Donald Trump Bragged to Press He Made a Fortune in 1984, Told the IRS It Was Zero

Trump deducted $626,264 as expenses on his 1984 federal income tax return, and $619,227 on his New York City return. On both forms, he claimed no income.

 

It was a pivotal year for the 37-year-old magnate on the make, one in which he was celebrating the opening of his seminal Trump Tower, closing a casino-hotel deal in then-booming Atlantic City and angling to topple the NFL with his ill-fated purchase of the United States Football League’s New Jersey Generals. He’d made himself a near-daily figure in New York news and gossip pages, often depicted as an egomaniacal wild man who shot from the hip and raked in the bucks as he shoved and nudged his way to the top of the real-estate world.

 

In a GQ profile that May, written by Graydon Carter, Trump plugged a hotel deal in which he partnered with Hyatt to build a new Manhattan hotel on land Trump just leased—with the help of Equitable Life Assurance Society.

 

“So we have about a $277 million sellout,” says Trump, “just for the upper half of the building. And then we own the lower half for nothing.” The partnership, unencumbered by mortgages, now collects the rents from thirteen floors of office space at $50 a square foot and the six levels of retail space at $150 to $450 a square foot. “It’s a crazy deal,” says Trump. “It’s better than working.”

 

In 1984, constantly bragged to the press about how much cash he was raking in. That same year, as David Cay Johnston exclusively reported in The Daily Beast, he told the IRS he had made nothing at all.

 

 

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