U.S.

Donald Trump Has Failed to Get Richer While President and Still Refuses to Divest

President Donald Trump has tried, but so far failed, to get richer off the presidency, yet still refuses to divest from his businesses.

Trump’s net worth dropped from $4.5 billion in 2015 to $3.1 billion in two years, causing him to slide 138 spots in The Forbes 400 richest Americans list, the publication reported on Tuesday. Hours after the Forbes analysis on Trump’s unsuccessful attempts to become wealthier while in the White House, The New York Times published a report charging that Trump committed tax fraud to gain at least $413 million from his father’s real estate empire, countering his longtime claim of being a self-made billionaire.

Since becoming president, Donald Trump has held summits at his Mar-a-Lago resort and labeled it the “winter White House,” visited his golf courses and launched a hotel-licensing business catered at his supporters. But his polarizing politics have hurt his operations.

Trump’s product-licensing enterprise, which Forbes valued at $23 million in 2015, has plummeted in worth to $3 million.

“He’s so polarizing that people are afraid to do business with him,” Jeff Lotman, who is in charge of the Global Icons licensing company, told Forbes. “He has significantly tarnished the brand.”

10_03_18_TrumpRich Business mogul Donald Trump holds documents certifying his net worth is 8.7 billion dollars as he announces his candidacy for the U.S. presidency at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015, in New York City. Trump has failed to get richer while president, according to a Forbes analysis. Christopher Gregory/Getty Images

According to Forbes, Trump’s golf courses saw a revenue drop of about 9 percent in 2017.

Trump Tower condominium prices have been falling since Trump announced he would run for office in 2015 and sit at about 33 percent below their highest values. Prices at Trump Parc East and Trump Park Avenue in New York City dropped 23 percent and 19 percent, respectively. The value of Trump’s residential units in New York and Chicago dipped about $50 million, according to Forbes, which interviewed close to 200 colleagues and partners of Trump, as well as industry analysts.

The president’s hotel empire lost an estimated $30 million, in part after Trump-branded hotels in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood, Panama and Toronto dropped his name from the buildings.

Besides polarizing politics, Trump’s wealth decline is owed to Trump lying about the size of his assets such as his penthouse, and a more than $100 million loss in commercial property values as e-commerce dominates.

As president, Trump theoretically is able to set his businesses up for more success, such as signing tax reform into law last year that benefits his company. While some of his properties, including Mar-a-Lago and Trump International Hotel, have seen more revenue as a result of his position, he has overall taken a significant loss.

“In not divesting, he set himself up so that his actions, and those of people who engage with his businesses, present perpetual conflicts of interest—or the appearance of them,” the Forbes analysis states. “Meanwhile, if he’d liquidated, paid capital gains tax on his entire fortune and created a blind trust to invest it all in the booming stock market, Trump would be $500 million richer than he is today—without the headaches.”

The Times’ story stated that Trump earned much of the $413 million by helping his parents dodge taxes by setting up a sham corporation to disguise the millions as gifts from his parents, helping his father take improper tax deductions, and undervaluing his parents’ real estate assets on tax returns to reduce the amount owed.

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