On Tuesday, the New York Times published a massive 14,000-word investigative report on the Trump family’s decades of tax evasion and fraud.
The piece centers on the ways Fred Trump, father to President Donald Trump, successfully transferred vast wealth to his children without paying taxes. Donald Trump was handed tens of millions of dollars by his father, who nonetheless helped the boy maintain his reputation as a “self-made man.”
But Donald was not always satisfied with his father’s largesse, according to the report. In one of the most remarkable scenes in the piece, Donald attempted to get his father to sign over complete control of his estate in an updated will, and was thwarted by Fred, who was suspicious and ended up hiring a new attorney and removing Donald as executor of his estate.
“Fred Trump had given careful thought to what would become of his empire after he died, and had hired one of the nation’s top estate lawyers to draft his will,” the report says. “But in December 1990, Donald Trump sent his father a document, drafted by one of his own lawyers, that sought to make significant changes to that will. Fred Trump, then 85, had never before set eyes on the document, 12 pages of dense legalese. Nor had he authorized its preparation. Nor had he met the lawyer who drafted it.”
Donald told his father to sign “immediately.”
The old man was apparently suspicious, and according to depositions later taken from the family during a financial squabble, declined to give Donald “total control over his affairs.”
“As close as they were—or perhaps because they were so close—Fred Trump did not immediately confront his son,” the report reads.
Fred instead went to his daughter, a federal judge, Maryanne Trump Barry.
“This doesn’t pass the smell test,” he told her.
“Donald was in precarious financial straits by his own admission,” she said, “and Dad was very concerned as a man who worked hard for his money and never wanted any of it to leave the family.”
So Fred Trump directed his daughter to find new estate lawyers, who stripped Donald Trump of control over his father’s estate.
“Clumsy as it was, Donald Trump’s failed attempt to change his father’s will brought a family reckoning,” the report reads.
And so, under Donald’s direction, the Trumps set up a scheme to transfer the money which experts told the Times constituted fraud.
Read the report here.