No, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Home Is Not Worth $1.8 billion – It came as no surprise that Donald Trump did not take his most recent legal defeat well.
A New York judge found that Trump had overvalued some of his properties in a court case this week.
One example was his Mar-a-Lago home in Florida, which he listed as 2,300% more than its actual value to secure larger loans and lower insurance rates than otherwise would be received.
“This highly partisan Democrat ‘Judge’ (All the Clubs, etc.) just ruled that Mar-a-Lago was WORTH just 18 Million Dollars when, in fact, it may be worth 100 times that amount,” Trump wrote on his social media platform Truth on Tuesday. Such a valuation would put his property at $1.8billion.
Of course, we all take pride in our homes, but it’s hard to argue with facts. A Palm Beach County Property Appraiser valued his home at $27million in 2020, a figure Trump’s own company agreed with. Yearly valuations from 2011-21 varied between $18 million to $28 million, but never higher.
CBS News reports that a broker representing Mar-a-Lago, Michael Corbiciero agreed with the 2020 valuation, despite original filing which disputed it. Said dispute did not state whether the broker believed it was valued too high or too low, but Palm Beach Appraiser spokesperson Becky Haltermon Robinson said most disputes are due to a believed overvaluation.
Residence Or Private Club?
Local property taxes rise with the valuation of a property, so most owners dispute a higher valuation in order to secure lower taxes. However, Mar-a-Lago is not registered as a residence, despite the fact that former president Trump uses it as one.
“Mar-a-Lago is deed restricted as a private club. The deed itself is restricted, it can’t be used for any other purpose, as such our office values it as we value the other private clubs in Palm Beach County,” Haltermon Robinson said.
Restrictions on a property can lower the value of it, as there are fewer uses for it. Palm Beach Appraiser uses the level of income of a private club, reflecting the financial situation of it. “For the income approach, what we normally do is we request financial statements from individual businesses, and request income and expenses, so that we can kind of figure out what income we could use to capitalize the value,” Haltermon Robinson added.
For sure, there can be discrepancies between an owner’s valuation and an appraiser’s, but even in 2020, Trump listed Mar-a-Lago as being worth $490million – 18x more than its agreed value.
Next week, the former president and Republican frontrunner will face a civil fraud trial in relation to his overvaluations, with his Trump Tower penthouse in Manhattan – oversized by three times according to court documents – also at the center of attention.
Shay Bottomley is a British journalist based in Canada. He has written for the Western Standard, Maidenhead Advertiser, Slough Express, Windsor Express, Berkshire Live and Southend Echo, and has covered notable events including the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.