(Getty/Mike Ehrmann)

Trump lawsuit claims his golf course is worth less than he claimed it was

In what has become a yearly tradition, Trump is suing over the value of his signature Florida golf course


Charlie May
January 31, 2018 6:41PM (UTC)

For the fifth year in a row, President Donald Trump is suing the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser over the valuation of his golf club in Jupiter, Florida, because he believes he's being charged too much money in taxes.

The county estimated the value of the 131-acre Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter to be $19.7 million, even though the president's financial disclosures from 2016 and 2017 valued the property at "over $50 million," the Palm Beach Post reported.

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Trump received a $398,315 bill from the Palm Beach County Tax Collector as a result of the county's valuation. In turn, Trump wired the county $296,595.01 and sent a lawsuit, claiming the money was "a good faith estimate" of how much the president truly owed, the Post reported.

Even as president, Trump is not afraid to exercise his influence and power to bully local officials into slashing taxes for him.

The irony is that by carrying out the lawsuit, despite having never won in the past, Trump is admitting his property is worth far less than what he himself previously valued it at.

The Post elaborated:

While Trump’s three-page suit doesn’t say how much he thinks the course should be worth, Jupiter Golf Club pays property taxes at a rate of 2 percent. So by claiming he was overcharged by $101,720, Trump asserts that the property is worth $15 million, and that the appraiser overvalued the course by more than $5 million.

Trump has long been secretive about his finances and not-so-secret about his desire for fewer taxes. But experts have expressed that estimating the value of properties isn't always an easy task and has more to do with the property's economics, rather than its size or location.

"Forget about price per acre. Forget about closer to the ocean," Larry Hirsch, an appraiser in Pennsylvania and author of "Golf Property Analysis and Valuation: A Modern Approach," told the Post. "The way you evaluate a property like that is based on its economics, and how much money it makes."

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It goes to show that even after being elected to the highest office in the land, Trump is still willing to engage in petty feuds and sue public officials because of taxes. Concerns over conflicts of interest and his shadowy finances have been an issue since Trump's time on the campaign trial. Since being in office, Trump has repeatedly continued to come under fire about releasing his tax returns and distancing himself from numerous potential conflicts of interest. His administration, of course, was also stacked with members that had conflicting interests, such as the head of the CDC, who resigned on Wednesday as a result.


Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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