Donald Trump’s Business Documents Show ‘Versions Of Fraud,’ Says Nancy Wallace

U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions from the media while departing the White House on October 11, 2019 in Washington, DC.
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A new ProPublica report reveals discrepancies in the way two of Donald Trump’s businesses — 40 Wall Street and the Trump International Hotel and Tower — reported some of their profits, expenses, and occupancy figures to lenders and tax officials. In particular, documents suggest that Trump’s businesses in question were made to appear more profitable to lenders and less profitable to New York City tax authorities.

“For instance, Trump told the lender that he took in twice as much rent from one building as he reported to tax authorities during the same year, 2017. He also gave conflicting occupancy figures for one of his signature skyscrapers, located at 40 Wall Street,” the report reads.

According to Nancy Wallace, a professor of finance and real estate at the Haas School of Business at the University of California-Berkeley, the inconsistencies are “versions of fraud.”

“This kind of stuff is not OK,” she said.

Lying to tax officials or lenders can lead to punishments that range from fines to criminal fraud charges.

“Certainly, if I were sitting in a prosecutor’s office, I would want to ask a lot more questions,” said Anne Milgram, a former attorney general for New Jersey who now teaches at the New York University School of Law.

Per Reuters, the statute of limitations on many federal crimes is five years, which means that Trump’s re-election could work to help him avoid any potential charges after leaving office. But some lawyers believe that standard statute of limitation windows should not apply to the president, which could spark a dispute in court.

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Trump is currently facing an impeachment inquiry for his phone call with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky. Recently, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced her decision to pass on a formal House vote to approve the impeachment inquiry.

“There’s no requirement that we have a vote, and so at this time we will not be having a vote,” Pelosi said Tuesday, per The Hill.

The decision has led some to criticize Pelosi. Republicans are pushing for a vote because it would reportedly allow Republican House members more of a role in the inquiry, including the ability to subpoena witnesses. Ultimately, Pelosi’s announcement does little to appease Republicans that believe the investigation is nothing more than “partisan theatrics,” as Andrew C. McCarthy said.

According to McCarthy, Democrats are skirting an official vote to avoid defending their impeachment probe in court, suggesting that if they believed in the validity of the probe, they would be focused on doing it under formal procedure.