Far be it from us to speculate on this matter, but it looks like New Jersey’s Governor, Chris Christie’s tax collectors let Donald J. Trump off the hook with his back taxes. Rewind back to 2002 and Trump was not only chairman but until 2005 chief executive of his casino empire. But these were leaking money, despite Trump taking a hefty cut himself in fees and bonuses. Something had to be done, and it seemed an oversight was made where Trump’s casinos omitted to pay tax between 2002-2006, according to documents found by The Times.
There’s Something Fishy Going On
State auditors had chased Trump’s casinos for many years through the court to get them to pay long-overdue taxes, which amounted to almost $30 million including interest. However, it wasn’t until December 2011 when the bill was finally settled, with a huge discount, meaning the court accepted a payment of just $5m. It all seems a little strange, particularly when the State even accused the company of filing false reports about the amount of tax it had paid. Maybe they were just cutting their losses… or maybe not.
Some have pointed to Chris Christie, the Republican Governor of influencing the decision, and his private relationship with Trump certainly didn’t help matters. They became friends around the time that Trump’s casinos started failing, introduced by Trump’s sister, a lawyer, after Donald had said he’d like to be introduced to Christie. Their firm friendship grew, and in 2005 Christie was invited to Trump’s wedding to his third wife. In 2010, Trump was there for Christie’s inauguration as one of the esteemed guests. They’d even been on double dates with each other and their wives!
It Doesn’t End There
There is also the question of the large donations Trump has made to the Drumthwacket Foundation, which finances the improvements and general maintenance to the New Jersey’s governor’s residence, all donated after Mr. Christie became honorary chairman. And when Christie was chairman to the Republican Governors Association, donations were flowing in by the seemingly generous Trump. It’s clear that this is an unwavering friendship, which meant that everyone was surprised when Trump omitted to choose Christie as his running mate, instead selecting Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, instead choosing Christie as the head of his transition committee.
This friendship adds fuel to the fire of Trump’s critics, who have also pointed to his refusal to release his personal income tax returns as another red flag. Trump has been very vocal on his thoughts on tax stating in an interview with Fox News that only a really stupid person would pay a lot in taxes.’
It’s clear that authorities do sometimes settle for lesser amounts to avoid costs of further litigation, but this discount we’re talking about here is unusually large, raising eyebrows at the two men along with whispers of special treatment. The public records do not go into detail on how this agreement was reached, causing more cause for concern.
What is clear is that the agreement reached by Trump casinos and the authorities was a much better deal than the one offered the delinquent taxpayers under Christie’s 2014 program to reduce penalties if they caught up with overdue tax and interest. Is the friendship between the two involved? Or is it just a case of authorities cutting their losses? We’re not sure, but we know we’ll be watching for any developments closely from now on.