Is Donald Trump Really a Billionaire?

Is the new Republican nominee for President of the United States really celebrity millionaire Donald Trump? Donald Trump’s whole brand, arching from the realm of real estate and reality tv to now politics, rests on his having the Big B.

But could he really have Low B or even No B?

Back in 2009, Trump sued journalist Timothy O’Brien for calling him a “millionaire” not a “billionaire.” O’Brien quoted source claiming Trump’s net worth late in the last decade somewhere under $250 million. But as the Hollywood Reporter reported in 2011, not long after his humiliation at the White House Correspondents Dinner, Trump lost that suit.

That doesn’t mean the claim was correct. Trump’s a public figure so he needed to meet the very high bar of proving malice on O’Brien’s part. But clearly having his billionaire status questioned is a big, big deal to Trump.

But there’s more!

As O’Brien notes in a piece that came out last night from Bloomberg, as part of that suit he and his lawyers got access to Trump’s tax returns from the first decade of this century. First they were almost comically redacted form; later they were a bit less redacted. To be clear, this was all seven or eight years ago. So these aren’t current returns. But as part of a settlement, court orders prevent O’Brien and his lawyers from discussing what’s in the returns.

So at the moment, a leading journalist is barred by Court order from revealing what he knows about highly relevant information relating a national election. But in the Bloomberg piece he lays out four key areas they ‘might’ shed light on. So he seems to be signaling what’s there while remaining within the bounds of the court order barring him talking.

It’s basically treated as a given that Trump’s pads his wealth. So maybe he claims he’s worth $10 billion and he’s only worth $4B etc. But what if he’s not even a billionaire? Is that what the tax returns might reveal or at perhaps that he’s only holding on in the billionaire status?

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