Trump Sued For A Quarter Billion Dollars — How The Former President's Foresight In Real Estate Could Soften The Blow And Teach Us All A Lesson

222 + 45 = $250,000,000. That’s right. A 222-page civil suit outlining the alleged gross negligence, fraud and scams conducted by the 45th President of the United States could result in a loss of $250 million.

Donald Trump, whose Digital World Acquisition Corp. project has failed spectacularly, is facing serious charges. On Sept. 21, 2022, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that the State of New York was filing a lawsuit against Trump for “violating the law, as part of his efforts to generate profits for himself, his family and his company.” The announcement took place just a week after the New York Times reported that she rejected an offer to settle with the Manhattan-based Trump Organization.

The allegations within the report are substantial, claiming that Trump’s self-reported net worth is exaggerated. Insiders aren’t surprised by the news — they’ve heard it before. “The guy is completely untrustworthy. Everyone knew you couldn't trust his word. That's why he didn't build a thing in years,” one high-profile real estate executive, who would only speak on the condition of anonymity, said in an interview with Politico.

Speculation has continuously circulated about Trump and his net worth, much of it his own doing. He famously said the only thing off-limits during his roast was his net worth. Comedian Anthony Jeselnik recounted Trump’s words as “don’t say I have less money than I say I do,” and “make fun of my kids, do whatever you want, just don’t say I don’t have that much money.”

It seems now, obvious why that was the case. The civil suit has several damning quotes that lead the reader to infer that Trump’s real estate fortune may be a house of cards.

Trump has claimed on legal documents that his name and image provide a 30% jump in property values. Other allegations include Trump claiming his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida was worth as much as $739 million when in actuality, it’s about a tenth of that. Trump claimed the outlandish number based on the false premise that it was able to be used for residential purposes, even though he'd signed deeds foreclosing on that possibility.

There are plenty of other examples, all essentially of the same theme. The suit could be summarized as a lengthy list of fraud, scams and dangerously inflated valuations. Attorney General James said, “The pattern of fraud that was used by Mr. Trump and the Trump organization was astounding,”

A July 2013 article from The Real Deal New York is especially interesting now. It paints a picture of the same things being discussed today. It explains that he doesn’t own much property in New York compared to his peers, yet he casts a huge shadow over the local industry, given his fame.

Even at a decade old, the article helps to explain why Trump may be fine, even if he loses the suit. Ignoring the ongoing fraud and lies, Trump has been a player in real estate, especially in New York for decades. His real estate empire famously extends from New York to Las Vegas, Florida, Scotland, and plenty of others. He is a worldwide real estate mogul. The estimated worth of his real estate holdings is disputed, but even in 2013 it was reported that he owned $1.38 billion worth of New York City commercial real estate; $351.55 million in New York residential properties; and $1.57 billion in golf courses, resorts and related facilities across the world), totaling around $3.3 billion.

Assuming Trump was able to maintain that approximate value and an annual return of 15%, he’d likely earn back the $250 million dollars as soon as next year. In fact, he’d earn beyond the $250 million — more like $495 million. There is a lesson to be learned here — real estate can provide a straightforward path to long-lasting and extreme wealth.

You can follow suit. Better yet, you can do so without the danger or temptation to falsify documents, exaggerate square footage or sabotage your own wealth by banking on your popularity to increase its value. You also don’t need to have a fortune to start with.

Fractional real estate investments allow individuals to own income-producing real estate with as little as $100, making it easy to start building a profitable portfolio of properties.

Read next: How Donald Trump Paid Less In Taxes Than A Household Earning Only $20,000 Per Year

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