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Trump Inc – a podcast series from ProPublica and WNYC – #35 – The Numbers Don’t Match – REPOSTED

25/05/2021

I posted this some considerable time ago, but with the focus on recent moves by the NY AG and the NYC DA I decided it would be a good time to repost this

About the series

Podcasts are a good form for presenting the surreality of this era, Eric Umansky, an editor at ProPublica, told me recently. “You can capture the absurdity in ways that you can’t in text,” he said. The excellent investigative podcast that he works on, “Trump Inc.,” from WNYC and ProPublica, began in February and concludes next week. Its premise is at once straightforward and audacious: it asks big, specific questions about Donald Trump’s famously mysterious business dealings, including those concerning possible connections between his Presidency and his profits; investigates them; and encourages listeners to pitch in and help. It features several personable, savvy-sounding reporters: Andrea Bernstein and Ilya Marritz, of WNYC, and Jesse Eisinger and Heather Vogell, of ProPublica, and it has a collaborative spirit. Reporters from other outlets (including The New Yorker’s Adam Davidson) offer additional information and insights. One episode features David Fahrenthold, of the Washington Post, answering listener questions; another was inspired by a comment that Fahrenthold made about Trump suing local municipalities in which he had businesses; a listener tip resulted in a mini-episode about Trump commissioning golf-tee markers with the Presidential seal on them. Umansky told me that one “superfan” listener “went to the courthouse in Westchester to look up cases for us.” Everybody gets to be a detective. Or, as the show’s Web site puts it, “Help Us Dive Into the Swamp.” 

 

 

About this episode – The Numbers Don’t Match

 

Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is serving prison time for understating his income to the IRS, and for overstating his income to banks. Trump’s former executive vice president and special counsel, Michael Cohen, is also serving prison time, for, among other things, making false statements to a bank. 

And Donald Trump? A lot of people want to see his taxes: At least two congressional committees. The Manhattan District Attorney. Trump doesn’t want ANYONE to see them. He’s gone to court three times to make sure they stay secret. The court fight is ongoing. Trump’s tax documents remain walled off.

Heather Vogell of ProPublica found some anyway. She compared them to financial documents Trump filed with his lender — and discovered that certain key numbers don’t match. 

Heather spoke with over a dozen experts in accounting, law, and real estate. Not a single one of them could explain the discrepancies away.

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