In the rough: Trump’s golf clubs and resorts have lost $315M

Trump National Doral Miami has accounted for more than half those losses, Times investigation finds

National /
Sep.September 28, 2020 06:15 PM
Donald Trump and the Trump National Doral golf course (Getty, Trump Hotels)

Donald Trump and the Trump National Doral golf course (Getty, Trump Hotels)

President Trump’s golf club and resort properties have long been in the financial rough.

Since 2000, Trump has reported combined losses of more than $315 million at his golf courses in the U.S. and in Europe, with nearly half from his largest golf property, Trump National Doral Miami, according to a New York Times investigation into the president’s tax returns.

From 2012 — when then-real estate mogul Trump bought the Doral for $150 million — to 2018, the property has lost $162 million in total, according to the report. Trump has also plowed $213 million into the resort, and a $125 million loan from Deutsche Bank comes due in three years. Doral has asked Deutsche for a delay on its loan payments, according to the Times.

While Trump could use the loss from the Doral property to offset future tax payments, which could also complicate a refinancing, according to the report.

It hasn’t been all sandtraps and bogeys for Doral. After Trump announced he was running for president in June 2015, revenue more than doubled to $13 million through that August compared to the same period the year before, according to the report.

Doral also collected a total of at least $7 million in 2015 and 2016 from Bank of America for an event, and at least $1.2 million in 2017 and 2018 from a trade association representing food retailers and wholesalers. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also paid Doral more than $406,000 in 2018.

The Times found that $119 million of $130 million in Trump’s personal and corporate charitable contributions reported to the Internal Revenue Service come from four conservation-easement deductions. To qualify for the tax deduction, Trump agreed not to develop a portion of his property. It is a deduction he has received at Trump National Golf in Los Angeles, which is part of the New York attorney general’s investigation into whether appraisals on Trump properties are inflated, which would make tax deductions he receives also inflated.

Meanwhile, Trump’s three golf properties in Europe — two in Scotland and one in Ireland — have reported a combined $63.6 million in losses, the Times reported.

Meanwhile, Mar-a-Lago Club in South Florida — also dubbed Trump’s “Southern White House” — has remained profitable over the years. A surge of new members gave him an additional $5 million a year from the business since 2015.

As a business, Mar-a-Lago has also been the source of millions of dollars in expenses deducted from taxable income. The Times lists $109,000 for linens and silver and $197,829 for landscaping in 2017 as examples. Also deducted as a business expense was the $210,000 paid to a Florida photographer over the years for shooting numerous events at the club, including a 2016 New Year’s Eve party Trump hosted.

Covid-19 prompted Trump’s golf properties to lay off hundreds of workers — including at Mar-a-Lago and Doral — as was the case at scores of other golf clubs and resorts around the country. [NYT] — Wade Tyler Millward


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