New York state officials are investigating whether President Donald Trump, his father, and his family committed tax fraud in a series of complex real estate dealings designed to avoid federal tax laws, which supposedly built the president’s fortune, multiple outlets report.
The investigation comes in the wake of a sprawling New York Times investigation into the Trump family and how the president made his money.
The article claims that Donald Trump made much of his money early in life from his father, Fred Trump, via a series of “tax dodges.”
From the New York Times piece:
Mr. Trump won the presidency proclaiming himself a self-made billionaire, and he has long insisted that his father, the legendary New York City builder Fred C. Trump, provided almost no financial help.
But The Times’s investigation, based on a vast trove of confidential tax returns and financial records, reveals that Mr. Trump received the equivalent today of at least $413 million from his father’s real estate empire, starting when he was a toddler and continuing to this day.
Much of this money came to Mr. Trump because he helped his parents dodge taxes. He and his siblings set up a sham corporation to disguise millions of dollars in gifts from their parents, records and interviews show. Records indicate that Mr. Trump helped his father take improper tax deductions worth millions more. He also helped formulate a strategy to undervalue his parents’ real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars on tax returns, sharply reducing the tax bill when those properties were transferred to him and his siblings.
According to the article, the president’s parents gave more than $1 billion to their children, all while paying approximately $500 million less in taxes than they should have.
The article, put simply, claims that the president and his family committed tax fraud and have done so for decades.
After the article’s publication, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said that he is asking New York City’s Department of Finance to investigate the claims.
I’ve directed NYC’s Department of Finance to immediately investigate tax and housing violations and to work with NY State to find out if appropriate taxes were paid. https://t.co/AVCJ0VWH3T
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) October 3, 2018
Trump, as he is wont to do with stories that paint him in a negative fashion, denied the claims in the Times article in his typically colorful style.
The Failing New York Times did something I have never seen done before. They used the concept of “time value of money” in doing a very old, boring and often told hit piece on me. Added up, this means that 97% of their stories on me are bad. Never recovered from bad election call!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 3, 2018
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also denied the Times’ claims, calling the article a “totally false attack.”
Regardless of what Trump or the White House claims, the state of New York is now investigating the Times article’s claims.
"The Tax Department is reviewing the allegations in the NYT article and is vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation," a spokesman from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance said in an email to CNBC.
And now we wait to see what happens next.