Mayor Says New York City Is ‘Looking to Recoup’ Unpaid Trump Taxes

Mayor Bill de Blasio said yesterday that New York City will seek any taxes that President Donald Trump should have paid for money he received from his late father.

Following a New York Times report on Trump family finances it became clear that many of the transactions entered into by the Trumps were not in compliance with federal, state or city tax laws.

In a statement, Mayor de Blasio said Wednesday:

“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. The city of New York is looking to recoup any money that Donald Trump owes the people of New York City, period.”

The Times reported Tuesday that Donald Trump received much more wealth from his father than he has previously acknowledged. In fact, if the reporting is correct, Donald Trump has consistently lied about his inheritance throughout most of his adult life. He always nurtured his public image as a self-made billionaire, but that is certainly not true.

One interesting aspect of the Times reporting is the story it tells about how his father backed his son’s businesses during times of financial distress. When Donnie needed money to make a loan payment on an Atlantic City casino his father gave him $3.5 million and it was reported as a gambling loss.

The Times reported that the Trump family used a variety of schemes — some of them illegal — to reduce its taxes.

The newspaper said it had reviewed 100,000 documents, including Fred Trump’s tax returns.  

The elder Trump was a successful real-estate developer who had done many projects throughout Queens and Brooklyn.

The New York state Finance Department said Tuesday that it would open an investigation into the allegations. The department had previously begun investigating the president’s charity, the Trump Foundation.

“The Tax Department is reviewing the allegations in the New York Times article and is vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation,” said James Gazzale, spokesman for Department of Taxation and Finance.

Under all applicable tax laws, there is no statute of limitations for civil tax fraud cases if the taxing authorities are able to show an intent by the parties to illegally evade taxes. Generally, the tax avoidance activities described by the Times appear to be too old to lead to a criminal inquiry, although that has yet to be determined.

Yesterday Crains New York published an article saying that Trump and his siblings could owe $400 million to the state for unpaid taxes, interest and penalties.

De Blasio said the city and state would work closely on the new investigation of Trump family tax evasion. Potentially there could be enough money owed, including civil tax penalties, to bankrupt Trump and his family.

The state of New York is already working on two other cases that could result in criminal and civil liability for Donald Trump and his family.

The mayor faulted both city and state officials for failing to effectively scrutinize the Trump family’s tax payments for decades.

“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.”


I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.

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