President Donald J. Trump is no laughing matter.
But I had to chuckle at the recent Washington Post report headlined, “In past year, Trump’s company repeatedly paid property taxes late.”
The late payments cost the Trump Organization “$61,800 extra in penalties, interest and missed discounts, according to government records and local officials,” the Post reports.
The Trump Organization missed deadlines on property taxes in five different states.
In Florida, it missed tax deadlines on Trump’s famed Mar-a-Lago Club, two mansions and three golf courses, costing an additional $23,500 in bills, the Post reported.
In Chicago, an apparent “clerical error,” was behind a missed $1.2 million in property tax payment on 326 parcels in the Trump Tower downtown.
News? Not really. Reams of coverage during the 2016 presidential election documented that the billionaire may have trouble paying his bills.
A June 2016 USA Today investigation found Trump was repeatedly accused of failing to pay small businesses and individuals. At that point he had “been involved in more than 3,500 lawsuits over the past three decades — and a large number of those involve ordinary Americans,” the report noted, “who say Trump or his companies have refused to pay them.”
People like dishwashers, painters and waiters.
Yet the “great” Trump, as he calls himself, campaigned — and won — on his “great” business prowess.
Trump still owns the company, but has turned the operations over to his sons, Donald Jr. and Eric. Are his boys falling down on the job?
“We have always paid our real estate taxes on a timely basis, and to say otherwise is totally disingenuous,” the Post quoted a company spokeswoman as saying.
Maybe Trump should spend more time tending to his “great” business in Chicago.
As far as I know, he hasn’t set foot in Chicago since he ran away from his own “Make America Great Again” tour back in March 2016.
Candidate Trump was set to appear at a long-planned evening rally at the UIC Pavilion. The 10,000-capacity building was nearly full, with a rowdy assemblage of avid supporters and angry protestors.
Trump didn’t show. His campaign called it off over safety concerns.
No doubt they feared the protesters, who had been organizing against the racist, xenophobic and misogynist candidate.
He hasn’t been here since, choosing instead to rail against the city from his cushy White House digs. He asks, ad nauseam, “What the hell is going on in Chicago?”
He attacks the city as we struggle with violent crime. He demeans our immigrant communities.
When Trump doesn’t pay his bills, one of his minions can make it disappear with the click of a mouse. The late fees probably amount to less than a fancy Mar-a-Lago dinner.
In Chicago, there’s real pain. Last spring, Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas warned that tens of thousands of property owners were in danger of having their property tax debts sold to companies that could charge high interest rates on the overdue obligations.
About 37,000 property owners would see their taxes put up for auction, she warned, if they failed to come up with the money.
This perennial problem hits hardest among senior citizens, the disabled, immigrants and the poor. Nearly half of those with outstanding bills owed less than $1,000, Pappas told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Come to Chicago. Mr. President. Learn how the rest of us live.
But then, you would have to care.
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