A clip of a 2015 audio recording, previously unreleased, undermines statements Donald Trump made under oath earlier this month.
Donald Trump testified November 6 in a fraud case accusing him of lying about his net worth to lenders and insurers. Under questioning from the New York attorney’s office, Trump spoke about his penthouse, where his net-worth statements are valued as if it spans 30,000 square feet, although it has 10,996 square feet. Trump’s testimony is a little too much, especially when considered in conjunction with a 2015 interview he gave to Forbes.
In court, the former president blamed others for the square-footage discrepancy, even though he personally pushed the lie that his apartment was three times its actual size. An audio clip from the 2015 interview, released here for the first time, shows that Trump exaggerated more than his net-worth statements, claiming that his apartment is 33,000 square feet.
Trump on Tape
During his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump invited three Forbes journalists to Trump Tower, where he lied about the size of several properties, including his penthouse at the top of the building.
“This is the entire floor of Trump Tower, so you understand,” Trump said in 2015. “It’s not like, I’ll show you. Now, it’s all over the building. Around the elevators. And I have three times three. So there’s about 11,000 feet on a floor. So I’ve got three. So 33,000—and I’ve got a roof.” Instead of accepting responsibility for the position, Trump blamed the fake numbers on non-specific “them” — presumably his former Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg and former Controller Jeffrey McConney. “I think they probably took 10,000 feet per floor,” Trump said. “I see how it’s done. They took 10,000 feet per floor, because the floors were, I believe, about 10,000 feet, and they went three times.”
Trump also confirmed that he noticed the problem and ordered Weisselberg and McConney to correct it in his net-worth statements. Indeed, Forbes discovered the square-footage discrepancy and informed Weisselberg and McConney that the apartment was 10,996 square feet in February of 2017. The Trump Organization nevertheless continued to use the incorrect square footage in a net-worth statement dated middle of March. Forbes then published an article titled “Donald Trump Has Been Lying About The Size Of His Penthouse” in May 2017. It was only after that story came out—while Donald Trump was in the White House—that the Trump Organization changed its calculations. of this to reflect the actual square footage of the apartment.
By admitting that he ordered McConney and Weisselberg to change the numbers, Trump seemed to suggest that he was involved in editing his net-worth statements after he became president. That testimony calls into question another sworn statement he gave. During a pre-trial deposition, he admitted that he did not see his net-worth statements while he was in the White House until the documents were completed. “When I became president,” he said during the deposition, “I—if I see it, I’ll see it, you know, after it’s done.”
The former president admitted during his testimony this month that his net-worth statements exaggerated the value of his penthouse. But even on the witness stand in open court, he could not tell the true size of his longtime home: 10,996 square feet. “I heard, obviously, because of the testing, they said 11 to 12 to 13,000 square feet,” Trump testified.
The former president is not the only one who has difficulty telling the truth about the apartment. Weisselberg took the stand last month, confirming that he “never thought about the apartment.” In fact, Weisselberg thought a lot about the apartment—and tried for years to convince withBEs that it is more valuable than it really is. Shortly after Forbes reported that Weisselberg lied on the stand, his testimony ended abruptly. The attorney general’s office then requested a forensic review of the Trump Organization’s data to ensure that the real-estate company complied with the subpoenas, it said. Forbes‘ reporting. The state also reserved the right to call Weisselberg back to the stand.
Donald Trump, whose lawyer did not respond to a request for comment, is expected to testify again next month.
MORE FROM FORBES
MORE FROM FORBESLive From the Trump Fraud Trial: Don Jr. Spilling Father’s Assets on the StandBy Dan Alexander MORE FROM FORBES Inside the Courtroom: A Play-By-Play Account of Ivanka Trump’s Day on the StandBy Dan Alexander MORE FROM FORBESTThe Net Worth Of Every 2024 Presidential CandidateBy Dan Alexander MORE FROM FORBESBad Accounting Or Fraud? Trump’s Profit Numbers Don’t Add UpBy Dan Alexander MORE FROM FORBESDonald Trump Drops Forbes 400 For Second Time In 3 YearsBy Dan Alexander MORE FROM FORBEANHere’s Donald Trump’s Net Worth By Dan Alexander