Donald Trump is on the verge of squandering the real estate empire he helped build off his father’s inheritance as questions about the former president’s actual net worth are debated in a civil trial, according to his niece.
Mary Trump, author, podcast host and frequent critic of her uncle, knocked back the suggestions that Donald Trump is “enormously wealthy” and that he “created that wealth himself.”
The former president is currently involved in a civil trial in relation to New York Attorney General Letitia James’ $250 million. James accuses the president of filing fraudulent financial statements that inflated the value of numerous of his properties and assets for years, a claim that Judge Arthur Engoron resolved prior to the trial beginning on Monday.
Engoron’s ruling now means that the civil trial will now mainly determine the size of the penalty, which could see Trump banned from doing business in New York, having his properties removed from his control, or being forced to pay a fine totaling hundreds of millions of dollars. Trump has denied all the claims in relation to James’ suit and accused the case of being a politically motivated “witch hunt.”
Mary Trump said the outcome of the civil trial may mean that Trump’s business empire could be destroyed, which he built off the back of a $413 million payment from his father Fred Trump’s real estate fortune, which he allegedly received via tax dodges in the 1990s, according to a 2018 investigation from The New York Times.
“After my grandfather died, Donald inherited a couple of hundred million dollars more,” Mary Trump wrote on her blog. “It bears pointing out that the empire Donald has managed to squander over the last thirty years—the one he is in danger of losing thanks to his having committed massive fraud (allegedly)—belonged to his father. It was never his.”
Newsweek reached out to Trump’s legal team via email for comment.
The New York Times reported that the former president engaged in dubious tax schemes for years which saw his parents avoid paying the true amounts they owed, helping Trump inherit the equivalent of $413 million from his father’s empire.
The alleged schemes include creating a sham corporation to hide millions of dollars in gifts and helping the senior Trump take improper tax deductions worth millions. Trump’s lawyers described the accusations at the time as “100 percent false and highly defamatory.”
Elsewhere, Mary Trump suggested the former president attended the first few days of the civil trial at the Manhattan court because the outcome was not only important with regards to his reputation as a savvy and successful businessman but also to the “core of his own beliefs about who he is.”
“He left because he knew nothing he did—the pouting, the angry stares, the media hits—was working. That plus the humiliation of falling off the Forbes 400 were too much for him to take. With any luck, it’s going to keep getting worse for him.”