New report suggests Donald Trump's debts are $1.5 billion higher than previously indicated

The president-elect has declared $315 million in debt, but the actual amount may be five times higher

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published January 11, 2017 4:20PM (EST)

President-elect Donald Trump speaks with reporters after meeting French businessman Bernard Arnault at Trump Tower in New York, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP)
President-elect Donald Trump speaks with reporters after meeting French businessman Bernard Arnault at Trump Tower in New York, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (AP)

President-elect Donald Trump may have declared that he owes $315 million to 10 separate lenders, but a new report suggests that his debt could be much, much higher.

A new report by The Wall Street Journal suggests that, when businesses in which Trump has at least a 30 percent stake are considered, the president-elect's companies owe roughly $1.5 billion in additional debt to more than 150 institutions. Most of that debt has been repackaged and purchased by investors.

His creditors include Wells Fargo & Co, a bank that is under investigation for fraudulent practices including opening as many as 2 million accounts without the knowledge or consent of their customers. The report claimed that Wells Fargo is the trustee or administration of $282 million of loans to Trump and his companies, as well as a $950 million debt being paid by property partly owned by the president-elect. He also owes money to JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock, Deutsche Bank and Prudential.

"The problem with any of this debt is if something goes wrong, and if there is a situation where the president is suddenly personally beholden or vulnerable to threats from the lenders," said Trevor Potter, a former legal adviser to George H. W. Bush and John McCain, to The Wall Street Journal.

Lawrence Noble, a former lawyer to the Federal Election Commission, echoed these sentiments. "The appearance of potential conflicts is dangerous and seriously exists in this situation."

Concerns about Trump's numerous conflicts of interest have dogged the president-elect since his election on Nov. 8. Despite having businesses and debts spread throughout the world due to the sweep his business empire, Trump has only taken minimal steps to address these concerns.

There are even reports that he has used his political power to bring profit to businesses like his hotel in Washington, D.C.

 


By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. His diverse interests are reflected in his interview, including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), media entrepreneur Dan Abrams, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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Conflict Of Interest Donald Trump Donald Trump Businesses