August 30, 2016

Tim Kaine to Call out Donald Trump's Finance, Fitness, and Foreign Entanglement Conflicts

Today, in Pennsylvania, Tim Kaine will point out the growing list of unanswered questions about Donald Trump's public record of finance, fitness and foreign business entanglements.

Trump’s companies bear a mountain of debt, but it's unclear how much or to whom all the debt is owed. He is enmeshed in a web of global business dealings but won't publicly state who he’s working with. He claims he currently has about 120 projects across the globe but has never disclosed them. He claims he’s a billionaire who donates millions to charity but refuses to release his tax returns. He claimed he met Putin, then denied that he had. He says his health is extraordinary but provided a preposterous letter that doesn't provide any sense of his fitness for office.

Most of what we know about Trump's public record comes from depositions and lawsuits regarding his deceptive business practices. With ten weeks until Election Day, Trump is still failing to meet basic presidential standards of disclosure – even as he proposes policies that would benefit himself and those he is financially entangled with.

While the public is in the dark about his finances and fitness, they know about Trump's long track record of alleged fraud, making his need to answer these questions all the more urgent.

At minimum, Trump's companies hold $650 million in debt. One of his biggest lenders is a foreign bank, another is a shadow bank that specializes in risky loans. How much and to whom are Trump and his companies truly on the hook?

NYT: Companies directly owned by Trump hold at least $650 million in debt. “...companies he owns have at least $650 million in debt — twice the amount than can be gleaned from public filings he has made as part of his bid for the White House."

NYT: A substantial portion of Trump’s wealth is tied up in three investments that owe an additional $2 billion. “Beyond finding that companies owned by Mr. Trump had debts of at least $650 million, The Times discovered that a substantial portion of his wealth is tied up in three passive partnerships that owe an additional $2 billion to a string of lenders, including those that hold the loan on the Avenue of the Americas building.”

Crain's New York Business: Trump owes over $250 million to Ladder Capital, a shadow bank that specializes in making loans that banks often avoid. “When Donald Trump needs a loan, he usually calls Ladder Capital Finance. Who? Exactly. Ladder Capital, an eight-year-old lender based in Manhattan that specializes in making loans that banks often avoid, has granted $275 million worth of mortgages to Trump in recent years, according to city records. Trump turned to Ladder after major New York banks long ago stopped doing business with him, according to his personal financial statement filed with the Federal Election Commission.”

The extent of Trump's global financial dealings remains unclear. What are the 120 global deals he bragged about in March?

TRUMP:  I pride myself, including outside of the United States. I’m doing almost 120 deals outside of the—which I hope to be able to stop very soon and let my children handle it—but we’re doing many, many deals outside of the United States.

When one of his business partners made an ambiguous claim about pending business deals that could free up “quite a bit of money,” we heard nothing from Trump. Who is that money coming from? What is this project?

Politico: “In a recent interview with Las Vegas journalist Jon Ralston, [Phil] Ruffin hinted that Trump is working on a business deal that will free up “quite a bit of money” he could invest in the campaign, though Ruffin wouldn’t divulge specifics.”

Some of Trump’s business partners remain hidden behind limited liability companies. Who is Trump doing business with?

NYT: “Tracing the ownership of many of Mr. Trump’s buildings can be a complicated task. Sometimes he owns a building and the land underneath it; sometimes, he holds a partial interest or just the commercial portion of a property. And in some cases, the identities of his business partners are obscured behind limited liability companies — raising the prospect of a president with unknown business ties.”

In fact, just two years ago, Trump’s 40 Wall Street building added a new property owner, who receives more than $1 million per year from Trump. Who are they?

NYT: “The people behind 40 Wall Street Holdings are harder to identify. For years, Germany’s Hinneberg family, which made its fortune in the shipping industry, controlled the property through a company called 40 Wall Limited Partnership. In late 2014, their interest in the land was transferred to a new company, 40 Wall Street Holdings. The Times was not able to identify the owner or owners of this company, and the Trump Organization declined to comment.”

​The Trump Organization has also admitted that Trump is responsible for some of his corporate debt but has not disclosed any further details. How much debt is Trump himself liable for?

NYT: “Still, as with all of the properties in which Mr. Trump holds an interest, the value of the buildings as well as the terms and magnitude of their debt could have a major impact on his personal fortune. Mr. Trump, Mr. Weisselberg added, was liable for a “small percentage of the corporate debt” listed on the federal filing but would not elaborate.”

Trump said he would clear up some discrepancies by releasing mortgage documents, which he has not yet done. What is in those documents? Will he release more information about his business-related loans?

TRUMP: “We have mortgages to different banks, I’ll probably release a list of the banks that we have mortgages to.”

As we learned over the weekend, the Trump Organization had a history of housing discrimination in their application process. The deposition for this case is not available. What is in that deposition?

NYT: “An investigation by The New York Times — drawing on decades-old files from the New York City Commission on Human Rights, internal Justice Department records, court documents and interviews with tenants, civil rights activists and prosecutors — uncovered a long history of racial bias at his family’s properties, in New York and beyond.”

Trump has pursued business in Russia for three decades, and for the last decade, he has been praising Vladimir Putin while insulting American leaders, defending Putin’s actions, and taking positions that embolden the Kremlin. While Paul Manafort has left the campaign, Trump has surrounded himself with numerous advisers with ties to Russia. Carter Page, Michael Flynn, Steven Bannon, and Roger Stone have all expressed policies that raise concern. Why is Trump's relationship with Russia so cozy?

Washington Post: Inside Trump’s financial ties to Russia and his unusual flattery of Vladimir Putin. “Since the 1980s, Trump and his family members have made numerous trips to Moscow in search of business opportunities, and they have relied on Russian investors to buy their properties around the world...Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,’ Trump’s son, Donald Jr., told a real estate conference in 2008, according to an account posted on the website of eTurboNews, a trade publication. ‘We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.’”

Politico: When Donald Trump brought Miss Universe to Moscow. “I have always been interested in building in Russia….In 2008, his son Donald Jr. visited Moscow to explore licensing the Trump name to properties there, according to the Russian newspaper Kommersant. The paper also reported that, a few years earlier, Trump had considered aiding the reconstruction of the city’s Moskva and Rossiya hotels.”

Washington Post: Former Mafia-linked figure describes association with Trump.

Donald Trump also “would be the first major-party nominee in 40 years to not release his returns.” Members of his own party (including his new campaign manager) have called on him to follow precedent. And he has previously pledged to release his returns:

TRUMP: "If I run, you’ll see what a great job, because I’ll do a full disclosure of finances. … Maybe I’m going to do the tax returns when Obama does his birth certificate… I’d love to give my tax returns"

TRUMP: "You know, if you're running, at a minimum, probably you're going to have to release your returns.”

TRUMP: Said he would “certainly” release his tax returns, saying he had “no objection” to the idea

Trump continues to not honor his word and spout a litany of debunked excuses that are designed to stall. What is he hiding?

  • Trump may not be worth the $10 billion that he claims
  • Trump may pay little to no income tax
  • Trump is deeply in debt and owes a hundred million or more to a foreign bank
  • Trump wrongly under values his properties to local tax men
  • Trump is making a “flood of cash” from running for president
  • Trump is taking tax breaks he shouldn’t
  • Trump is hiding his lack of charitable donations
  • Trump may have links to Russian oligarchs
What do we know about the smattering of tax returns we have seen from Trump?

  • In multiple years in which we know Trump’s tax rate, he paid a rate of 0%
  • Trump promised millions in charity, but reportedly gave less than $10,000 over a period of 7 years
  • Trump has accepted a grant intended for small businesses affected by 9/11
  • Trump has repeatedly accepted a tax break intended for middle-class people
  • Trump might not even be undergoing an audit in the first place and he refuses to present a letter from the IRS, sent to every individual who is audited, to prove it
Trump also continues to traffic in conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton’s health, saying he will release more detailed medical records if she does. The problem is that Trump has not clear the very low bar of providing a picture of his overall health.

Washington Post: Donald Trump’s response to his doctor’s shoddy letter? Call for Clinton to disclose more! “The problem with Trump's tweet is that he has already released far fewer of his own medical records. And those he has released were apparently given only five minutes' worth of thought by his doctor. This is a bit like calling on your opponent to release a detailed, five-point plan for dealing with immigration when you haven't even said where you stand on deportation.”

So how healthy is Trump? And who exactly is Donald Trump’s doctor?

NBC: Trump Doctor Wrote Health Letter in Just 5 Minutes as Limo Waited. “Donald Trump's personal physician said he wrote a letter declaring Trump would be the healthiest president in history in just five minutes while a limo sent by the candidate waited outside his Manhattan office.”

CNN: Clinton's health is fine, but what about Trump? “Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, found much of that language surprising and, in some cases, almost comically lacking in objective data.”

Huffington Post: Someone Using The Email Address Of Trump’s Doctor Demanded Money For An Interview. “A Huffington Post reader pointed out that the letter mentioned a website that wasn’t actually registered until several months after the endorsement of Trump’s health was written, so I sent an email on Saturday afternoon to the Gmail address listed in the letter’s header.  Someone replied from the address a little after 1 a.m. on Sunday, saying he or she wanted money to talk.  ‘325 per hour in advance,’ the person wrote.”

Washington Post: The strange tale of Donald Trump’s doctor letter just got stranger. “Of all the problems with the letter — and there are more than a few — the biggest may be the hyperbole. Doctors are trained to be circumspect and not draw conclusions that aren't supported by facts. Bornstein's letter, quite simply, didn't sound as though it were written by a serious-minded doctor who had given it the kind of thought it warranted.”


For Immediate Release, August 30, 2016