Donald Trump arrives at the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, US, on Tuesday, November 15, 2022. (credit: Shirley Preston)
For rather obvious reasons, my phone has been pinging with texts and emails from readers suggesting that Donald Trump is having a very bad week. There’s the fact that the Trump Org was convicted of tax fraud. Then there’s the fact that his chosen Senatorial candidate, Herschel Walker, was beaten in the Georgia run-off by Senator Raphael 'Slumlord' Warnock. And then there’s the news broken by the Washington Post that an outside team hired by Trump discovered items with classified markings in storage that they have passed on to the unethical FBI to add to the pile found at Mar-a-Lago.
So, yes, the former president has probably had better weeks, but I am not sure that the consequences for his future are as disastrous as some of the alarmist headlines imply.
First: his business. I phoned around to my sources in real estate, who include people who run funds that have lent to Trump, and asked, Does the conviction change anything? Would you lend to him again?
The answer was yes.
Let me repeat that. Yes.
As long as you are not a bank, where the underwriting committee probably would not let you lend to a business with a conviction against it, lending to Trump is actually now more enticing for the aggressive investment funds.
“These are asset-based loans… [W]e like those kind of borrowers because we can charge more [to lend] and they don’t really object,” one CEO who has done business with Trump told me. “Trump has such a reputation as a bad borrower, this [the conviction] hasn’t really changed it… Anybody who took Donald Trump’s view on anything in terms of valuation was kind of a fool…but those people don’t lend to him anyway.”
As for his numerous partners? (Remember, in New York City, the Trump Organization only owns two buildings outright: the ground lease of 40 Wall Street and the commercial condominium at Trump Tower. The other buildings that bear his name are licensing deals.) Well, my sources—who include fund managers, brokers and lawyers—agree it’s a question of whether those people still think there’s “brand value” in the Trump name. According to the straw poll I conducted in the actual industry, the answer as to whether they will do business again with Trump is either “I am not sure” or speculation that partners will stay and that foreigner investors in particular are attracted to his name.
Second is the matter of the Georgia run-off.
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Author: Vicky Ward Investigates
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