Business Empire at Risk from Covid, Capitol Riot, Debt

His Fortune Slips to $2.3 Billion as Covid and Riot Take a Toll

Donald Trump upended the American presidency after stepping away from the company that made him rich and famous. Four years later, returning to his empire after losing the White House, what he finds may upend him.

Trump’s net worth is down to $2.3 billion from $3 billion when he became president, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The pandemic he promised would disappear is walloping his company, and the riot that got him impeached for a second time is wounding his brand.

His financial disclosures and loan documents, interviews with former executives and industry analysts, and a host of legal fights and investigations reveal just how much trouble Trump and his company could face. Covid has been hard on office buildings key to his wealth and hotels and resorts that bear his name. The fallout from the Capitol assault has hurt his relationships with brokers and lenders. At least $590 million in loans come due in the next four years, more than half personally guaranteed by Trump, and his scrapyard of failed enterprises has only gotten more crowded.

But Trump, whose company declined to comment, has bounced back before. A post-pandemic economic recovery could reinflate the value of his properties. He could continue his run of bestsellers, pivot back to television or start a rival to the social media platforms that have shunned him. Even if things go poorly, he could make the best of losses by using them to slash his tax bills, as he’s done for years.

Only Trump knows what he’s thinking as he contemplates the defeat he denies and teases another run. When he looks around, much of what he sees will be sad and some will be a total disaster. Inside his empire is a grab bag of opportunities that no former politician can rival and threats that no tycoon would want.

Commercial Real Estate

We’ll See




No segment in Trump’s business world is as important as commercial real estate, which accounts for about three-quarters of his net worth. And few industries in the U.S. have been as hard hit over the past year, when workers disappeared from office towers and business districts became ghost towns. He’s facing a “triple whammy” from Covid, the Capitol riot and an aging portfolio of properties, says Ruth Colp-Haber, who runs office consultant Wharton Property Advisors. “These are the businesses you don’t want to be in right now.”

Vornado Properties

Most office workers in New York and San Francisco are still stuck at home. That’s terrible news for Trump, whose most valuable holding is a 30% stake in two skyscrapers owned by Vornado Realty Trust at 555 California St. in San Francisco and 1290 Ave. of the Americas in New York. The value of his stake, which makes up roughly one-third of his fortune, has fallen by $80 million since 2019 to about $685 million. Billionaire Steven Roth, who runs Vornado, has said the company explored a sale.

40 Wall St.

Trump’s Art Deco tower in Lower Manhattan has fallen in value to $277.7 million from $550 million in 2016, in part the result of a decline in revenue and a worsening market. Some tenants say they’re leaving or considering it, and loan documents show Trump has offered concessions to stay in the 91-year-old building. Broker Cushman & Wakefield Plc, which handled leasing, cut ties to Trump after his supporters stormed the Capitol.

Trump Tower

Once his crown jewel, the Fifth Avenue building was turned into a fortress after Trump won the presidency. At the top is a marbled and golden triplex that’s no longer his primary residence. Apartment owners have seen their units linger on the market, even with steep discounts. The Trump Organization owns and manages the retail space, as well as the former Niketown store around the corner, where Tiffany has taken up temporary residence. Rents on Fifth Avenue, in decline even before the pandemic, have plunged 32% from a 2018 peak, according to the Real Estate Board of New York.

Resorts and Hotels



Trump owns, manages or licenses his name to about a dozen hotels and resorts, from one in an old post office near the White House where the bar is named for Benjamin Franklin, to two in Scotland. Trump has personally guaranteed $330 million of their debt. Almost half comes from a loan for the Washington hotel, more than a third is for his Miami golf resort, and the rest is tied to a Chicago property. His lender, Deutsche Bank AG, said after the riot that it won’t do business with him again.

Trump International Hotel in Washington

Trump’s Washington hotel was a chandeliered symbol of conflict: The government he controlled leased the building to him, and lobbyists and foreign officials bought $100 vodka cocktails with caviar. But revenue fell to $14.3 million last year, down $26.2 million from 2019, according to financial disclosure figures adjusted to account for unequal time periods. His company put the hotel on the market in 2019 for more than $500 million and said it rejected bids “north of $350 million.” Its brokers quit in January. Michael Bellisario, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co., says the asking price isn’t realistic.

Trump National Doral Miami

The Doral, with 643 guest rooms and four golf courses, used to be one of Trump’s biggest cash cows. Now it’s suffering from the pandemic. Income last year tumbled more than $57 million from 2015, and 560 workers have been temporarily laid off or furloughed.


Trump bought the 126-room Marjorie Merriweather Post estate in Palm Beach, Florida, for about $10 million in 1985. He turned it into a private club that has been his home and base of operations since he left the White House. The property brought in $22.9 million last year, up from $22.3 million in 2015, disclosures show. Members, who pay $250,000 for a chance to rub elbows with Trump, sometimes give him a standing ovation when he enters the dining area.


“Could Be Huge”

After Trump left his company in the hands of his adult sons, Eric and Don Jr., there were plans to open hotels in the South under the brands Scion and American Idea. That never happened. The Trumps could try again, catering to their base of supporters with mid-market hotels, resorts or even branded residential buildings. Pent-up demand for travel once Covid restrictions are removed could be a boost.


We’ll See




Golf has been one of the few bright spots for the Trump empire during the pandemic, thanks to enthusiasm for a socially distanced outdoor sport. The number of rounds played last year was among the highest ever, according to Mike Loustalot, co-founder of Sagacity Golf, which collects data on the industry. But all isn’t well at the 19 courses his company owns or manages. Two in Scotland, Trump Turnberry and Aberdeen, have consistently lost money, U.K. filings show. After the Capitol attack, the PGA of America voted to end an agreement to host next year’s tournament at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey, saying holding it there would hurt the group’s brand. The opening of Trump World Golf Club Dubai, Trump’s second course in the United Arab Emirates, has been delayed for years. That course, and two in Indonesia, are listed on his website as “coming soon.”

Licensing and Management



For decades, the man who likes to call himself the greatest builder in New York has slapped his name on other people’s properties and products for a fee. Most of the income from licensing deals he reported during his first campaign—hotels in Indonesia, Connecticut condos, menswear at Macy’s—has dried up. Some long-gone products still send him a few hundred dollars a month, like a Trump mattress advertised as a “breakthrough in gel memory.” Serta moved to end that deal after Trump called Mexican immigrants “rapists.” After the Capitol riot, Trump Plaza in Florida’s West Palm Beach voted to strip Trump’s name, and New York City is trying to pull his contracts to run ice rinks, a carousel and a golf course, which Eric Trump has said the company will fight.


“Could Be Huge”

The man whose motto was “America First” could look outside the U.S. He has potential partners in Russia, Saudi Arabia, India and Israel.

Other Properties

We’ll See




Trump, who inherited the family’s outer-borough company from his father, aimed for what he called “something grander.” Since then, his company has collected a hodgepodge of luxury estates. He put a Palm Beach mansion at 1125 S. Ocean Blvd. on the market for $49 million at the end of February, much more than the $18.5 million he paid to buy it in 2018 from his sister. He doesn’t drink, and his vodka brand vanished a decade ago, yet Trump Winery in Charlottesville, Virginia, is one of the few assets listed in financial disclosures that both increased in value and brought in more money in 2020 than in 2015. Trump paid $7.5 million for the more than 200-acre Seven Springs estate in Bedford, New York. After plans to develop the property were blocked, he claimed a $21 million tax break for promising to conserve land, according to the New York Times.




Trump hasn’t run an airline since his short-lived Trump Shuttle was taken over by lenders in 1992. But he still owns a fleet that includes a Boeing 757, which hasn’t gone anywhere since July 2019, according to corporate flight-intelligence firm JetTrack. All of his planes are decades old. He has sold some aircraft and marked down the value of his fleet and associated entities on financial disclosures, from seven worth at least $59 million in 2015 to five valued at least $6.5 million in 2020.


Total Disaster




Trump has put his name on at least 19 books, starting with “The Art of the Deal” in 1987. These days, he may be thinking more about one that came a decade later: “The Art of the Comeback.” It’s hard to estimate how much Trump made in royalties before his financial disclosures, but they faded during his time in office. Income from books dropped to at least $119,341 last year from more than $888,000 in 2015. In 2015, “Crippled America” made him the most money. By 2020, its royalties had disappeared.


“Could Be Huge”

Trump’s most anticipated and potentially lucrative book, his post-presidential memoir, is still ahead of him. Barack and Michelle Obama reportedly got about $65 million for their memoirs, and Bill Clinton raked in a $15 million advance for his 2004 book. Trump’s prospects for a bigtime tell-all seemed to dim in January, when Simon & Schuster canceled plans to publish a book by Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, citing the Republican’s effort to overturn the election. Even so, Trump’s followers remain poised to turn his account of his presidency into a bestseller.




Trump’s sale of the Miss Universe beauty pageant in 2015, which accounted for as much as $49.3 million in income that year, came as his career as a reality TV star was winding down. “The Apprentice” was one of his biggest claims to fame and a major source of income—almost $200 million, according to the New York Times. Trump had cameos in “Home Alone 2,” “Zoolander” and “Sex and the City.” After the Capitol riot, the Screen Actors Guild considered revoking his membership, but Trump quit before that happened. Trump’s SAG pension paid him about $80,000 last year.


“Could Be Huge”

The most obvious way he can profit post-presidency is with a news channel or social media platform that would appeal to his 74 million 2020 voters. Trump had a cozy relationship with Fox News, but he started taunting Rupert Murdoch’s networks last year for not backing him with enough zeal. Potential partners include Sinclair Broadcast Group and Newsmax Media. Banned for life by Twitter and at least temporarily by Facebook, Trump could start or join forces with a rival platform. Then there’s the possibility of an arena tour, something like the rallies that helped send him to the White House.


Trump was seven years out of college when he and his family settled federal housing discrimination accusations. Now he has bigger legal headaches. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is looking at allegations of tax and insurance fraud, among other issues, and in February the Supreme Court let Vance get eight years of Trump’s tax returns. New York’s attorney general, investigating whether Trump inflated property values to get tax or insurance benefits, is said to be looking at Seven Springs, as well as properties in Chicago, Manhattan and Los Angeles County. Washington D.C.’s attorney general filed a lawsuit last year against Trump’s inauguration committee, alleging it funneled money to his hotel by paying inflated rates. Trump is also fighting a lawsuit over ACN, a multilevel marketing firm that used Trump as a promoter. Plaintiffs say it was a pyramid scheme, which the company has denied.

The Scrapyard

Much of the Trump brand is long gone. Here are some of the ghosts of Trump’s past:

Donald Trump The Fragrance • Success and Empire colognes • Trump University • Trump Steaks • Trump Vodka • Trump Energy Drink • Select by Trump coffee • Trump: The Game • • New Jersey Generals U.S. Football League team • Tour de Trump bicycle race • Trump casinos (Trump’s Castle/Trump Marina, Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, Trump Taj Mahal, Trump World’s Fair, Trump Casino in Indiana) • Trump magazines • Trump Model Management • Trump Mortgage • Trump Network vitamins • Trump Shuttle • Donald J. Trump Signature Collection for Macy’s

How We Did It

To look at how Trump’s business empire fared during his four years in the White House, Bloomberg compiled income and valuation numbers from two main sources: his own annual financial disclosures and the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Income and revenue figures come from disclosures he filed in May 2016 and January 2021. The 2016 filing includes about 16 months, mostly in 2015, and the 2021 filing covers a period of about 12 ½ months, mostly in 2020. Those figures were annualized to account for the different time periods. Where a range was provided, the lower bound was used and similarly annualized. In one case where revenue was reported as “Over $5 million,” making comparisons across years difficult, figures weren’t annualized. In commercial real estate, where revenue for most properties was reported as “Over $5 million,” valuation figures were used instead. Income from Miss Universe is not annualized because part of it represents the sale of the organization in 2015, not its revenue for that year.

Valuation figures come from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which compiles information from financial disclosures, loan documents, Vornado SEC filings and other sources. The current $2.3 billion valuation for Trump’s net worth is down from about $3 billion in February 2016. Much of the $700 million difference is a result of the pandemic emptying out offices and resorts, reducing revenue and, in turn, value.

The Bloomberg Billionaires Index groups assets slightly differently than how they are arranged here, combining golf courses and resorts and categorizing some hotels and commercial properties as “Other Properties.” Valuation figures for commercial real estate include only major properties: 40 Wall St., 1290 Ave. of the Americas, 555 California St., 6 East 57th St. and 725 Fifth Ave. Some commercial assets are not included because their 2016 values aren’t available. These include the retail space at 845 United Nations Plaza, Trump Plaza Commercial and TIHT Commercial. The combined 2021 valuation of those assets is $65.9 million. The value of Trump’s aircraft has dropped over the years, in part because he has sold some of his fleet. The value of Trump’s stocks and other liquid assets as reported in the financial disclosure are included in the $2.3 billion valuation, but not in this graphic.

Debt amounts come from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which obtains them from loan documents, or from Trump’s financial disclosures when those documents weren’t available.


Reporting: Sophie Alexander, Max Abelson
With assistance from: Greg Farrell, Jack Witzig, Caleb Melby, Bill Allison, Tom Maloney, Natalie Wong
Data Research: Andre Tartar
Design and Development: Pablo Robles, Paul Murray, Jackie Gu
Editing: Robert Friedman, Tina Davis, Chloe Whiteaker, Alex Tribou