Since winning the Republican nomination, President Trump‘s businesses have sold at least 32 luxury condos and home lots for about $20 million to shell companies that shield the identities of buyers.
The identities of people paying the President’s companies for real estate may come under a microscope as the special counsel investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election expands his probe to examine Trump’s business transactions.
USA TODAY journalists have spent nine months cataloging every condo, penthouse or other property that Trump’s companies sell and tracking every buyer. We welcome the public’s help to document people behind these shell companies and deals.
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So far, the USA TODAY investigation has found that since President Trump won the Republican nomination, 70% of his companies’ real estate sales are to secretive shell companies that obscure the buyers’ identities. In the two years before the nomination, just 4% of Trump condo and home buyers were taking the extra steps to make their transactions more opaque.
The ongoing investigation found Trump’s companies owned more than 430 individual properties worth well over $250 million. The companies have sold at least 30 of those, for more than $33 million, since Election Day, most to limited liability companies.
Profits from sales of those properties flow through a trust run by Trump’s sons. The president is the sole beneficiary of the trust and can withdraw cash any time.
From luxury condos and penthouses in Las Vegas and New York to oceanfront lots near Los Angeles, USA TODAY is tracking each buyer of property from Trump’s companies, particularly real estate deals that involve limited liability companies.
To identify buyers, reporters searched public records, including deeds, mortgages and incorporation records in the U.S. and abroad. In each case so far, reporters identified at least one named person associated with the shell companies behind the purchases. In many cases, buyers talked about their purchases. Others declined to answer questions.
Many people who buy real estate via a limited liability company are doing so on the advice of financial professionals for legitimate reasons, but the method also makes it more difficult to identify all of the parties involved in the deal.
Here’s what we know so far about each limited liability company that has bought a property from Trump since he won the GOP nomination.