A report just came out about the dirty dealings of Trump’s companies since he’s taken office. His real estate transactions for the year 2017 don’t make him look like the up and up businessman he sold to the American public.
Trump’s companies sold $35 million worth of real estate in 2017, and most of those transactions were done with secretive shell companies that obscure buyers’ true identities.
Since Trump’s election, a skyrocketing number of parties doing deals with his companies have opted for this method – buying properties through LLCs or other companies that keep real names out of the deal.
According to USA Today, in the 2 years prior to Trump’s nomination, 4% of buyers used this method. Since then, 70% of buyers obscured their identities through LLCs and shell companies. So the whole things is both a sign of emoluments and embarrassment – no one wants to be caught doing business with Trump.
This makes it difficult for watchdogs to track whether foreign parties are doing business with Trump’s companies – the profits from which flow through a trust controlled by the Trump sons, but from which Trump can withdraw money at any time.
Trump hired an independent ethics advisor to evaluate deals for validity, ostensibly to ensure Trump does not benefit from any influx of foreign money while president. But if the parties’ true identities are obscured in the public records of these transactions, it makes it near impossible for anyone else to confirm that is the case.
“If someone wants to do business with the Trump entities in the form of an LLC, we look behind the LLC to see who the owner of it is and where the funding is coming from. If we can’t determine that, we won’t sign off on it,” Burchfield told USA TODAY.
And according to a Washington, DC expert, Burchfield’s methodology is totally subjective and that it’s very easily faked.
There’s no real way to determine whether Burchfield and the Trump companies turned away any deals for conflict of interest reasons or foreign involvement. We’ll just have to take them at their word, which unlike these $35 million in real estate transactions is worth nothing.