This is a developing story and may be updated.

Undermining the narrative President Donald Trump has aggressively promoted of his success as a “self-made” billionaire—the platform upon which he has built his success as a business mogul as well as his campaign for president in 2016—the New York Times released an explosive in-depth report on Tuesday detailing schemes which allowed Trump to avoid paying taxes on wealth that was transferred from his parents to himself and his siblings.

The “dubious tax schemes” Trump helped coordinate include cases of “outright fraud,” according to the Times.

Trump has for years been fond of telling audiences that through hard work and financial know-how he was able to transform a single $1 million loan from his father, Fred Trump, into a $10 billion fortune—a tale that made him a popular figure with those who voted for him in 2016.

But the Times reveals that based on 100,000 pages of financial records—including 200 pages of Fred Trump’s tax returns and those of the Trump empire’s partnerships—and interviews with Fred Trump’s former associates, Trump has received the equivalent of $413 million in 2018 dollars from his father’s real estate empire—starting “when he was a toddler and continuing to this day.”

Contrary to Trump’s preferred origin story, the Times revealed that Fred Trump lent his son at least $60.7 million to help him fund his business ventures—equivalent to $140 million in today’s dollars. While Trump has claimed he had to pay the initial loan back “with interest,” tax returns show most of the money was not repaid.

By setting up a fraudulent corporation through which Trump and his four siblings passed huge monetary gifts from their parents, they were able to avoid paying millions of dollars in taxes—just one of several tax schemes Trump helped orchestrate in order to enrich himself, as the Times reports:

Records indicate that Mr. Trump helped his father take improper tax deductions worth millions more. He also helped formulate a strategy to undervalue his parents’ real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars on tax returns, sharply reducing the tax bill when those properties were transferred to him and his siblings.

Trump’s parents transferred over $1 billion in wealth to their five children—a sum which should have left the family with a $550 million tax bill. But the Trumps paid just $52.2 million, or about 5 percent, rather than 55 percent under the tax code at the time.
The Times’ reporting also suggests that Fred Trump came to his son’s financial rescue numerous times as the president’s businesses floundered. He withdrew nearly $50 million from his real estate empire in 1990 when Trump’s hotels and casinos were “drowning in debt”—indicating that Fred “wanted plenty of cash on hand to bail out his son if need be.”
Fred also arranged a purchase of $3.35 million in casino chips from Trump’s Castle casino in Atlantic City that same year, to keep his son from defaulting on a bond repayment.

“The Times‘s investigation of the Trump family’s finances is unprecedented in scope and precision, offering the first comprehensive look at the inherited fortune and tax dodges that guaranteed Donald J. Trump a gilded life,” wrote David Barstow, Susanne Craig, and Russ Buettner, the journalists behind the story. “The reporting makes clear that in every era of Mr. Trump’s life, his finances were deeply intertwined with, and dependent on, his father’s wealth.”

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