Trump Exploited a Loophole to Pocket 150k in Funding Meant for Small Businesses Affected by 9/11

Election '16

For all the money Donald Trump claims to have, the Republican frontrunner could not resist taking advantage of a government program designed to help small businesses in New York City recover from the economic impact of 9/11, the New York Daily News reports.

The loophole, exploited by Trump and other wealthy business owners, allowed the billionaire to pocket $150,000 for the Trump Building, a commercial space located at 40 Wall Street from the Empire State Development Corp (ESDC), the organization that processed $20 billion in federal aid allocated to rebuilding downtown Manhattan.

According to the Daily News, the state’s loose rules for what constitutes a small business enabled Trump and other wealthy business owners to profit off the federal aid. The money was originally intended for mom-and-pop shops whose businesses were threatened by a lack of foot traffic in the aftermath of the attacks. Per the Daily News:

One couldn’t tell from ESDC records, for example, that “40 Wall Street LLC” is owned by Trump … But the ESDC’s rules transformed Trump into a small-business man. His company collected a $150,000 grant for losses at 40 Wall St. The grant application describes the corporation through which Trump owns that building as having 28 employees and $26.

Poor oversight at ESDC meant that Trump was able to claim “40 Wall Street LLC” as having only $26, despite the fact that, as the Daily News reports, his business earned $8 million annually. The cutoff to collect federal funding was $6 million.

Rep. Jerry Nadler, who fought to secure funding for small businesses called Trump’s use of the money “indefensible,” adding, "It's unfortunate because it meant a lot of the small businesses didn't get that money." 

Considering his willingness to snatch up public funds designated for those less fortunate, it’s a tad ironic that Trump is so unwilling to pay his fair taxes. The Republican frontrunner has repeatedly said his tax rate is none of the public’s business, noting he fights “very hard to pay as little tax as possible.” And a USA Today analysis published Thursday found Trump’s businesses are currently engaged in over 100 lawsuits over unpaid taxes and tax-related disputes.

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