What is The Donald worth? Who really knows? Donald Trump himself probably does not know, but during his latest presidential campaign, he has claimed a net worth of over $10 billion. On Wednesday, 22 July 2015, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) released Trump's 92-page financial disclosure form listing Trump's assets and liabilities, and the answer on Trump's net worth is still "Who really knows?"
The FEC forms were not made to handle a candidate with Trump's wealth and complexity of holdings. Assets and income are listed in broad ranges, including the category of "over $50 million." Trump listed 23 assets as being over $50 million, containing the most valuable real estate entities (the majority of Trump's wealth). Over thirty other entities (mostly licensing arrangements) did not list a value, containing the phrase "value not readily ascertainable."
The low mark for Trump's assets is $1.4 billion and surely, they are far more than that. Debt is similarly difficult to pin down as four of the fifteen sources of debt are listed as "over $50 million," but the total appears to exceed $260 million. Total income tops $380 million, but again the ranges make it impossible to get a final value.
Simply listing the business interests and positions held takes up more pages than some candidates might need for their entire form. In the first category, Filer's Positions Held Outside the United States Government (business ventures, partnerships, chairmanships, memberships, presidencies, and trusts), Trump lists 515 different ventures. All but 28 of them are still active — and over half of the venture's names start with "Trump." Trump is listed as "President" at some point in over 85% of the ventures. Who says Trump doesn't have Presidential experience?
Here are some of the other interesting tidbits from the financial form.
- Golf Courses/Resorts – While Trump's real estate holdings tend to be associated with offices and residential buildings, golf courses and resorts bring in around half of his income. These developments netted around $200 million in income, led by $49 million from Trump National Doral in Miami..
- Speaking Engagements – Trump earned $1.75 million from speeches, ranging from $50,000 from the International Council of Shopping Centers, Inc. to three $450,000-each speeches at ACN Inc., a marketing company in the telecommunications field. .
- Pension – Thanks to The Apprentice, Trump earned a $110,000 pension from the Screen Actors Guild. .
- Books – Of the Donald's fourteen books, only three brought in royalties above $200 during the filing period, led by the two most recent ones: 2011's Time to Get Tough at $50,000-$100,000 and 2009's Think Like A Champion at $5,000-$15,000. 1987's The Art of the Deal is still hanging in there at $15,000-$50,000 in royalties..
- Name Value – Trump earned at least $9.5 million in licensing the Trump name to other ventures, and his wife Melania earned $105,000 from licensing deals on skin-care and fashion products, among other things. This area will likely take a hit given the sponsorships that Trump alienated with his comments.
- Other Assets – At least $78 million of the Donald's assets are in stocks, hedge funds, mutual funds, and gold. Most of the stock holdings are in solid Fortune 500 companies including Apple, AT&T, Nike, and Microsoft. Trump holds two large (by our standards) checking and savings accounts; one with JPMorgan Chase, containing between $1 million and $5 million, and a Capital One account, containing $5 million-$25 million.
For those of you with a free afternoon (or couple of days) to peruse it, the full 92-page form may be read online here.
Given that much of Trump's holdings are in real estate and trademarks — assets that are difficult to quantify — it is not surprising that his net worth is still a matter of debate. In the end, does anybody really care how much Donald Trump is worth? The real question is whether he is fit to be President of the United States.
A growing number of Republicans seem to think so. As of this writing Trump holds a double-digit lead in the polls over his fifteen Republican rivals, despite inflammatory statements — and perhaps because of them. Hang on, folks; it is going to be an interesting primary season.