Trump’s Businesses Show Mixed Returns During Campaign and Presidency
The Trump International Hotel in Washington and the Mar-a-Lago private resort in Florida have been among President Trump’s favorite spots to visit in the months since he became president. And both were among the most lucrative properties in his portfolio during what otherwise was a mixed year for the Trump family businesses, according to a financial disclosure report released Friday.
The 98-page report is the first official look at how Mr. Trump’s private finances fared during his campaign and the early months of presidency, even as he has stepped away from the day-to-day management duties of his company. They show Mr. Trump and his related business entities reported revenue of at least $597 million, down about 3 percent from the $615 million in the period a year before. Mr. Trump reported assets valued at a minimum of $1.4 billion, down slightly from $1.5 billion in 2016.
One place where his revenue fell considerably was at Trump National Doral, a golf resort near Miami and his biggest cash flow generator. It reported revenue of $116 million, down 12 percent from Mr. Trump’s 2016 disclosure, even though the Trump Organization recently completed a major renovation there.
Revenues at his aircraft company, which the Trump campaign used to move him around the country during his presidential bid, more than doubled to $7.7 million.
Revenues also jumped at Mar-a-Lago, which Mr. Trump has called the “Winter White House,” reaching $37.3 million. That was an increase from $29.8 million in a roughly corresponding 16-month period that began in January 2015, and $15.6 million in a similar time period that began in early 2014. The Trump Organization doubled the initiation fee that new members must pay to join the club, shortly after Mr. Trump was elected president.
The document released Friday provides no new information about any possible ties to Russia, echoing the statement released last month by Mr. Trump’s lawyers. Mr. Trump’s business interests, which already have been the source of constitutional challenges and ethics complaints, are more complicated than those of any previous president. Even with the disclosure offered Friday, the picture of his finances is far from complete as they lack the level of detail normally provided in tax returns, which Mr. Trump has refused to make public.
As president, Mr. Trump has helped highlight his family’s properties by repeatedly visiting his golf courses and Mar-a-Lago. Since he was sworn in, he has visited family business properties on at least 42 different days, with 25 of those at Mar-a-Lago, according to a tally by The New York Times.
Mr. Trump filed the disclosure, which generally covers a period from January 2016 to April 2017, with the assistance of the Office of Government Ethics to follow a practice set by President Barack Obama. He was technically not required to make the filing until next year. It is not known how profitable the golf clubs and resorts are, because The Trump Organization is a private business and Mr. Trump only releases revenue figures in his public disclosures. “President Trump welcomed the opportunity to voluntarily file his personal financial disclosure form; while this filing is voluntary (as no report was due until May 2018), it has been certified by the Office of Government Ethics pursuant to its normal procedures,” White House representatives said in a statement.
One of the Trump Organization’s new endeavors, Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., set up in a once rundown federal building that the Trump family spent $200 million to renovate, had revenue of about $20 million, the disclosure said.
The hotel opened its doors in September and since Election Day it has become a magnet for foreigners and lobbyists, with executives explicitly pitching the hotel as smart place for foreign diplomats to hold events. The hotel has been the site of Bahrain’s National Day celebration, and a prominent conference on United States-Turkey relations. It also served as the host of the American Petroleum Institute board meeting in March — an event that drew two members of Mr. Trump’s cabinet — while also making the family company a considerable fee.
Revenue from his international operations — including residential buildings, golf courses and hotels in Latin America, Asia and the Middle East — did not change significantly in the last year even though several properties, for which he collects a licensing fee, opened recently including in Manila and Dubai. There were some exceptions, including a new tower in Vancouver, which produced at least $5 million in revenue, and an entity affiliated connected to Kolkata, India, which brought in $100,000 to $1 million.
Renewed sales of his 1987 book, The Art of the Deal, also increased. The title brought in at least $100,000, double the minimum revenue listed last year.
Lawyers involved in suing Mr. Trump, based on allegations that he is violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution because his businesses are accepting payments from foreign governments, said that the financial disclosure, while helpful, left many of their questions unresolved. “It just elevates questions,” said Maryland state Attorney General Brian E. Frosh, who this week sued Mr. Trump, along with the attorney general from Washington, D.C., in what is one of at least three such lawsuits. “Just how much money is he getting from foreign sources, who is he getting it from and what impact does it have on his foreign policy and his actions as president?”
Mr. Trump has vowed to donate profits that his hotel makes from foreign governments and officials. But his company has found that to be more difficult in practice, because it is hard to identify foreign government officials who conduct business there.
In total, he listed at least $310 million in liabilities, about the same amount as last year, although that is debt held only by companies that his family has majority control over. His creditors include a range of financial companies and banks, from big names like Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch, to lesser-known ones like Amboy Bank in New Jersey.
Mr. Trump has said his net worth is more than $10 billion, but other analyses have concluded that he is worth less. In March, Forbes estimated Mr. Trump’s net worth at $3.5 billion, $200 million less than a year earlier. It attributed the decrease to money he spent on the campaign, the real estate conditions around Trump Tower and other factors, such as the sale of his liquid assets, like stocks.