According to The Guardian, President Donald Trump is attempting to bring down the property tax on one of his golf courses outside of New York City by claiming that the property is worth $1.4 million—although he previously claimed the property was worth 35 times more, at $50 million.
Trump is suing the town of Ossining in Westchester County, where the golf course is located, to lower the taxes on Trump National Golf Club. The property spans 147 acres and includes an 18-hole course and a luxurious clubhouse.
Trump bought the club in foreclosure for approximately $8 million in the mid 1990s before spending another $45 million in improvements. The entry fee for members is $250,000. Trump is now arguing that it is worth only $1.4 million.
“That is crazy low,” Fernando Gonzalez, the Ossining town assessor, said. “We believe they do not have a case.”
When he began his campaign for presidency, Trump valued the asset as worth over $50 million in the 92-page financial disclosure document that he released to the U.S. government.
The taxes, which go towards schools and local services, would be drastically reduced if Trump’s claim was successful. The town tax bill would be reduced by 90%, or $424,176 a year.
The community is enraged by Trump’s scheme. “He should be made to pay it,” said Thomasina Laidley Brown, the chair of the local Democratic party. “We, the people that live here, don’t get any special favours, and I don’t think he should.”
The property also holds condominiums and villas. The owners of these properties are fighting to reduce their taxes as well.
In a separate lawsuit against three Trump companies, lawyers for Briarcliff Manor, the village in which the course is situated, claim that the managers for Trump’s golf club made “illegal and intentional modifications” to the drainage systems that resulted in the village being flooded in June 2011. Alterations by the Trump managers allegedly increased the rate at which water ran off the property.
According to village authorities, the alterations were made “to improve aesthetic golf course quality and golf play.” authorities are demanding over $238,000 from Trump to pay for the damages.
Trump both denied the allegation and claimed that the accusations are a means of getting professional revenge against him, because eight months after the storm, Trump was selected by New York City to develop another golf course. The course was behind schedule and over budget. The contractor Trump took over from was owned by William Vescio, the mayor of Briarcliff Manor.
Trump’s legal team is confident about the storm lawsuit. “We feel very strongly that we are in the right,” Alan Garten, an attorney for Trump. Garten has obtained an email from Vescio in which he says that the flood was caused by a “100-year storm” and “we cannot hold Trump responsible for that.”