Donald Trump has often claimed that he is a billionaire, even listing $3 billion in assets in 2005 on official bank forms, as The Inquisitr reported. But a sweeping new investigation by The New York Times published on Tuesday shows that during the mid-1980s and early 1990s, Trump was, in reality, a negative billionaire, declaring business losses of an astonishing $1.2 billion from 1985 to 1994.
That amount would be over $2 billion, converted into 2019 dollars, according to the U.S. Inflation Calculator.
The massive losses would make Trump America's worst businessman in terms of the sheer amount of losses declared on his tax returns, according to The New York Times report.
"Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer," Times reporters Ross Buettner and Susanne Craig wrote. "His core business losses in 1990 and 1991 — more than $250 million each year — were more than double those of the nearest taxpayers in the I.R.S. information for those years."
While the Times did not obtain Trump's actual tax returns for the 10-year period covered by the investigation, "we obtained printouts from his official I.R.S. tax transcripts, with figures from his federal 1040, for 85 to 94," Craig explained on her Twitter account.
In fact, someone appears to have leaked the information to the Times reporters. The paper's report says that they "received the information contained in the returns from someone who had legal access to it."
Trump's business failures were so massive and crushing that in the year 1991, Trump's losses alone account for one percent of all business losses declared that year by United States taxpayers, Craig stated on Twitter. In eight of the 10 years of tax figures covered by the Times report, Trump's losses were so staggering that he was required to pay no income tax at all.
Trump, however, has been masterful at one aspect of his business — maintaining the public perception that he is a successful businessman, an image he promoted in his 1987 book The Art of the Deal. But even as the book was published and rode the New York Times bestseller list for 51 weeks, according to PolitiFact, Trump was "already in deep financial distress, losing tens of millions of dollars on troubled business deals," the Times report reveals.
His long-running NBC TV reality show The Apprentice also took pains to portray Trump as a highly competent, no-nonsense CEO who succeeded in nearly every business enterprise he undertook. Insiders who worked on the show have since revealed that it was their job to make sure the show portrayed Trump as an American business icon, whitewashing his many obvious personal and professional shortcomings, as The Inquisitr has reported.
"Most of us knew he was a fake. He had just gone through I don't know how many bankruptcies," Jonathan Braun, a video editor on The Apprentice for six of the show's 14 seasons, told New Yorker magazine last year.
"It was like making the court jester the king."