March 2023

The role Forbes reporters played in uncovering Trump’s financial maneuvers


Dan Alexander, a senior editor at Forbes covering Donald Trump’s businesses, writes about the magazine’s role in uncovering some of the allegations disclosed in the lawsuit Wednesday by New York attorney general Letitia James.

Alexander writes, “As part of the attorney general’s investigation, Donald Trump received a subpoena last year, requesting eight sets of documents. Most of them fell into categories you might expect to see in a subpoena designed to discover whether someone falsified financial information: balance sheets, debt documents, insurance paperwork and so on. But fraud statutes in New York State require prosecutors to prove intent. One set of requested materials—’all documents and communications with Forbes magazine’—seemed tailored to do just that.

“For decades, Trump and his lieutenants lied to Forbes about his finances, as we have duly noted over the years in the annual Forbes 400 issue listing the richest Americans. In the 1982 inaugural edition, the real estate scion appeared alongside his father with a combined estimated net worth of $200 million—and even then insisted on a higher valuation: ‘Donald claims $500 million,’ we noted. By 2000, the boasts were bolder: ‘In The Donald’s world, worth more than $5 billion—back on Earth, worth considerably less.’ When he was running for office, we explained how his net-worth obsession ‘opens windows into Trump the entrepreneur, the candidate and the person.’ Two Forbes journalists received subpoenas last year from the Manhattan district attorney and had to testify before a grand jury to confirm information in two articles detailing Trump’s shenanigans.”

Read more here.


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