Trump's Net Worth Drops to $2.8 Billion, Lowest Since 2015
(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump’s net worth slipped to $2.8 billion, a decline of $100 million over the past year, as revenue at his namesake Fifth Avenue tower and golf courses fell.
The drop, the second in two years, is based on figures compiled by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index from lenders, property records, annual reports, market data and a May 16 financial disclosure. It occurred as Trump began his second year in the White House and his name was stripped from buildings in Toronto, Manhattan and Panama.
The most recent estimate, down from $2.9 billion last June, is the lowest since Bloomberg began tracking Trump’s wealth in 2015. The biggest declines, totaling $220 million, came from adjacent buildings in midtown Manhattan: 6 E. 57th St., which previously housed a Niketown store, and Trump Tower, where lower occupancy resulted in less income.
The Trump Organization’s 16 golf and resort properties also dropped in value, by $70 million, as revenue fell at some courses and gained at others. Losers included Trump’s Doral, Palm Beach and Mar-a-Lago clubs in Florida, while his courses in Scotland and Ireland posted revenue gains. Annual reports for those overseas properties, which have historically lost money, are expected later this year and will show whether they were profitable. Overall, the clubs are now worth about $650 million, based on lower valuations across the industry.
Amanda Miller, a spokeswoman for the Trump Organization, took issue with Bloomberg’s use of some borough-wide real estate data in estimating the value of Manhattan properties, arguing that Trump’s buildings are in desirable neighborhoods. “The location of a property affects the rents it can achieve,” she said in an email. Bloomberg’s methodology reduces “the value of our prime New York real estate assets.”
The declines were mostly offset by gains elsewhere in Trump’s empire. Office towers in New York and San Francisco that Trump co-owns with Vornado Realty Trust grew in value to $575 million from $500 million. Net income at the New York building at 1290 Sixth Ave. surpassed $95 million last year, its highest since 2013, according to data filed by Vornado to the property’s lenders.
The Trump International Hotel in Washington, a magnet for lobbyists, conservative politicians and foreign governments, posted $40 million of revenue in its first full year of operation. That increased its value by $30 million, to $100 million, based on sales multiples for similar hotel operators.
The president’s companies also have $30 million less debt after paying down bonds on the former Niketown location and loans for an office tower at 40 Wall St. and retail spaces at Trump Plaza and Trump International Hotel & Tower in New York. The debt load is now at least $520 million.
Trump’s fortune doesn’t qualify him for Bloomberg’s list of the world’s 500 richest people, which bottoms out at $4 billion. The collective wealth of that group increased 9.4 percent in the past year.
The president’s own estimates of his net worth are frequently higher than independent appraisals. When Trump announced his candidacy in 2015, his campaign said he was worth $8.7 billion. After Bloomberg first assessed his net worth that year at $2.9 billion, he described it as “a stupid report.” He later said he was worth more than $10 billion.
Trump’s net worth could be higher than estimated if he owns assets or has received payments that aren’t publicly known, or if he sells properties at values above market averages. It could be lower if he has undisclosed debts or partners, or if companies for which only top-line revenue figures are reported are unprofitable.
Trump bucked tradition by not divesting assets that might pose conflicts for his presidency. Rather than sell parts of his company and place the proceeds in a blind trust, he put his sons Eric and Donald Jr. in charge.
The move has drawn criticism and at least three lawsuits because it creates an opportunity to influence the president through private business. One of Trump Tower’s largest tenants is Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., a state-owned entity, and Trump’s Washington hotel has hosted foreign dignitaries. Lawyers for Trump have said the matter should be determined by Congress, not courts, and that the part of the Constitution that plaintiffs say Trump violated wasn’t intended to ban commercial transactions.
Some business setbacks provided an infusion of cash in the form of breakup and other fees. While Trump’s name was removed in September from a 65-story tower in Toronto after its owners defaulted on debt, his management company generated $2.3 million in fees and other contract payments, according to the president’s financial disclosure filed with the Office of Government Ethics. That’s an increase from $559,904 the previous year.
Trump International Hotels Management got a similar boost thanks to the inclusion of breakup fees after owners of the Trump SoHo Hotel bought out Trump’s management and licensing contract, pushing revenue to $17.1 million from $2.9 million in last year’s disclosure.
The Trump Organization has talked about expanding its hotel business through two new brands, Scion and American Dream, but there’s scant evidence that either is providing the company significant income. SC Cleveland MS Management LLC, an entity connected to the company’s plans for hotels in Mississippi, received $26,667 in management fees. Another, Westminster Hotel Management LLC, is tied to a New Jersey property owned by the family of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser. An entity affiliated with the Kushners paid the Trump company $20,002.
Nike Inc. left Trump’s Manhattan building this year, but the apparel maker’s new landlords are covering its rent. That means the income Trump derives from the building is unchanged, and will be until at least 2022, when the lease is up for renewal.
The exit could be a boon. Nike signed its lease in 1995 and was paying well below current market rates. But the opportunity comes at a bad time, as online retailers such as Amazon.com Inc. erode business at brick-and-mortar stores. Manhattan has been facing a crisis of empty storefronts, and the universe of potential tenants for the eight-story building would probably be narrowed to companies looking for a large flagship store, people familiar with the market say.
Capitalization rates, which benchmark the potential value of buildings based on the net operating income they generate, jumped in the past year for Manhattan retail, according to data from Real Capital Analytics, cutting the building’s value 21 percent to $460 million.
“While there are many factors that are utilized in establishing a capitalization rate, location is one of its key elements,” said Miller, the Trump spokeswoman. “The location of a property affects the rents it can achieve, which directly impacts net operating income.”
There are also signs of trouble around the corner at Trump Tower, where rising taxes and lower occupancy rates have depressed profit. The building had $5.7 million of net operating income in the first half of 2017, according to the most recently available figures submitted to its lenders, putting it on track to earn $2.7 million less than it did in the previous year, when the building was 89 percent occupied. The tower’s value fell by $100 million to $350 million as capitalization rates for Manhattan office properties climbed.
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