×
Making bank
March 19, 2019

The two-decade-long relationship between Deutsche Bank and Donald Trump has been rocky and clearly beneficial only to Trump, The New York Times detailed Monday night. One branch of the giant German bank after another stopped doing business with Trump, after loan defaults, creative litigation, and other red flags and hiccups.

After Deutsche Bank's commercial real estate unit severed ties with Trump in 2004, he sought a large loan from the investment-banking division, the Times reports:

Mr. Trump told Deutsche Bank his net worth was about $3 billion, but when bank employees reviewed his finances, they concluded he was worth about $788 million, according to documents produced during a lawsuit Mr. Trump brought against the former New York Times journalist Timothy O'Brien. And a senior investment-banking executive said in an interview that he and others cautioned that Mr. Trump should be avoided because he had worked with people in the construction industry connected to organized crime. Nonetheless, Deutsche Bank agreed in 2005 to lend Mr. Trump more than $500 million for the project. [The New York Times]

After Trump sued the investment-banking unit when he couldn't pay back that loan, he started getting loans from the bank's private-banking arm. And when he sought $100 million for a golf course in Miami, "Deutsche Bank dispatched a team to Trump Tower to inspect Mr. Trump’s personal and corporate financial records," the Times reports. "The bankers determined he was overvaluing some of his real estate assets by as much as 70 percent, according to two former executives."

Still, by that time Trump "was swimming in cash from The Apprentice" and had little debt, so "aside from his history of defaults, he was an attractive borrower," the Times says. He got the loan, and cited it in the presidential campaign to fend off attacks on his business acumen. Read more at The New York Times. Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads