THE TRUMP BUILDING.
IN the heart of New York City’s Financial District stands a skinny tower with a limestone base and a copper crown, aged green like the Statue of Liberty. Tenants on the top floors can gaze out at Lady Liberty and the rest of New York Harbor. The entrance at ground level, just steps away from another American icon, the New York Stock Exchange, welcomes visitors with big gold letters that spell out
It’s an impressive property, the sort that most landlords would let speak for itself. But that’s not the Trump way. Ever since the real estate mogul acquired a long-term lease on the property in 1995, he has been boasting about the building, saying it is bigger, taller and more valuable than it actually is. On September 11, 2001, the day atrocity turned 40 Wall Street into the second-tallest tower in Lower Manhattan, Trump infamously went on TV and proclaimed: “Now it’s the tallest.” Over the years, the Trump Organization has submitted piles of misleading information about the building to the public, the media and the real estate rm’s lenders. Now the property is wrapped up in an investigation by New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, who is looking into whether the Trump Organization intentionally manipulated numbers to inate the value of its assets when it wanted to make itself look more creditworthy to nancial institutions.
As part of the inquiry, Donald Trump received a subpoena last year, requesting eight sets of documents. Most of them fell into categories you might expect to see in a subpoena designed to discover whether someone falsi ed nancial information: balance sheets, debt documents, insurance paperwork and so on. But fraud statutes in New York State require prosecutors to prove intent. One set of requested materials—“all documents and communications with Forbes magazine”—seemed tailored to do just that.
For decades, Trump and his lieutenants lied to Forbes about his nances, as we have duly noted over the years in the annual Forbes 400 issue listing the richest Americans. In the 1982 inaugural edition, the real estate scion appeared alongside his father with a combined estimated net worth of $200 million—and even then insisted on a higher valuation: “Donald claims $500 million,” we noted. By 2000, the boasts were bolder: “In The Donald’s world, worth more than $5 billion—back on Earth, worth considerably less.” When he was running for oce, we explained how his networth obsession “opens windows into Trump the entrepreneur, the candidate and the person.” Two Forbes journalists received subpoenas last year from the Manhattan district attorney and had to testify before a grand jury to con rm information in two articles detailing Trump’s shenanigans.
The former president’s lies have suddenly assumed greater signi cance. They now constitute potential evidence in multiple investigations—a civil case by the state attorney general and a criminal one by the Manhattan D.A.—with the potential to cost Trump millions of dollars and, perhaps, another chance at the White House. He has denied any wrong