DealBook Briefing: How Trump Reaped Riches From His Father

Donald Trump and his father, Fred, in 1973.

Donald Trump and his father, Fred, in 1973. Barton Silverman/The New York Times

Trump’s empire was built on gifts and tax dodges
The president claims that his company was built solely through hard work. A 14,000-word investigation by the NYT begs to differ. It found that the Trump Organization owes its success to multimillion-dollar gifts from Fred C. Trump, President Trump’s father, and tax schemes that some experts say may have broken the law.
Highlights from the investigation:
• His father’s housing empire started paying Mr. Trump during childhood — the equivalent of $200,000 a year in today’s money when he was three.
• Mr. Trump has often said that his father lent him only $1 million. He received at least $60.7 million in loans, many never repaid.
• Fred Trump grossly undervalued properties that he passed onto his children, dodging hundreds of millions in gift taxes.
• The Trumps created a company that inflated the value of equipment purchased for their housing units and passed the difference onto the Trump children. One tax expert said that might have constituted criminal tax fraud.
The statute of limitations has passed for potential criminal charges, but the Trump family could face civil fines. New York State’s tax regulator said it has opened an investigation.
A lawyer for Mr. Trump has threatened to sue the NYT.
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Today’s DealBook Briefing was written by Andrew Ross Sorkin in New York, and Michael J. de la Merced and Jamie Condliffe in London.
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An employee at an Amazon warehouse in San Francisco.

An employee at an Amazon warehouse in San Francisco. Jeffrey Dastin/Reuters

Amazon’s wage increase is both shield and sword
In raising its minimum wage for all U.S. employees to $15 an hour, Amazon was responding to criticism over its labor practices. But the move also helps it compete in a tight labor market — and potentially wounds its rivals.
Amazon has taken fire from all political corners, including President Trump and Senator Elizabeth Warren, over issues from worker conditions to anti-competitive practices. This policy, which affects 250,000 employees and 100,000 seasonal workers, buys it some political good will: Senator Bernie Sanders praised it as a “shot heard round the world.”
Amazon also knew it had to do something to keep delivery drivers and warehouse staff as unemployment has fallen. Target and Walmart already raised hourly wages, though not so far or so fast.
Amazon’s profit margins will undoubtedly take a hit. But the WSJ editorial board argues that, in lobbying for a higher federal minimum wage, the company is making life more expensive for rivals.