18 Sep 2016

Trump Built His Empire on Political Connections

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Look at the expression on Trump’s face!

I rarely agree with the New York Times, but this story has Trump’s record as businessman accurately pegged.

The way Donald J. Trump tells it, his first solo project as a real estate developer, the conversion of a faded railroad hotel on 42nd Street into the sleek, 30-story Grand Hyatt, was a triumph from the very beginning.

The hotel, Mr. Trump bragged in “Trump: The Art of the Deal,” his 1987 best seller, “was a hit from the first day. Gross operating profits now exceed $30 million a year.”

But that book, and numerous interviews over the years, make little mention of a crucial factor in getting the hotel built: an extraordinary 40-year tax break that has cost New York City $360 million to date in forgiven, or uncollected, taxes, with four years still to run, on a property that cost only $120 million to build in 1980.

The project set the pattern for Mr. Trump’s New York career: He used his father’s, and, later, his own, extensive political connections, and relied on a huge amount of assistance from the government and taxpayers in the form of tax breaks, grants and incentives to benefit the 15 buildings at the core of his Manhattan real estate empire.

Since then, Mr. Trump has reaped at least $885 million in tax breaks, grants and other subsidies for luxury apartments, hotels and office buildings in New York, according to city tax, housing and finance records. The subsidies helped him lower his own costs and sell apartments at higher prices because of their reduced taxes.

Mr. Trump, the Republican nominee for president, has made clear over the course of his campaign how proud he is that “as a businessman I want to pay as little tax as possible.”

While it is impossible to assess how much Mr. Trump pays in personal or corporate income taxes, because he has refused to release his tax returns, an examination of his record as a New York developer shows how aggressively he has fought to lower the taxes on his projects.

Mr. Trump successfully sued the administration of Mayor Edward I. Koch after being denied a tax break for Trump Tower, his signature building on Fifth Avenue. Two decades later, in a lawsuit that spanned the administrations of Mayors Rudolph W. Giuliani and Michael R. Bloomberg, he won a similar tax break for Trump World Tower, a building on First Avenue with some of the city’s highest-priced condominiums in 2001.

The tax breaks for those two projects alone totaled $157 million.

The tax break at the 44-story Trump International Hotel and Tower at Columbus Circle came to $15.9 million.

No possible subsidy was left untapped. After the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Mr. Trump lined up a $150,000 grant for one of his buildings near ground zero, taking advantage of a program to help small businesses in the area recover, even though he had acknowledged on the day of the attacks that his building was undamaged.

“Donald Trump is probably worse than any other developer in his relentless pursuit of every single dime of taxpayer subsidies he can get his paws on,” said Alicia Glen, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s deputy mayor for housing and economic development, who first battled Mr. Trump when she worked in Mr. Giuliani’s administration.

Read the whole thing.

4 Feedbacks on "Trump Built His Empire on Political Connections"

Fred Z

Dude, you’re being obsessive.

Of course Trump took advantage of taxpayer subsidies, he’d be an idiot if he did not.

When have you ever turned down money for nothing and your chicks for free?


“I rarely agree with the New York Times, but….”

When something seems contradictory, question your premises.

Your obsessive dislike of Trump is clouding your ability to be critical in your reading, your evaluation of information and sources.

NYT takes a tax breaks that are indeed PROMOTED and turns it into a scandal.

And you can’t sort this out?


Perfect, John and Fred Z. And what can you say about Trump that can not be said about Hillary? Zincagave is afraid because Trump is an unknown quantity, and we don’t know what to expect.
Well, we do know the Clintons – and I think that’s the scariest thing about Hillary.


Doesn’t seem as much as crony capitalism as adversary capitalism since Trump had to sue the city of New York to receive tax breaks he apparently was entitled to– given that he won the lawsuit.

Maybe if we had fewer onerous investment taxes in real estate and development we would have less need for tax breaks. Anyone that has built anything larger than an outhouse understands that the government has it’s greedy hands out during the entire process.


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