Five take-aways from Donald Trump's financial disclosure

Anthony Zurcher
North America reporter
@awzurcheron Twitter

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Image source, Getty Images

Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump is very wealthy. And now, thanks to his recently released Federal Election Commission (FEC) financial disclosure forms covering the past 18 months, we have some new information about the man and the breadth of his financial domain.

Here are five interesting claims and revelations gleaned from the 92-page document.

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Trump Tower in New York City is just one of many Trump-branded properties

1. He's in love with his name

Mr Trump's financial disclosure lists involvement in 515 organisations and entities - and 264 of them start with the word "Trump" while another 54 include his initials.

There's Trump Drinks Israel (a kosher energy drink firm), Trump Ice (a bottled water company), Trump Carousel (a New York merry-go-round that made him $588,518 last year), Trump Classic Cars, Trump National Golf Club, Trump Vineyard Estates and something called Trump Follies - which does not appear to be connected in any way to his presidential campaign.

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Donald Trump holds up a financial statement at his campaign launch in June

2. He's worth at least $1.35bn

The exact value of the Trump empire has long been a topic of speculation. When it submitted its paperwork last week, the Trump campaign boldly asserted in a news release that "as of this date, Mr Trump's net worth is in excess of TEN BILLION DOLLARS".

Bloomberg News suggests the number is around $2.4bn, while Forbes magazine puts it closer to $4bn - still enough to buy plenty of gold escalators.

According to the FEC report, the total for all Mr Trump's assets minus his liabilities is $1.35bn (£870m). This is a bit misleading, however, as the FEC asks only for a dollar range to the assets listed, and the top category is "over $50,000,000".

Twenty-three of Mr Trump's interests, such as the Trump Tower in New York City and golf courses in Florida, Virginia, California and New Jersey, are listed at this level.

"This report was not designed for a man of Mr Trump's massive wealth," Mr Trump's press release scoffs.

Image source, FEC
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Donald Trump's signature dominates the page

3. His signature is nearly unintelligible

Mr Trump's signature, appearing on the first page of the report, is a series of jagged lines drawn with what appears to be a Sharpie. It dominates the other signatures on the page, written in an ink that is obviously much richer and more luxurious than that his counterparts.

And what's that over the "p"? A hat? The tip of a Trump rocket? The imagined spire of some new Trump skyscraper?

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Mr Trump owes at least $50m on his Trump Doral National golf course in Florida

4. He owns a lot of stocks and has a lot of debt

In last week's news release, Mr Trump boasted that he's not only a savvy businessman, he's also good at picking stocks.

"Even though stock market purchases are not something that Mr Trump has focused on in the past, and while only a small part of his net worth, 40 of the 45 stocks purchased went up in a relatively short period of time, creating a gain of $27,021,471."

His portfolio totals at least $70m, and includes a laundry list of blue-chip companies - including at least $500,000 each in Apple, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Caterpillar, AT&T, JPMorgan Chase and ConocoPhillips. He made more than $5m in capital gains from the sale of Bank of America stock during the 18-month reporting period and also made millions from the sale of Boeing and Facebook.

On the other side of the ledger, Mr Trump has at least $265m in debt, including mortgages on Trump Tower, 40 Wall Street and Trump National Doral golf course that fall into the "over $50 million" category.

He pays fixed interest ranging from 4% to 7.125%, while other loans are pegged to market rates (which are currently lower).

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First published in 1987, Mr Trump's The Art of the Deal still earns him five-figure royalties.

5. Donald makes money being Donald

Although most of Mr Trump's income derives from his real estate and golf ventures, Mr Trump also makes plenty of money just being himself.

He earned $1.75m in speaking fees since May 2014, including three $450,000 speeches for ACN, a marketing company specialising in "home-based business". That compares favourably with $75,000 rate for Republican Jeb Bush and the up to $325,000 a speech Democrat Hillary Clinton has pulled in.

Mr Trump has written 14 books, but most of them aren't doing much for his bottom line. But his biggest best-seller, The Art of the Deal, still earned him at least $15,000, and Time to Get Tough - a 2011 political manifesto - made Mr Trump between $50,001 and $100,000.

Mr Trump also brought in $14,222 in salary from starring in the NBC television programme The Apprentice, and his operation of the Miss Universe beauty pageant made him about $3.4m. NBC has since cut ties with Mr Trump on both projects.

All in all, Mr Trump's income over the last 18 months from all sources amounts to at least $431m.

Perhaps Russ Choma of Mother Jones put it best when he pointed out that Mr Trump made more money selling Serta mattresses - a deal since terminated - than twice the total net worth of fellow Republican presidential hopeful Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.

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