By Bernard Condon and Stephen Braun / Associated Press
NEW YORK — Revenue from President Donald Trump’s sprawling business empire largely held steady last year amid his turbulent presidency, according to his financial disclosure Thursday, with a drop in business at his Mar-a-Lago resort and small gains at his Washington hotel and Doral golf club.
The mixed bag provided validation to neither those who predicted Trump would reap massive profits off the presidency nor to Trump himself, who earlier this year claimed he has “lost massive amounts of money doing this job.”
Overall, revenue from Trump’s business empire in 2018 was roughly the same as in 2017 — at least $453 million.
Revenue tallied from more than 200 businesses was down more than $30 million from the previous year, due partly to a drop in management fees at hotels that cut ties to the president’s company. That shortfall was made up from sales of various properties last year, including a stake a housing project in Brooklyn and land near Los Angeles and in the Dominican Republic.
Trump’s Doral golf course and club in Miami took in the most among his golf properties, generating about $76 million in revenue last year, about $1 million more than in 2017. His Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, took in nearly $23 million, a drop of more than $2 million.
Trump’s Washington, D.C., hotel near the White House, a magnet for lobbyists and foreign interests, generated nearly $41 million, up less than half a million from last year.
Eric Trump, who runs the Trump Organization with his brother, Donald Jr., said last year was “exceptional.”
“Our iconic hotels, golf courses, commercial buildings, residential projects and other assets are the best in the world and unrivaled by anyone,” he said in a statement.
The report, released by the Office of Government Ethics, showed that Trump’s debt increased over the past year by $10 million, to at least $315 million. Trump’s newest debt — a mortgage loan of more than $25 million — was for the purchase of an eight-bedroom Palm Beach home adjacent to Mar-A-Lago that had been owned by his sister, retired federal judge Maryanne Trump Barry.
While Trump has refused to release his tax records, he has been filing the less-specific financial disclosure reports since he began running for president. They list revenues rather than profits, and many figures are given in ranges rather than specific dollar amounts, making it impossible to determine his exact worth.
Since he won election, Trump has faced several business setbacks, some he has blamed on the scrutiny of his presidency and a divisive political atmosphere. He has had to put on hold a rollout of two new hotel chains targeting budget and mid-priced travelers and several buildings have stripped his name off their facades, including hotels in Toronto and the Soho section of New York City and a condo tower in Panama.
One big hit in the disclosure report was at Trump International Hotels Management LLC, an entity that handles management for hotels in the U.S. and abroad. The business took in $1.5 million last year, down $15 million from the year before.
Trump’s finances have been the subject of much speculation following news reports of big losses years ago and struggles with key properties since he became president.
The New York Times reported earlier this month that Trump posted more than $1 billion in losses on his taxes for a decade through the mid-1990s. Sales of condos at Trump Tower, the heavily guarded Fifth Avenue building where the president plans to stay Thursday night, have reportedly slowed and their prices sagged.
When Trump took office, he refused to fully divest from his global business, a break with presidential tradition. Instead, he put his assets in a trust controlled by his two adult sons and a senior executive. Trump can take back control of the trust at any time, and he’s allowed to withdraw cash from it.