Donald Trump’s real estate and business career has its roots in Father Fred’s success in New York. But the father’s intense project has been marred by a series of federal investigations and cases before local courts. His method, of overstating the costs of loans and grants and understating taxes, was widespread in business. But it did not lead to serious convictions.
Son Donald could inherit a real estate portfolio and fortune. However, he downplays his father’s importance and prefers to present himself as a “self-made man”, who skillfully built a real estate and hotel empire and created a multi-billion dollar fortune.
While the father mainly stuck to Queens, Brooklyn and Coney Island, the son made the serious jump to Manhattan. Not only does the gleaming gold Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue have its own floor at the top of the tower, it is also a symbol of success and fame.
Now that Donald Trump is on trial for overvaluing his assets — like his father — to obtain favorable loans at low interest rates, and undervaluing the same assets to reduce taxes, he questions the timing of the trial. He claims New York’s highest-ranking politically elected legal official, Democratic Attorney General Letitia James, is using her position to undermine his presidential campaign.
But the question in New York is: Why only now? Donald Trump’s dealings have been questioned for decades, and many other real estate moguls have fallen, with Trump’s insults echoing in their ears.
The most famous are married couple Leona and Harry Helmsley, who primarily ran against Donald Trump in the 1980s. It wasn’t just about real estate and hotels, but also about the cult of personality they built around themselves.
Leona Helmsley launched herself as New York’s hotel queen with her giant portrait on buildings owned by the couple. These once included the famous Empire State Building. For his part, Donald Trump was keen to personalize his work by publishing pictures of himself everywhere possible.
In the decadent and slightly salty 1980s, neither Trump nor Helmsley was accepted in “beautiful” New York, where ancestral and old-fashioned, but noticeably thinner, coffers were worth more than “starter” real estate and money.
Leona Helmsley eventually wound up in the web of the justice system and was sentenced to prison in 1989 for, among other things, tax crimes. It was a good ruling for Donald Trump, who for years has directed disparaging remarks about his rival.
When the first female vice presidential nominee, Geraldine Ferraro, was nominated by Democrats in 1984, attention immediately fell on her husband, John Zaccaro, who worked in New York real estate. He was sentenced to community service for financial irregularities, and Donald Trump could not contain his joy.
But now Donald Trump himself sits in the defendant’s seat. It was not necessary for him to appear personally in this case, but he could have been represented by his lawyers. Everything happens behind closed doors and accredited photographers and journalists are only allowed on site for a short period in the lead-up to the match. But Donald Trump left his seat on several occasions to express his view on the matter out of place to the media gathered there.
He speaks disparagingly of Letitia James, of politically conditioned witch hunts and of the erosion of legal certainty. Donald Trump himself no longer writes in New York, but in Florida, where he owns his Mar-a-Lago property.
For Trump, it’s not just one of all the legal cases already underway and those awaiting him. Instead, it is a carefully constructed cult of personality that is at stake. A successful businessman who built a multi-billion dollar empire and who promised he could run the United States as well as his own business is on trial for financial irregularities.
Family is also involved. Sons Donald Jr. and Eric and daughter Ivanka are scheduled to hear about their involvement. It is a civil process and the fine amounts to approximately SEK 2.7 billion. Occupational prohibitions and prohibitions against owning and trading real estate in New York are included in the picture. Imprisonment is not excluded.
The trial is expected to end on December 22. Donald Trump’s lawyers have announced that he is likely to appear in court on several occasions. He himself said that he wanted to immediately see how the “corrupt court” behaves.
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