Since Donald Trump became president of the USA his business dealings have been under intense scrutiny which has not always gone down well with the man himself. A report by US Today has cast a very dark shadow across Donald Trump’s real estate transactions over the last 12 months. While there is no indication that he has done anything illegal it is the use of limited liability companies for the buyers which has caught the attention of the media. Who is buying Donald Trump’s real estate as he looks to reduce his exposure?
Condos, penthouses and other properties
Under pressure from the political elite Donald Trump agreed to place all of his business assets in trust while he was president of the USA. This means that the profits from his real estate transactions are held in a trust to which he is the sole beneficiary. The fact that the trust is run by Donald Trump’s sons does not sit well with many fellow politicians who accuse him of being unable to give up control even if there are potential conflicts of interest.
Since he was elected president it is believed that 28 real estate assets have been sold through Donald Trump businesses for a gross $33 million. They include luxury condos and penthouses in Las Vegas and New York and oceanfront properties in Los Angeles. At this moment in time there is still a staggering $250 million of real estate assets held by Donald Trump associated companies, the profits from which will flow into his trust.
Limited liability companies
In the US limited liability companies offer a way to acquire assets without being legally obliged to give the name of the underlying owners. There is nothing wrong with this, it is perfectly legal, but over the last 12 months a staggering 70% of Donald Trump properties have been sold to buyers using limited liability companies. In the previous two years that figure was a paltry 4% which begs the question, why the sudden move towards the use of limited liability companies?
There is no question as to whether Donald Trump is doing anything illegal, he is not, but there are concerns that the parties could be currying favour with the president by buying up his real estate assets. There are also suggestions that some parties may well have deliberately overpaid for asset to get into the good books of the president and the US government.
There is still in excess of $250 million worth of real estate held via Donald Trump companies which is effectively “for sale”. These range in price from $220,000 up to $10 million and more although it has not been easy for the journalists to clarify each individual property held by Donald Trump. While there is no doubt that the president is “good to his word” questions are being asked about the manner in which they have been sold and the speed of the disposal program. However, why should Donald Trump be forced into fire sales when you bear in mind that his wealth is based upon real estate and that is his area of expertise?
Normally you would expect presidents to change what are perceived to be curious personal business transactions but this is Donald Trump. Does he ever take notice of anybody else?