Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former personal secretary, testified in March that Trump inflated property values in order to get financing, and a comparison of his tax returns and loan records by ProPublica shows how.
In documents provided to the lender for two of the buildings, Ladder Capital, the rent rolls were inflated to double what was reported in Trump’s 2017 tax returns. At one building, occupancy figures were reported that were well above what was given to tax officials during the same period.
The Trump Organization told Ladder that 40 Wall Street was 58.9 percent leased in 2012, and then was above 95 percent just a few years later. But according to tax records, the Trump Organization reported to city tax officials that the building was 81 percent rented in 2013.
After the occupancy rates and rent rolls were inflated, 40 Wall Street was refinanced in 2016 for $180 million — which at the time was the Trump Organization’s largest debt.
“It really feels like there’s two sets of books — it feels like a set of books for the tax guy and a set for the lender,” said Kevin Riordan, a financing expert and real estate professor at Montclair State University who reviewed the records.
Jack Weisselberg is a loan originator at Ladder Capital, the firm that sold the debt on the properties as part of mortgage-backed securities, and is the son of the Trump Organization’s longtime CFO, Allen Weisselberg. [ProPublica] — Georgia Kromrei