President Trump on Wednesday defended his deal-making prowess after the New York Times reported that he got millions in loans forgiven after his skyscraper in Chicago got into financial straits.
“As a developer long ago, and continuing to this day, the politicians ran Chicago into the ground. I was able to make an appropriately great deal with the numerous lenders on a large and very beautiful tower,” the president wrote in a post on Twitter. “Doesn’t that make me a smart guy rather than a bad guy?”
The newspaper reported that Trump managed to maneuver himself out of a bad financial situation involving his 92-story Trump International Hotel & Tower and get a number of financial institutions to forgive about $287 million in debt he failed to repay.
The reporting is based on the president’s federal income tax documents that the newspaper obtained.
Construction on the project began in 2005 but the building encountered problems in selling the condo units and renting out retail space.
Workers install the final letter for a sign on the outside of Trump Tower in Chicago in 2014.Scott Olson/Getty Images
At first Trump tried to walk away from the debts, but eventually was able to cut a deal with his creditors, which, the report said, did not want to get into a protracted legal entanglement with the litigious developer.
The banks and hedge funds initially gave him more time to make good on the debts, but Trump sued.
Eventually, they ended up forgiving the debt.
The report said Trump paid almost no income tax on that money, citing huge losses in other businesses.
Alan Garten, the Trump Organization’s chief legal officer, told the Times that the company paid all taxes due on the forgiven debts.
“These were all arm’s length transactions that were voluntarily entered into between sophisticated parties many years ago in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis and the resulting collapse of the real estate markets,” Garten said.