Ivanka Trump Misled Real Estate Investors About Her Dad's Properties, A New Report Claims
According to a sweeping new report by ProPublica and WNYC, Ivanka Trump gave false sales figures about Trump Organization properties in four different countries over the last decade. While promoting Trump-branded buildings in Toronto, New York, Baja, and Panama, Ivanka reportedly made flatly incorrect claims to potential investors about the popularity of the properties — namely, regarding how many units had been sold and for what price.
Neither the White House nor the Trump Organization has responded to Bustle's request for comment on the allegations in ProPublica and WNYC's report.
The ProPublica and WNYC report focuses on how Donald Trump and his family members represented Trump Organization developments to investors, and the gaps between those representations and the truth. The investigation found that Donald frequently misrepresented his involvement in such properties, in some cases falsely claiming to be an investor in properties that he had no equity in. Additionally, ProPublic and WNYC reported that Ivanka repeatedly misled investors about the demand for Trump Organizations for properties while promoting them.
For instance, Ivanka claimed in a 2009 interview with CBS News that the Trump International Hotel in Toronto was "virtually sold out." It wasn't: At the time, just 24.8 percent of units in the building had been sold, according to a bankruptcy filing made seven years later. She repeated this claim in a promotional video for the failed Trump Ocean Resort in Baja, Mexico — a property that never opened and ultimately resulted in a lawsuit against Donald — in which she stated that the Toronto hotel was "sold out."
In actuality, that Toronto property never sold out. It was still three-quarters empty when it went bankrupt in 2016, according to ProPublica and WNYC.
Ivanka also allegedly lied about the sales figures of the Trump SoHo in New York. another doomed family property. While speaking to reporters in 2008 about the condo building, she claimed that 60 percent of its units had sold. In reality, only 15 percent had reportedly been sold at the time. That property, like the Toronto property, eventually went bankrupt; the Trump name was removed from its buildings, and it's now called the Dominick.
In March, a video clip of the Trump name being chipped off of yet another failed venture, the Trump Ocean Club in Panama City, went viral. Ten years earlier, Ivanka made several false claims while promoting this property, telling Entrepreneur that the Trump Organization had "sold over 90 percent of" units in the 1,000-unit building, and at a "500 percent premium to anything the luxury market has ever experienced prior to our entry."
This was all false. Moody's reported months later that in reality, only 79 percent of the units in the building had potential buyers. But even those units hadn't actually been "sold" yet: They were under purchase contracts, meaning that investors had paid a small down payment on them with the intent of buying them later. But the majority of those purchase contracts — 57 percent, according to ProPublica and WNYC's figures — were later abandoned as the project sputtered, with the prospective buyers sacrificing their down payments and jumping ship to cut their losses.
What's more, Ivanka greatly inflated the value of those units; despite her claim that they sold for 500 percent the price of "anything the luxury market has ever experienced prior to her entry," ProPublica and WNYC found that they had in fact been "sold" (that is, placed under purchase contracts) for 130 percent the price of comparable properties at the time.
There are more alleged misstatements by Ivanka documented in the report. According to a lawsuit quoted by Univision, more than 50 buyers of the failed Baja property claimed that Ivanka told them the Trump Organization was a developer on the project, when in fact it wasn't; in the 2009 CBS News interview, which was conducted after the project went belly-up, Ivanka explicitly stated that "we are not the developer." Ivanka also claimed in a 2008 interview that she personally had sold 40 units in the Panama property; Jack Studnicky, a lead real estate agent on that project, told ProPublica and WNYC that he couldn't recall her selling any units.
In addition to the allegations regarding Ivanka, the ProPublica and WNYC investigation also contains extensive reporting on Donald himself, and various false claims he's allegedly made while promoting his properties over the years.