New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday that President Trump’s hometown would seek compensation for any taxes that should have been paid on the money the billionaire got from his late father, and added that “if a lot of people had done their jobs, he would never have been president of the United States.”
Speaking during a press conference alongside New York Police Department Commissioner James O’Neil, de Blasio slammed what he called the “good-old-boy network” in the Empire State that permitted Trump to minimize the amount of taxes that he and his family members paid.
“There was a good-old-boy network that obviously Donald Trump played like a fiddle and evaded the kind of regulation and investigation and prosecution he should have received many times over,” de Blasio said. “He finagled and paid his way to being able to escape the kind of scrutiny and prosecution he deserved. And honestly, if a lot of people in New York state had done their jobs, he would never have been president of the United States.”
The New York City mayor’s comments came a day after The New York Times published a damning article claiming that Trump received at least $413 million in today’s dollars from his father’s New York real estate business, with much of the money filtering through questionable tax schemes in the 1990s.
According to confidential tax returns and financial records obtained by the newspaper, Trump and his siblings set up a phony corporation in an effort to disguise millions of dollars in gifts from their parents. Records examined by The Times also indicate that Trump helped his father take millions of dollar in improper tax deductions and formulated a strategy to undervalue his parents’ real estate holdings in order to reduce the tax bill when the properties were transferred.
In total, Trump’s parents, Fred and Mary, transferred over $1 billion to their children. The money would have created a tax bill of at least $550 million, given a 55 percent tax rate then imposed on gifts and inheritances, but the family paid just a fraction of that sum, $52.2 million, tax records indicate.
“It’s clear to me that there are real ramifications right now to what has been disclosed, either potential violations of law, or in cases where the statute of limitations has ended that there may be very serious civil penalties that can be applied by both the state and the city,” de Blasio told reporters gathered at One Police Plaza on Wednesday. “The city of New York is looking to recoup any money that Donald Trump owes the people of New York City, period.”
Tax officials in New York told Fox News on Tuesday that they were reviewing the allegations and “vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation.”
He finagled and paid his way to being able to escape the kind of scrutiny and prosecution he deserved. And honestly, if a lot of people in New York state had done their jobs, he would never have been president of the United States.
Both the president and White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders hit back at The New York Times, with Trump calling the lengthy report a “hit piece.”
“The Failing New York Times did something I have never seen done before,” Trump tweeted Wednesday morning. “They used the concept of ‘time value of money’ in doing a very old, boring and often told hit piece on me. Added up, this means that 97% of their stories on me are bad. Never recovered from bad election call!”
In an oftentimes confrontational press briefing, Sanders said The Times' story was a “totally false attack” and, referencing Trump’s lawyer’s statement from Tuesday, she denied any allegation of fraud or tax evasion.
“I will say one thing the article did get right is that it showed that the president’s father actually had a great deal of confidence in him,” Sanders said. “In fact, the president brought his father into a lot of deals and they made a lot of money together, so much so that his father went on to say that everything he touched turned to gold.”
Sanders added: “The president’s lawyer addressed some of the specific claims and walked through how the allegations of fraud and tax evasion are 100 percent false and highly defamatory. There was no fraud or tax evasion by anyone.”
In a statement to The New York Times, Trump’s brother, Robert, also denied any wrongdoing.
“All appropriate gift and estate tax returns were filed, and the required taxes were paid,” the president’s brother said. “Our family has no other comment on these matters that happened some 20 years ago, and would appreciate your respecting the privacy of our deceased parents, may God rest their souls.”