David A. Fahrenthold, Matt Zapotosky and Seung Min Kim at WP:
Two years after Donald Trump won the presidency, nearly every organization he has led in the past decade is under investigation.The Trumps cheated on their taxes At NYT Russ Buettner and Susanne Craig explain the effect on building tenants.
Trump’s private company is contending with civil suits digging into its business with foreign governments and with looming state inquiries into its tax practices.
Trump’s 2016 campaign is under scrutiny by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, whose investigation into Russian interference has already led to guilty pleas by his campaign chairman and four advisers.
Trump’s inaugural committee has been probed by Mueller for illegal foreign donations, a topic that the incoming House Intelligence Committee chairman plans to further investigate next year.
Trump’s charity is locked in an ongoing suit with New York state, which has accused the foundation of “persistently illegal conduct.”
As it turned out, a hidden scam lurked behind the mysterious increases. In October, a New York Times investigation into the origins of Mr. Trump’s wealth revealed, among its findings, that the future president and his siblings set up a phony business to pad the cost of nearly everything their father, the legendary builder Fred C. Trump, purchased for his buildings. The Trump children split that extra money.
Padding the invoices had a secondary benefit for the Trumps, allowing them to inflate rent increases on their father’s rent-regulated apartments.
“The higher the markup would be, the higher the rent that might be charged,” Robert Trump, the president’s brother, once admitted in a sworn deposition obtained by The Times.
The president and his siblings have long since sold their father’s buildings and moved on with their inherited fortunes. But for tenants, the insidious effects of the scheme continue to this day.
The padded invoices have been baked into the base rent used to calculate the annual percentage increase approved by the city. The sum total of the rent overcharges cannot be calculated from available records. As a way to appreciate the scope of the impact, a onetime $10 increase in 1995 on all the 8,000 apartments involved would put the total overpaid by tenants at more than $33 million to date, an analysis of approved rent increases shows.