New questions arose Saturday about a nine-year period in Donald Trump’s real estate career when Trump went on a still-unexplained cash buying spree, first revealed in May by the Washington Post. Trump reportedly made at least 14 cash real estate purchases totaling approximately $400 million.
The cash buying binge, which ran from 2006 to 2014, was questionable for several reasons. First, real estate developers rarely pay cash when acquiring properties, preferring to take out mortgages that can be paid off over time, risking bank money rather than their own. Trump often boasted about his own borrowing, calling himself “The King of Debt,” as Politico reported. Trump even bragged, “if the world goes to hell in a handbasket, I won’t lose a dollar,” because he refuses to spend his own cash — a philosophy he inexplicably and abruptly changed in 2006, according to the Post‘s findings.
But Trump, at the time of his cash spree, was coming off a series of bankruptcies, and the real estate market in general was suffering badly due to the economic crisis and recession which began in 2008. But according to Post investigative reporter David Fahrenthold, “Trump had access to far more cash than previously known, despite his string of commercial bankruptcies and the Great Recession’s hammering of the real estate industry.”
Trump himself in 2008 claimed that his business had somehow found itself in “a very, very strong cash position,” and even in the wake of what Trump called the economic “tsunami” of 2008, his business had accrued a whopping $2 billion in pure cash, as The Daily Beast reported.
Trump’s son Eric echoed his father, claiming that the Trump Organization “had so much cash coming in, they decided to cut back on borrowing and just buy things outright,” Farenholdt said in a Twitter post.
The Trump cash shopping spree became even more mysterious on Saturday, however, when an investigative report by The Scotsman revealed that in 2008, Trump was seeking to buy the landmark Hamilton Hall, an iconic hotel in St. Andrews, Scotland, a town that is home to the world’s oldest golf course and is often described as “the birthplace of golf.”
But Trump refused to pay cash for the historic hotel, instead repeatedly hounding the Bank of Scotland over a three-year period to back him with loans totaling about £38 million, or more than $50 million, according to an investigation by The Scotsman.
Ultimately, the bank nixed the loan, when “the bank executive who negotiated directly with Trump considered the deal ‘too risky’ and tantamount to a ‘free loan.’ He also expressed concern that Trump would hold the bank to ‘future ransom,'” Scotsman reporter Martyn McLaughlin wrote.
Bank executives also said that they found it “worrying” and “inappropriate” when Trump asked them to simply foreclose on the current owners of Hamilton Hall and deal only with Trump, the paper reported.
At the same time that he was attempting to extract a loan from the Bank of Scotland, Trump was also in the process of a land deal in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, that ultimately became his Trump International Golf Links there. Despite needing a loan from the Bank of Scotland to buy Hamilton Hall, Trump said he would pay cash for the Aberdeenshire land — claiming that he had £1 billion in a bank account ready to transfer to complete the purchase, according to the Scotsman investigation. That would have been about $2 billion in 2008.
Trump told The Scotsman at the time that his organization was immune to the global recession, due to its supposed large cash reserves.
What was the source of Trump’s cash flow? The answer is unknown, though as the Inquisitr reported, Eric Trump reportedly told an acquaintance who was wondering the same thing, “we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.”
Why the Trump Organization could not or would not access its cash to purchase Hamilton Hall, however remains a mystery.