel small, insufficiently wealthy, threatened or mocked. He sues for sport, he sues to regain a sense of control and he sues to make a point. He sues as a means of saying “you’re fired” to those he does not employ.

But he sues, most of all, to make headlines and to reinforce the notion that he is powerful. Below, I picked some of the highlights, through a review of news coverage of filed and threatened lawsuits.

If you haven’t yet been sued by Trump, don’t worry, the odds suggest your day might yet come. I expect to be sued for this article.

People Donald Trump Has Sued

In 1988, Trump sued Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune creator Merv Griffin for $250 million for fraud and interference with his contract negotiations with Resorts International Inc., an Atlantic City casino company. Trump ultimately sold his controlling interest in the company to Griffin, who died in 2007.

Trump sued his ex-wife, Ivana Trump, for $25 million in 1992–because she talked too much. Trump accused Trump of fraud and “willful, deliberate and surreptitious disclosure” of details relating to his finances, despite having signed an agreement that she wouldn’t talk publicly about their relationship.

In 1993, Trump and his then-wife, Marla Maples, sued Chuck Jones, Maples’ former publicist, for $35 million. They charged Jones with extortion, theft, fraud and harassment–after Jones had sued them, as well as Trump’s security staff and Maples’ mother. “The only stalking that I’m aware of was when Marla Maples was stalking somebody else’s husband,” Jones said of the counter-suit at the time.

In 2003, Trump’s son, Donald Junior, was assaulted at the Comedy Cellar in the West Village. Trump responded by threatening to sue the men charged with the crime, Anthony Pozzolano and Joseph Derrico, from Brooklyn and Staten Island, respectively. “Donald is soft spoken and wouldn’t hurt a fly,” Trump said of his son, according to the Mail on Sunday.

In 2006, Trump threatened to sue Rosie O’Donnell, then a co-host on The View, after she said he was bankrupt. Trump retaliated in an interview with The Insider, by labeling O’Donnell “disgusting, both inside and out.” He told People “Rosie will rue the words she said. I’ll most likely sue her for making those false statements—and it’ll be fun. Rosie’s a loser. A real loser. I look forward to taking lots of money from my nice fat little Rosie.”  He never sued, and ultimately, they seemed to make peace. In 2012, after O’Donnell suffered a heart attack, Trump Tweeted to tell her to “get better fast. I’m starting to miss you!” She replied, “well thank you donald—i must admit ur post was a bit of a shock … r u trying to kill me ? xx”

In 2011, rapper Mac Miller released a song called “Donald Trump,” which included the lyrics, “Take over the world when I’m on my Donald Trump shit; Look at all this money, ain’t that some shit?” Trump Tweeted at Miller to threaten a lawsuit: “Now I’m going to teach you a big boy lesson about lawsuits and finance.” Miller responded by calling Trump an “ungrateful dog!” before apologizing and asking him to be friends.

That same year, Trump threatened to sue MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell for suggesting he was worth less than $1 billion. Trump Tweeted that he was actually worth “substantially more than 7 billion dollars” with “very low debt, great assets.”

In 2012, Trump sued Miss USA contestant Sheena Monnin after she claimed in a Facebook post that the pageant was “rigged,” because the five finalists were chosen before the pageant took place. Trump called her “a beautiful young woman who had sour grapes because she wasn’t a top-15 finalist,” according to The Atlantic. A court ordered Monnin to pay Trump $5 million in damages.

In 2013, after Trump said he would donate $5 million to charity if President Obama would release all of his personal documents to the public, Bill Maher appeared on The Tonight Show and joked that he would give Trump $5 million if he could prove that his father was not an orangutan. Trump sent Maher a copy of his birth certificate. When Maher didn’t pay up, Trump sued him for the $5 million. He eventually dropped it.

The same year, Trump threatened legal action against Angelo Carusone, who had organized a petition to force Macy’s to stop selling Trump-branded products. Trump didn’t sue. Macy’s cut ties with Trump this week.

News Outlets Donald Trump Has Sued

In 1984, Trump sued The Chicago Tribune for $500 million after the publication’s architecture critic, Paul Gapp, penned an item suggesting Chicago’s Sears Tower, then the world’s tallest building, would remain as such, despite Trump’s plan to build a taller structure in downtown Manhattan. Trump claimed the story “virtually torpedoed” his dreams, according to The Associated Press, by depicting his would-be tower as “an atrocious, ugly monstrosity” even though, Trump said, he hadn’t even yet hired an architect or drawn a plan.

Trump threatened to sue ABC in 2005, after he learned the network was planning to produce a 2 hour biopic about him and his family. Trump said he would “definitely sue” if the film was “inaccurate,” according to The Washington Post, but “as long as it’s accurate, I won’t be suing them.” The biopic never happened, and he never took legal action.

In 2006, Trump sued New York Times reporter Timothy L. O’Brien, author of “A TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald” as well as the book’s publisher, Warner Books, for saying Trump is worth $150 million to $250 million when Trump claimed, at the time, he was worth $2.7 billion. Trump said the error was “egregiously false,” according to Agence France Presse.

In 2009, the suit was dismissed. Trump now claims he’s worth “$8,737,540,000.”

Places Donald Trump Has Sued

In 1989, Trump threatened to sue Palm Beach County if it couldn’t figure out a way to muffle the loud noises coming from Palm Beach International Airport.

Trump sued New York State in 1995, when a video game, Quickdraw, based off the casino game Keno, was introduced in New York restaurants and bars. The game presented a rival to Trump’s Atlantic City casinos where Keno was played, but he claimed he was really just worried that the game’s presence in New York would bring “tremendous amounts of crime” and “destroy businesses in New York,” according to CNN, because gambling addiction would render residents unable to pay their rent.

In 1997, Trump sued the state of New Jersey. At the time, Trump wanted to prevent Las Vegas casino magnate Steve Wynn from encroaching on his Atlantic City territory with the construction of a $330 million tunnel leading to Wynn’s very own resort. Trump filed suit against the state, claiming it was illegal for New Jersey to aid Wynn’s tunnel project in any way with money it collected from casinos. The Star-Ledger reported Trump claimed that if the state used casino funds to support the tunnel, it would be”taking money from widows and orphans” the elderly, and people with disabilities.

In 2002, Trump sued New York City for $500 million, claiming that a tax assessor scandal had forced him to sell apartment in his 72-story Trump World Tower near the United Nations for below market prices.

Trump sued the town of Palm Beach, Florida in 2006 for $10 million after he was cited for violating zoning codes by flying a too-big (for non-patriots) American flag over his club, Mar-a-Lago. The lawsuit claimed “a smaller flag and pole on Mar-a-Lago’s property would be lost given its massive size, look silly instead of make a statement, and most importantly would fail to appropriately express the magnitude of Donald J. Trump’s and the Club’s members’ patriotism,” according to The Associated Press. Trump promised any damages awarded to him would be donated to Iraq war veterans. In 2007, Trump and the town settled. The Tampa Bay Times reported the town dropped the fines, and Trump donated $100,000 “to various charities for veterans of the war in Iraq, the American flag or veterans’ hospitals.”

In 2011, Trump sued Scotland. Trump claimed the government had assured him a planned offshore wind farm would never actually be constructed, and so he built a golf course and made plans for a neighboring hotel. When the wind farm was built, Trump sued the government. He ultimately lost.

Businesses Donald Trump Has Sued

Trump purchased Eastern Airlines’ shuttle service in 1988 for $365 million and planned to relaunch it as “Trump Shuttle.” But a problem arose—a different company, Trading and Finance Corp. Ltd., was already using the name. In 1989, Trump sued for the rights to the name.

In 2008, Trump sued Crescent Heights Diamond, a real estate developer, because, Trump said, they had licensed his name for a 70-story building in Ramat Gan., and then cut him out of the profits.

In 2011, Trump sued H. Pixel International Trade Ltd., an Israeli company he discovered was using his name and likeness on vodka bottles without his consent. Trump has over 700 trademarks and as of 2011, his name was commercially protected in 80 countries.

In 2014, Trump sued Trump Entertainment Resorts, which he holds a 10 percent stake in, to remove his name from the Trump Taj Mahal and Trump Plaza casinos in Atlantic City, which he said did not live up to his standard of quality.

Misc.

In 2003, Trump announced that he planned to sue the Eastern Pequots, a Native American tribe of less than 1,000 from southeastern Connecticut. Trump claimed he had spent close to $10 million helping to promote the tribe’s brand in exchange for the right to negotiate the tribe’s casino agreements. Ultimately, the tribe selected a different developer to handle their deal, which was the source of Trump’s ire.

 

By: Olivia Nuzzi, The Daily Beast, July 6, 2015

July 10, 2015 Posted by | Businesses, Donald Trump, Lawsuits | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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