An investigation by USA Today has documented more than 400 previously undisclosed properties across the U.S. owned by President Trump's business trust and companies. The properties are worth an estimated $250 million and include "at least 422 luxury condos and penthouses from New York City to Las Vegas, 12 mansion lots on bluffs overlooking his golf course on the Pacific Ocean, and dozens more smaller pieces of real estate," USA Today reported.
The properties present "an extraordinary and unprecedented potential for people, corporations, or foreign interests to try to influence the president," USA Today wrote. Because the properties in question are owned directly by Trump's companies and not licensed through a separate development company, any sales would directly augment Trump's wealth. Already, there are some murky deals: USA Today found that of the 14 luxury condos and home-building lots Trump companies have sold since Election Day, "half were sold to limited liability companies" and "no names were listed in deeds, obscuring buyers' identities."
Now that Trump has assumed office, a lot more people are apparently inquiring about buying real estate owned by the president. While Trump isn't legally obligated to offer a complete inventory of every property he owns, nor is he required to disclose when he makes a sale, he is constitutionally prohibited from accepting gifts from foreign officials. But because real estate laws allow shell companies to be set up so that a person can make a purchase without revealing his or her identity, USA Today noted it could be "impossible for the public to know" who purchases a Trump property in this manner.
"Anyone seeking to influence the president could set up an anonymous company and purchase his property," said Heather Lowe, director of government affairs at Global Financial Integrity, a group focused on stopping illegal financial transactions. "It's a big black box, and the system is failing as a check for conflicts of interest."