By BERNARD CONDON, Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) — A bank’s decision to loan Donald Trump’s company $100 million is the latest evidence the former president may survive fraud investigations and a business backlash over to his efforts to stay in power after losing the 2020 elections.
San Diego-based Axos Bank finalized the loan with the Trump Organization on Feb. 17, according to documents filed with the city on Tuesday.
It is only three days after public revelations that the Republican’s longtime accountants had disavowed the decade-long worth of his financial statements amid allegations by the New York attorney general that they exaggerated his wealth.
The Axos loan is being used to pay off an old commercial space-backed loan at Trump Tower that was coming due in September.
A year ago, it seemed possible that Trump would become an outcast after his supporters stormed the US Capitol in an attempt to prevent a vote certifying President Joe Biden’s election victory. Banks, insurers and other business partners have all cut ties following the riot.
Last year, the Trump Organization was indicted in New York for helping executives evade taxes. And for the past two years, the company has been the subject of civil and criminal investigations by New York Attorney General Letitia James and the Manhattan District Attorney.
But in the fall, Trump struck a deal to sell his Washington hotel for far more than expected. And a partnership he’s involved with that owns two office towers recently took out new loans for far more than needed to pay off old ones coming due.
“He bounces back,” says Barbara Res, a former Trump Organization executive who is not a fan and has even urged people not to vote for him.
“If a guy brings me a property with good cash flow, a good location, and good tenants, why do I care about his politics?” says Mike Offit, a former Deutsche Bank lender to Trump who is now a real estate finance consultant. “Trump has good buildings and manages them well.”
The Trump Organization declined to disclose the interest rate on the new loan and other terms. Axos, citing customer privacy rules, would not comment.
Asked to comment on this story, one of Trump’s sons criticized reporters for portraying the family business as struggling.
“We should never have been underestimated,” Eric Trump said in an emailed statement, adding, “We have very low debt, sit on huge sums of money, and have properties. extremely profitable.”
Assessing the overall financial health of the Trump Organization is difficult, given that it is a private company that releases few numbers publicly.
During his presidency, Trump’s name was removed from hotels and residential towers in several cities. His Scottish golf course has lost millions and the apartments in his buildings are selling at very favorable prices.
The coronavirus closures have added to the problems. Revenue at the company’s largest golf property, the Doral outside of Miami, plunged $33 million in the two years to 2021, down 44%, according to financial records obtained. by a government ethics agency.
Then came the Capitol riots and a rush to exit as Trump’s longtime trade office broker, his two biggest lenders, the PGA of America and others severed ties.
The company that helped her shop around her Washington hotel also severed their relationship after pulling her off the market due to a lack of demand. New York City announced it was canceling all municipal contracts with Trump, including the rights to operate a public golf course in the Bronx. Eric Trump called the city’s move a product of “cancel culture” and vowed to fight it.
The city’s decision to eject Trump from the course has been blocked in court and now, several months after Trump was supposed to leave, he is still running it, his name spelled out on a hill in giant cobblestones seen for miles. The Trump Organization says it will be fine but the city has to pay it $30 million first.
Meanwhile, Trump’s largest office buildings, though ailing, have not seen a massive exodus of tenants.
One of its major commercial tenants, Gucci, decided last year to extend its Trump Tower lease for another 16 years, according to financial documents from commercial lending research firm Trepp.
This building generated $19 million in revenue in the first nine months of last year, down from previous years but enough to pay expenses and interest.
Axos has previously made loans backed by at least two properties owned by Kushner Cos., the family real estate company once run by Trump son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner. The bank also benefited from a policy change in the Trump administration allowing high-interest loans.
The Trump Tower loan follows other mortgage refinance deals on a building in San Francisco and for a Sixth Avenue tower in New York, both 30% owned by the Trump Organization and 70% by listed real estate giant Vornado.
On at least one of those transactions arranged by Vornado, the partnership borrowed more money than it owed on the old loan, and Trump’s share of that extra money could have been as high as $200 million, according to the size of its stake.
Trump’s company still has many more loans to refinance, including a $125 million involving Doral, due next year.
More than a dozen hotel brokers and pundits who spoke to The Associated Press in recent months had opined that Trump was unlikely to make any money from the sale of his long-term lease of the hotel. former post office building, a federal property that he began to convert into a hotel. almost a decade ago.
But then a Miami firm teamed up with former Yankees star Alex Rodriguez to offer $375 million for the losing property. The deal still needs to be approved by a federal agency overseeing the building.
Mar-a-Lago — Trump’s property in Palm Beach, Florida — is also doing good business, with initiation fees rising as GOP groups and politicians regularly hold events there in hopes of a visit of the president, and perhaps of a coveted imprimatur.
Trump’s social media company, which aimed to take on Twitter, had a botched launch fraught with issues and freezes as people who signed up were locked out and fuming.
Still, investors have kept shares of the company linked to the Truth Social app up in the air, confident it will prevail against naysayers. At current prices, Trump’s personal stake could be worth billions.
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