Donald Trump once said he calculated his net worth, to a degree, on his “feelings,” and that he put the “best spin” on some of the assets. “I think everybody” exaggerates about the value of their properties. “Who wouldn’t?” Did he inflate values? “Not beyond reason,” Trump said, insisting he gave his “opinion” to a key associate and “ultimately” let that person make the decision, according to an exchange in a 2007 deposition. The exchange takes on fresh meaning this spring as Manhattan prosecutors investigate whether Trump’s “best spin” was common practice in local real estate circles — or if he crossed the line into illegal activity. The answer could determine whether Trump ends up facing criminal charges. The public record already sheds lots of light on how Trump has run the Trump Organization. A CNN examination of sworn depositions, interviews with former employees, and published accounts shows that Trump has tried repeatedly to push responsibility for his valuation decisions onto his chief financial officer. At the same time, the documents and depositions appear to show that, even as Trump claimed that he left those valuation decisions to someone else, he was also deeply involved in running his business.
Fri Apr 2 , 2021