According to a USA Today investigation, the majority of properties sold by President Donald Trump since he won the Republican National Convention last summer have been purchased by “secretive shell companies” that appear set up to “obscure the buyers’ identities.”
The report found that “over the last 12 months, about 70 percent of buyers of Trump properties were limited liability companies – corporate entities that allow people to purchase property without revealing all of the owners’ names.”
“That compares with about 4 percent of buyers in the two years before,” the report continued.
USA Today’s six-month-long investigation rifled through every property owned by Trump and his various companies, and in turn documented each buyer during that time period. The investigation also found that “Trump’s companies owned more than 430 individual properties worth well over $250 million.”
Since he was elected, the report continues, Trump and his companies have sold 28 American properties for a total of $33 million, and the rest of his companies’ properties are valued at more than a quarter-billion dollars.
Although Trump’s sons operate the trust where the profits from those sales go, the report noted that “the president is the sole beneficiary of the trust and can withdraw cash any time.”
Some Democratic members of Congress have expressed concerns about Trump’s business dealings, in part because “the secretive sales create an extraordinary and unprecedented potential for people, corporations or foreign interests to try to influence a president.”
“Anyone who wanted to court favor with the president,” the report continued, “could snap up multiple properties or purposefully overpay, without revealing their identity publicly.”
Trump was not legally required to disclose the real estate trust from these sales, the report noted.
“The clear post-nomination shift since last year to more shell-company purchases is unique to sales by Trump’s companies, even in his own towers and neighborhoods,” it concluded.
Read the entire report on the secretive LLCs shielding buyers of Trump properties via USA Today.