Extract from The Guardian
Documents offer first glimpse into his business empire since inauguration, including detail that new Washington hotel has brought in almost $20m
The information was in a new disclosure made voluntarily by the president. Photograph: Michael Reynolds/EPA
Julia Carrie Wong and agencies
Saturday 17 June 2017 10.03 AEST First published on Saturday 17 June 2017 07.39 AEST
Donald Trump on Friday released documents that offer the first glimpse into his business empire since he was inaugurated.
Trump’s Washington hotel has brought in almost $20m in revenue since it opened last fall. His Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, which he’s visited seven times as president, pulled in millions of dollars more than was reported in previous filings.
The new details are included in a financial disclosure that Trump voluntarily submitted Friday to the Office of Government Ethics.
When he took office in January, Trump turned over the reins of his global real estate, property management and marketing empire to his two adult sons and a senior executive. But Trump did not divest, instead placing his enormous portfolio of financial assets in a trust controlled by the executive and Donald Trump Jr. The president can take back control of the trust at any time, and he’s free to withdraw cash from it as he pleases.
His latest financial disclosure covers January 2016 through this spring.
The documents have added importance because Trump isn’t following the long tradition of presidential candidates and office-holding of making public his tax returns. Those returns provide more complete financial information than the financial disclosures, which include mostly broad ranges for income and debts.
The report shows Trump resigned from more than 500 positions, stepping down from many on the day before his inauguration. Trump listed at least $315m in liabilities, about the same as in a report he filed last year.
The president still owes more than $100m to Deutsche Bank and a similar amount to Ladder Capital Finance, a New York-based real estate investment trust.
What is unclear from the disclosure is whether Trump added to his debt in any significant way to help pay for his presidential campaign. Because the ranges required for disclosure under federal ethics laws are so wide Trump’s disclosure lists five separate liabilities each at “over $50,000,000” it is impossible to tell whether his debt load has changed appreciably.
Some of Trump’s businesses appear to be earning more money than they had a year earlier. However, because this filing cover 16 months, it is difficult to make direct comparisons between Trump’s financial disclosures from previous years.
Mar-a-Lago, where Trump played host to several foreign dignitaries during his seven weekends there this winter, has improved its finances. Trump listed the resort’s income as about $37m, up from the about $30m it had taken in prior to his May 2016 financial report.
Donald Trump Chinese president Xi Jinping during a meeting at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
The Trump International Hotel, housed in the Old Post Office building down the street from the White House, has seen a burst of activity since opening its doors last fall. In addition to serving as a hub during the inauguration festivities, it has hosted numerous events for foreign diplomatic and business interests.
The hotel is cited in three separate lawsuits arguing that Trump is violating the Constitution’s “emoluments” clause, a ban on foreign gifts and payments. Trump and the justice department have called those claims baseless.
Some of Trump’s businesses saw a decline in income, including the Trump National Doral Golf Club in Florida and Trump Turnberry, a golf club in Scotland where Trump was met with protests when he visited in June 2016. Income from the Scottish resort fell by $3.7m.
The president continues to earn money from his days as an entertainer, including nearly $11m from the Miss Universe pageant and $84,292 from a Screen Actors Guild pension.
Trump’s literary efforts also continue to pay dividends. Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again, Trump’s 2015 campaign diatribe, earned at least $1m in royalties, while his 1987 memoir The Art of the Deal brought in at least $100,000.
Another book the commander-in-chief might want to revisit, 1990’s Trump: Surviving at the Top, however, was less successful. According to the filing, it brought in less than $201.