9 things we learned from Trump’s new financial disclosure form

President Trump has made tens of millions of dollars off his Mar-a-Lago club in the past year.

His controversial luxury hotel in Washington isn’t doing bad either.

And a few of the president’s books are still hot sellers years after they were released — though not every title Trump has written is getting a bump from his enlarged political profile.

A financial disclosure form published Friday by the Office of Government Ethics has shed light on what Trump earned during the most politically significant year of his career.

The White House says he “welcomed the opportunity” to file the form “voluntarily.” He wasn’t required by law to disclose his finances until next year.

Ethics lawyers say they fear that as long as Trump maintains an ownership stake in his businesses, his personal profit motive could influence his decisions as president.

The documents appear to reveal his assets and income from January 2016 through April 15, 2017. His total income was $600 million to $650 million, though a precise number is impossible to find because officeholders are allowed to disclose figures in ranges.

Here are nine takeaways from the disclosure form.

1. Trump is raking in cash from Mar-a-Lago and other properties

Trump reported $37.2 million in income from Mar-a-Lago, his private Florida resort, where he hosted the president of China and from which he ordered missile strikes against Syria. The club has doubled its membership fee in the past year.

Trump also reported $288 million in income from all his golf courses, including $19.8 million from his club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where he has spent some weekends as president.

2. Trump is earning plenty from his controversial Washington hotel

The Trump International Hotel brought in $19.7 million through mid-April. It opened in September.

The property has been a focus of complaints about conflicts of interest from ethics lawyers who say foreign governments can curry favor with the president by booking rooms and events there.

3. A hefty chunk of Trump’s income is linked to foreign countries

We don’t know exactly how much money Trump has made from his companies with overseas ties. A peek at his tax returns would provide a better picture.

But the financial disclosure form shows that he earned income from at least 20 assets with foreign ties. They include royalties made from international trademarks and income from his international resorts and golf courses.

All told, those assets earned Trump at least $38 million.

4. Trump is getting a comfortable pension from the Screen Actors Guild

Trump took home more than $84,000 in pension money from the Screen Actors Guild.

It’s unclear how long Trump has been a member. But he likely joined SAG when he began making cameos in films and television shows. He appeared in “Sex and the City,” “Home Alone 2” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”

Of course, his best-known television appearance was as the host of “The Apprentice” reality game show. But as the Hollywood Reporter has pointed out, that gig would probably entitle him to a different pension plan.

5. Some of Trump’s books are hot sellers, but many aren’t

Trump is getting significant royalties from the sales of at least three of his books.

“The Art of the Deal” (1987) and “Time to Get Tough” (2011) each brought in as much as $1 million, and “Crippled America” (2015), later renamed “Great Again,” was his top seller. It earned him between $1 million and $5 million.

A couple other titles, such as “Think Like a Champion” (2009) and “How to Get Rich” (2004), fetched smaller earnings of up to $50,000.

But the majority of Trump’s books brought in next to nothing. Royalties from 10 of his titles, including “The America We Deserve” (2000) and “The Way to the Top” (2004), earned Trump between $0 and $201.

6. Miss Universe made Trump $11 million

He purchased the pageant in 1996, but said in 2015 that he had reached a deal to sell the property to the talent agency and marketing firm WME-IMG. Details about the nature of the income are not clear.

The pageant was rattled by controversy during the campaign. Trump used to run the event in partnership with NBC, but the relationship fell apart after the inflammatory comments he made about Mexican immigrants during his presidential announcement speech.

Former Miss Universe Alicia Machado also sparred with Trump during the closing months of the campaign. She said Trump called her “Miss Housekeeping” and “Miss Piggy” when she gained weight after winning the pageant.

7. Melania Trump doesn’t have much to her name

Trump also had to disclose his wife’s assets on his financial form, but comparatively they don’t show much.

Melania Trump’s assets are worth less than $5 million total, according to the filings. The only asset with a listed value is a residential real estate holding.

The filings show Melania reported either little or no income.

8. Trump has a single checking account that holds millions

The president has a Capital One bank account where he has stored at least $50 million.

Because the form only shows ranges, it’s unclear exactly how much Trump keeps in the account, and it could be much more than that amount.

The point is: Trump has serious cash at his disposal.

9. Trump is carrying around a load of debt

Trump reported liabilities of at least $311 million, including mortgages and loans.

The actual number could be much different. He was only required to report a range in value for each loan.

Of the 16 loans Trump reported, five were worth more than $50 million each. One was worth between $25 million and $50 million, and seven were worth between $5 million and $25 million each.

Another three loans were worth less than $1 million combined.

Dale Bothe

AusRealNews.com.au editor

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