The New York Times reported on 20 August 2016 that, having employed a property information firm to search publicly available data on more than 30 U.S. properties connected to the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump (including offices and golf courses), they found that companies belonging to Donald Trump have at least $650 million in debt, more than twice the amount shown in public filings made by his presidential campaign.
In addition to the $650 million in liabilities, the Times reported that “a substantial portion of [Trump’s] wealth is tied up in three passive partnerships that owe an additional $2 billion to a string of lenders.”
That level of debt that could significantly affect the valuation of Trump’s wealth, an important factor given that the New York business magnate frequently cites his business acumen as one of his major qualifications for the presidency and often campaigns on a self-claimed spectacular real estate record, asserting he is worth $10 billion.
But estimating Trump’s true net worth is a near impossible task for outsiders, as he has repeatedly declined to disclose his tax returns or allow an independent valuation of his assets. The Times noted that Trump’s campaign filings show his businesses owed at least $315 million and that those filings appeared to be accurate, so their report was not in itself evidence of wrongdoing since Trump is not required to disclose all of his business activities. But the Times observed that their investigation “underscored how much of Mr Trump’s business remains shrouded in mystery” and “found that Mr Trump’s fortunes depend deeply on a wide array of financial backers, including one he has cited in attacks during his campaign.”
Trump’s lenders include one of the largest banks in China, a country the Republican candidate has often accused of being a U.S. economic foe, and the investment bank Goldman Sachs, a financial firm he has said influences his opponent, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.