The Wall Street Journal - It's one of the great mysteries of the business world: How much is Donald Trump really worth?
The world famous real-estate developer and television personality has consistently said it's in the billions. A 2005 book citing anonymous sources said it was between $150 million and $250 million. Mr. Trump sued the writer for defamation. He alleged damage to his reputation that caused him to lose out on future deals in locales from Philadelphia to Kiev.
A hearing in that case will take place Monday in a state court in Camden, N.J. As part of the proceedings, the Donald, as he's known to fans and detractors alike, has provided under oath the secrets to how he values his wealth and treasure. In one case, he says, he does "mental projections."
"My net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feeling," he told lawyers in the December 2007 deposition.
The deposition, marked "Confidential," comes to light at a time when some of Mr. Trump's projects, including several condominium developments that bear his name, are struggling. Among the problems are anemic sales, lawsuits, sharp declines in value and troubles with creditors.
In a telephone interview Sunday, Mr. Trump disputed that these are tough times for him. "We have a lot of cash right now. We're starting to buy things," he said while taking a break from playing golf at a Trump course in Bedminster, N.J. He said he stood by the statements he made in the deposition.
In the deposition, given to lawyers representing the book's author, Timothy O'Brien, and its publisher, a unit of French-based Lagardere SCA, Mr. Trump described his public persona. "I'm not different from a politician running for office," he said.
Trump on Business Operations
In the deposition, Mr. Trump said that his 2007 estimate of his net worth -- over $4 billion -- is "a very conservative number, in my opinion." He also said $6 billion is a good number, counting his brand value. (In the interview Sunday, he said he was worth $5 billion, not counting brand value.)
Mr. Trump was asked whether he has ever exaggerated in statements about his properties. "I think everybody does," he said in the deposition. "Who wouldn't?"
A follow-up question: Does that mean he inflates the value of his properties in general, nonfinancial public statements? "Not beyond reason," he said in the testimony.
The deposition reveals he told his bankers and New Jersey casino authorities in 2004 and 2005 that he was worth approximately $3.6 billion. In 2005, Deutsche Bank evaluated his net worth as part of underwriting a $640 million construction loan it made to Mr. Trump's Chicago condo and hotel project. The bank said his worth was $788 million, according to information presented by the author's lawyers present during Mr. Trump's deposition.http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124261067783429043.html#mod=testMod
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