Donald Trump sends letter to Forbes, lies about being worth $3.7 billion

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Donald Trump sends a letter to Forbes journalist Harold Seneker, with copies to Malcolm Forbes and CNP member Malcom “Steve” Forbes, Jr. Trump is not happy that Seneker’s recent reporting suggests he’s heading towards bankruptcy. (Seneker denies ever suggesting such a thing; Trump is just paranoid.)

Attached to the letter is a list of Trump’s assets and total wealth, which reports his worth as exceeding $3.7 billion. The truth, revealed years later, is that Trump reports a loss of $100 million in 1989 and actually is near bankruptcy. The list was created on November 30, 1988.

Unbeknownst to Forbes, just eight days before Nov. 30, 1988, Trump received $675 million in cash proceeds from a junk bond that Merrill Lynch sold to unlucky investors, with all of the funds earmarked for acquiring and completing the Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City. Trump shouldn’t have claimed this as his own cash, as he appeared to be doing. But that’s what he told Forbes, and anyone else who would listen.

The Washington Post

Trump continues writing to Seneker throughout the summer, questioning his ability to understand finances and accusing him of trying to keep Trump in the “lower echelons” of the elite.

Read the letter below.


Dear Harry,

I read in a recent article your quote that I was, in your opinion, somewhat highly leveraged despite having wonderful assets. Based on the fact that journalists seem to call you relative to Donald Trump (thereby making you the authority), and also due to the fact that I am far more fiscally conservative than anyone other than those close to me would understand, I have asked Arthur Andersen & Co. to prepare an original letter for you stating my cash position. As you will notice, this does not include the $180 million I received from Alan Bond on January 30, 1989 for the sale of the St. Moritz Hotel.

I know that you would be the first to agree that anyone with in excess of $849 million in cash ($700 million plus $149 after paying off the St. Moritz mortgage) is not a person who is “highly leveraged”. Additionally, being a student of financial history, I have relatively low amounts of financing on my assets and, more importantly, personally guarantee nothing.

I think your list and the job you do is fantastic but I did want to, at last, set the record straight. While I never expect the press to be kind, I always like them to be as accurate as possible.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Trump

External Sources

The Washington Post (Archived)

Photo: Katrin Hauf

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