Until the election, we're bringing you "The Trump Files," a daily dose of telling episodes, strange but true stories, or curious scenes from the life of GOP nominee Donald Trump.
"Forty Wall Street is a special building," Donald Trump declared in The Art of the Comeback, his 1997 book. And he's right—but not in the way he probably meant.
Trump devoted an entire chapter of that book to bragging about his acquisition of 40 Wall Street, now called the Trump Building at 40 Wall Street, a 72-story office tower he called "perhaps the most beautiful building in New York." In his telling, Trump purchased the building from its bumbling Hong Kong-based owners for a paltry $1 million. He then renovated it into a $20 million-a-year cash cow that fetched some of the highest rents in the city at the time. When Trump tried to sell the building in 2004, he expected to get offers of at least $400 million, but none apparently arrived and he took the building off the market.
Bloomberg wrote in June that 40 Wall Street "may be the best deal of his career. No single property in his portfolio is more valuable than 40 Wall Street, according to a Bloomberg valuation of his assets last year." But there's a catch. Bloomberg also reported that "no U.S. address has been home to more of the unregistered brokerages that investors complain about, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission's current public alert list."
While there are plenty of legitimate businesses at 40 Wall Street, the Bloomberg reporters found that shady companies or businesspeople could, and did, snatch up offices at the Trump Building to get themselves a Wall Street address and the cachet that comes along with it. That's in part because rents at 40 Wall Street have apparently sagged over time, as have rents on Wall Street in general. When having office space next to the New York Stock Exchange became less important for financial firms, Trump was forced to entice renters with low rates. So while Trump boasted in 1997 that rents in the building were "at the top of the downtown Manhattan market," Bloomberg found that the average space at 40 Wall Street now rents for $20 less per square foot than the area average. The Wall Street Journal also reported in 2012 that the building's $27-per-square-foot starting rent hadn't budged since Trump had taken over.
"Since Donald Trump took over 40 Wall Street in 1995, prosecutors have filed criminal charges against at least 29 people connected to 12 alleged scams tied to the building," Bloomberg wrote. "Current executives at 40 Wall St. include a 29-year-old who made millions of dollars lending money to penny-stock companies. A financier fighting criminal fraud charges is on the 38th floor. On the 28th, where offices can be rented for $10 an hour, cash-advance firm Viceroy Capital Funding is run by a man awaiting sentencing for his role in a marijuana-smuggling ring."
But the biggest scam at 40 Wall Street may have been run by Trump himself: The building is also the former headquarters of Trump University.
Read the rest of "The Trump Files":
- Trump Files #1: The Time Andrew Dice Clay Thanked Donald for the Hookers
- Trump Files #2: When Donald Tried to Stop Charlie Sheen's Marriage to Brooke Mueller
- Trump Files #3: The Brief Life of the "Trump Chateau for the Indigent"
- Trump Files #4: Donald Thinks Asbestos Fears Are a Mob Conspiracy
- Trump Files #5: Donald's Nuclear Negotiating Fantasy
- Trump Files #6: Donald Wants a Powerball for Spies
- Trump Files #7: Donald Gets An Allowance
- Trump Files #8: The Time He Went Bananas on a Water Cooler
- Trump Files #9: The Great Geico Boycott
- Trump Files #10: Donald Trump, Tax-Hike Crusader
- Trump Files #11: Watch Donald Trump Say He Would Have Done Better as a Black Man
- Trump Files #12: Donald Can't Multiply 17 and 6
- Trump Files #13: Watch Donald Sing the "Green Acres" Theme Song in Overalls
- Trump Files #14: The Time Donald Trump Pulled Over His Limo to Stop a Beating
- Trump Files #15: When Donald Wanted to Help the Clintons Buy Their House
- Trump Files #16: He Once Forced a Small Business to Pay Him Royalties for Using the Word "Trump"
- Trump Files #17: He Dumped Wine on an "Unattractive Reporter"
- Trump Files #18: Behold the Hideous Statue He Wanted to Erect In Manhattan
- Trump Files #19: When Donald Was "Principal for a Day" and Confronted by a Fifth-Grader
- Trump Files #20: In 2012, Trump Begged GOP Presidential Candidates to Be Civil
- Trump Files #21: When Donald Couldn't Tell the Difference Between Gorbachev and an Impersonator
- Trump Files #22: His Football Team Treated Its Cheerleaders "Like Hookers"
- Trump Files #23: The Trump Files: Donald Tried to Shut Down a Bike Race Named "Rump"
- Trump Files #24: When Donald Called Out Pat Buchanan for Bigotry
- Trump Files #25: Donald's Most Ridiculous Appearance on Howard Stern's Show
- Trump Files #26: How Donald Tricked New York Into Giving Him His First Huge Deal
- Trump Files #27: Donald Told Congress the Reagan Tax Cuts Were Terrible
- Trump Files #28: When Donald Destroyed Historic Art to Build Trump Tower
- Trump Files #29: Donald Wanted to Build an Insane Castle on Madison Avenue
- Trump Files #30: Donald's Near-Death Experience (That He Invented)
- Trump Files #31: When Donald Struck Oil on the Upper West Side
- Trump Files #32: When Donald Massacred Trees in the Trump Tower Lobby
- Trump Files #33: When Donald Demanded Other People Pay for His Overpriced Quarterback
- Trump Files #34: The Time Donald Sued Someone Who Made Fun of Him for $500 Million
- Trump Files #35: Donald Tried to Make His Ghostwriter Pay for His Book Party
- Trump Files #36: Watch Donald Shave a Man's Head on Television
- Trump Files #37: How Donald Helped Make It Harder to Get Football Tickets
- Trump Files #38: Donald Was Curious About His Baby Daughter's Breasts
- Trump Files #39: When Democrats Courted Donald
- Trump Files #40: Watch the Trump Vodka Ad Designed for a Russian Audience
- Trump Files #41: Donald's Cologne Smelled of Jamba Juice and Strip Clubs
- Trump Files #42: Donald Sued Other People Named Trump for Using Their Own Name
- Trump Files #43: Donald Thinks Asbestos Would Have Saved the Twin Towers
- Trump Files #44: Why Donald Threw a Fit Over His "Trump Tree" in Central Park
- Trump Files #45: Watch Trump Endorse Slim Shady for President
- Trump Files #46: The Easiest 13 Cents He Ever Made
- Trump Files #47: The Time Donald Burned a Widow's Mortgage
- Trump Files #48: Donald's Recurring Sex Dreams
- Trump Files #49: Trump's Epic Insult Fight With Ed Koch
- Trump Files #50: Donald Has Some Advice for Citizen Kane
- Trump Files #51: Donald Once Turned Down a Million-Dollar Bet on "Trump: The Game"
- Trump Files #52: When Donald Tried to Shake Down Mike Tyson for $2 Million
- Trump Files #53: Donald and Melania's Creepy, Sex-Filled Interview With Howard Stern
- Trump Files #54: Donald's Mega-Yacht Wasn't Big Enough For Him
- Trump Files #55: When Donald Got in a Fight With Martha Stewart
- Trump Files #56: Donald Reenacts an Iconic Scene From Top Gun
- Trump Files #57: How Donald Tried to Hide His Legal Troubles to Get His Casino Approved