Disclosures show Mar-a-Lago business has boomed since Trump became president
In this April 15, 2017 file photo, President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)
The Associated Press
Published Saturday, June 17, 2017 8:20AM EDT
WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's Washington hotel saw almost $20 million in revenue during its first few months of operation -- a period that coincided with his election and inauguration as the 45th president. His Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, which he's visited seven times as president, pulled in millions of dollars more than it had previously.
The new details were included in a financial disclosure that Trump voluntarily submitted Friday to the Office of Government Ethics, the first snapshot of the Trump Organization's finances since its longtime leader became president.
When he took office in January, Trump turned over the reins of his global real estate, property management and marketing empire to his two adult sons and a senior executive. But Trump did not divest, instead placing his enormous portfolio of financial assets in a trust controlled by the executive and Donald Trump Jr. He can take back control of the trust at any time, and he's free to withdraw cash from it as he pleases.
On paper, at least, the billionaire president's finances don't appear to have been upended by the time-consuming campaign and transition to power.
He has at least $1.4 billion in assets and reported at least $594 million in income from January 2016 through this spring. Those top-line numbers were largely the same as he had reported in his previous filing, which included all of 2015 and part of 2016.
Trump's financial disclosures have added importance because he isn't following the long tradition of presidential candidates and office-holders making public their tax returns. Those returns provide more precise financial information than the disclosure forms that have broad ranges for income, assets and debts.
The latest report shows Trump resigned from more than 500 positions, stepping down from many on the day before his inauguration. He listed at least $315 million in liabilities, about the same as in the previous report.
The president still owes more than $100 million to Deutsche Bank and a similar amount to Ladder Capital Finance, a New York-based real estate investment trust.
What is unclear from the disclosure is whether Trump added to his debt in any significant way to help pay for his presidential campaign. Because the ranges required for disclosure under federal ethics laws are so wide -- Trump's documents list five separate liabilities each at "over $50,000,000" -- it is impossible to tell whether his debt load has changed appreciably.
Some of Trump's ventures appear to be making more money than they had a year earlier.
His book "The Art of the Deal" is having a comeback of its own. Royalties from the 1987 autobiography ranged between $100,000 and $1 million, according to the new report. The 2016 report listed royalties as being between $50,000 and $100,000, and the 2015 report put them at $15,000 to $50,000.
Trump's management fees from Indonesian companies tied to two planned resorts there more than doubled. The latest disclosure puts the fees $380,000, up from $167,000 he reported in 2016. Trump is partnering with a billionaire Indonesian, Hary Tanoesoedibjo, on the two ventures. One is planned for the tourist island of Bali, the other near Jakarta.
Mar-a-Lago, where Trump played host to several foreign dignitaries during his seven weekends there this winter, has improved its finances. Trump listed the resort's income as about $37 million, up from about $30 million it had taken in prior to his 2016 financial report.
His golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, on the other hand, produced almost $20 million in revenue, about what it had during the previous reporting period. Trump recently began decamping to that property some weekends.
The documentation of revenue from each of those properties doesn't account for expenses, meaning those figures are not pure profit.
The Trump International Hotel, housed in the Old Post Office building down the street from the White House, has seen a burst of activity since opening its doors last fall. In addition to serving as a hub during inauguration festivities, it has hosted numerous events for foreign diplomatic and business interests.
The hotel is cited in three separate lawsuits arguing that Trump is violating the Constitution's "emoluments" clause, a ban on foreign gifts and payments. Trump and the Justice Department have called those claims baseless.