February 2, 2019
Donald Trump Made $35 Million From His Company's Real Estate Sales Last Year, Report Finds

Donald Trump personally made $35 million from his company's real estate sales last year, a new report found, raising concerns about the president's failure to divest from his company.

The report from Forbes (via the Daily Beast) found that Trump benefited largely from two major real estate sales, including a federally subsidized housing complex in Brooklyn that sold for an estimated $900 million. Trump personally made $20 million from the sale and netted another $5.5 million from the sale of 36 units of a 64-story tower in Las Vegas.

As the report noted, the Las Vegas sale had some major concerns as there was no record of the buyers, leaving open the possibility that foreign agents were using the sales to curry influence with Donald Trump.

"About one-third of the Las Vegas buyers worked through limited liability companies, or LLCs, which allow them to hide their identities—meaning there's no way to know who's paying the president. And one of the Vegas residents listed his home address as Taiyuan City, China, despite the fact that one of Trump's lawyers promised that 'No new foreign deals will be made whatsoever during the duration of President Trump's presidency.' "
The news came as Trump's company came under fire for allegations that it knowingly hired illegal immigrants as staff and even helped them obtain fake documents to work there. That led Democratic Congressman Raul Grijalva to call for an FBI investigation into potential violations of criminal and civil law. Grijalva said he spoke with former employees of the Trump Organization who were fired during the government shutdown.
As AZ Central reported, Grijalva claimed that the employees described "an elaborate ploy by the Trump Organization to systematically procure cheap immigrant labor and employ undocumented immigrants — despite knowing that the documents they provided were false."

Donald Trump had also been criticized for failing to divest from his company, as all other past presidents had with their business interests. Though Trump claimed that he stepped away from day-to-day oversight, critics say control went to his adult children who would likely still report directly to him. That has raised concerns of improper foreign influences by those who purchase properties and stay at Trump's hotels.

Despite Donald Trump donating his entire salary as president to various charitable causes, critics say he is able to pull in even more money through increased activity at his properties and by a sharp rise in fees for membership at his Mar-a-Lago resort after he won the presidency.