How does Trump figure out how much he is worth – GAAP aside, the Donald knows

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By Steve Shepherd,
Vice President for Communications, The Saint Consulting Group

trumpHow does real estate mogul Donald Trump determine how much money he’s worth?According to depositions Trump gave in his suit against an author, it apparently depends on how he feels at the moment and sometimes involves “mental projections.”

Trump is suing the author of 2005 book that said Trump was worth between $150 million and $250 million — a far shot from the billionaire Trump has consistently claimed to be. Trump sued the writer for defamation, alleging damage to his reputation that caused him to lose out on future deals.

A judge said last week she would rule within two months on whether Trump’s lawsuit against writer Timothy L. O’Brien should be dismissed before it gets a chance to go to trial.

But in depositions described by Wall Street Journal reporter Alex Frangos in an entertaining Page One story last week, Trump described a method of valuing his worth that doesn’t exactly follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

Asked in the deposition about a project in which he claimed to have a 50 percent interest but which legal documents showed was 30 percent, Trump explained his methods. “In my own mind I’ve always felt that that 30% is equated to 50%,” he said. In his interview with Frangos, Trump said he had owned the equivalent of “more than 50%.”

Here is a link to the Frangos story. Forbes, by the way, ranked Trump at No. 450 on its new list of The World’s Billionaires, estimating his worth at $1.6 billion. See Forbes link

Steve Shepherd is vice president for communications, The Saint Consulting Group, email shepherd@tscg.biz, phone 781 836 4317

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