WASHINGTON – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump filed financial documents with federal campaign regulators on Wednesday and set his personal fortune at more than $10 billion with an annual income of more than $362 million.
Members of his staff had said that Trump would release the financial documents themselves, but they issued only a press release that announced the filing and included a few financial details. It provided little information about how he calculated his net worth.
The $10 billion figure — up nearly 15 per cent since the previous year, by Trump’s calculation — would make him the wealthiest person ever to run for president, far surpassing previous magnates like Ross Perot, business heirs like Steve Forbes or private-equity investors like Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP nominee.
Among the sources of Trump’s income has been $214 million in payments from NBC related to 14 seasons of the business reality television show “The Apprentice.” NBC recently cut its ties with Trump following his controversial remarks about Mexican immigrants.
Trump is relying almost exclusively on his personal wealth to fund his White House bid. His fortune could help maintain his status as a major player in the Republican presidential primary, much to the dismay of GOP officials who worry that his hardline immigration statements could alienate Hispanic voters.
Filing a personal financial disclosure with the Federal Election Commission is one of the requirements, set by the hosts, to participate in next month’s televised GOP debate.
Trump’s statement Wednesday noted that a hypothetical Trump building worth $1.5 billion would be reported as simply worth in excess of $50 million on the federal forms, which offer broad ranges for asset values.
Previous reviews of Trump’s real estate holdings by both Forbes Magazine and commercial real estate trade publication The Real Deal did not identify any single property with a valuation in excess of $1 billion.
His campaign noted that Trump held stakes in almost 500 business entities and said the federal forms are “not designed for a man of Mr. Trump’s massive wealth.”
“I have a Gucci store worth more than Romney,” Trump told the Des Moines Register last month, referring to the fashion company’s flagship store in New York’s Trump Tower.
Trump also valued his personal brand and marketing deals at $3.3 billion when he announced his candidacy.
Forbes Magazine, however, valued his brand at just $125 million. And that was before Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants cost him business partnerships with companies such as Macy’s and Univision, which experts on brand valuation said have at least temporarily tarnished the value of his name in corporate sponsorship deals.
While the Forbes estimate is likely low, “the spread between Forbes $125 million and his own estimate of $3.3 billion is explained primarily by hubris,” said Weston Anson, chairman of Consor Intellectual Asset Management, a California-based consulting firm.
Anson said it was too early to evaluate the effect of Trump’s comments on value of his name, but noted the rapid cancellation of partnership and sponsorship deals. The notoriety could also likely erode Trump’s ability to charge a premium for his real estate, Anson said.
Trump in the past has taken umbrage at suggestions he might not be as fantastically wealthy as he says. In 2009, he sued author Timothy O’Brien for defamation after O’Brien wrote that Trump’s net worth might be as low as $150 million.
Trump lost the suit and a subsequent appeal. In a deposition, the panel of appellate judges noted, Trump conceded that his public disclosures of his wealth depended partly on his mood.
“Even my own feelings affect my value to myself,” Trump said.
Associated Press writer Frederic J. Frommer contributed to this report.