U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event at Trump Doral golf course in Miami, Florida, U.S. July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump arrives at a campaign event at Trump Doral golf course in Miami, Florida, U.S., July 27, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, U.S., July 25, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, U.S., July 25, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump poses for a photo at a campaign event in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, U.S., July 25, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a town hall, Monday, July 25, 2016, in Roanoke, Va. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump (L) shakes hand with his vice presidential running mate Indiana Governor Mike Pence on July 16, 2016, during a press conference in New / AFP PHOTO / KENA BETANCURKENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images (Kena Betancur/AFP/Getty Images)
Republican U.S.presidential candidate Donald Trump (L) embraces Indiana Governor Mike Pence after introducing Pence as his vice presidential running mate in New York City, U.S., July 16, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid (Brendan Mcdermid/Reuters)
epa05428105 US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump (C) and Indiana Governor Mike Pence (L) shake hands at the New York Hilton Hotel Grand Ballroom in New York, New York, USA, 16 July 2016. Trump announced Pence to be his pick as running mate for the presidential elections. EPA/JASON SZENES (Jason Szenes/EPA)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 07: Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump arrives at RNC headquarters for a meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), and House Republicans July 7, 2016 in Washington, DC. Later in the day Trump is scheduled to meet with Senate Republicans. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Republican U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump waves after meeting with House Republican members in Washington, U.S., July 7, 2016. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
Supporters wait to see U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speak at a campaign rally at the Sharonville Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio July 6, 2016. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, right, acknowledge the crowd during a campaign rally at the Sharonville Convention Center, Wednesday, July 6, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Donald Trump, presumptive Republican presidential nominee, speaks during a campaign event in Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S., on Wednesday, July 6, 2016. Tennessee Senator Bob Corker has withdrawn his name from consideration as Trump's running mate, a move that deprives the Republican establishment of a contender who could have added experience and gravitas to the ticket. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg (Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 6: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump signs autographs during a campaign rally at the Sharonville Convention July 6, 2016, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Sharonville Convention Center July 6, 2016, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Trump is campaigning in Ohio ahead of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next week. (John Sommers II/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 6: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump talks with campaign supporters in the over flow room after his campaign rally at the Sharonville Convention Center July 6, 2016, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Trump is campaigning in Ohio ahead of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next week. (John Sommers II/Getty Images)
Donald Trump, presumptive Republican presidential nominee, speaks during the Western Conservative Summit in Denver, Colorado, U.S., on July 1, 2016. Trump is looking to project party unity in the Hamptons next week, when he'll huddle with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus at a fundraiser featuring top donors to some of his former rivals. Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg (Matthew Staver/Bloomberg)
DENVER, CO - JULY 01: Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at the 2016 Western Conservative Summit at the Colorado Convention Center on July 1, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. The Summit, being held July 1-3, is expected to attract more than 4,000 attendees. (Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during the opening session of the Western Conservative Summit Friday, July 1, 2016, in Denver. The summit, which brings together Republicans from across the West, runs through Sunday. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump points to an airplane passing overhead at a town hall-style campaign event at the former Osram Sylvania light bulb factory, Thursday, June 30, 2016, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
A former worker at the Osram Sylvania light bulb factory speaks about jobs going to Mexico, alongside Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in white cap, Thursday, June 30, 2016, at a campaign event outside the plant in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a campaign town hall meeting outside a closed Osram Sylvania manufacturing facility in Manchester, New Hampshire June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (Brian Snyder/Reuters)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a town hall-style campaign event at the former Osram Sylvania light bulb factory, Thursday, June 30, 2016, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump answers a question from an audience member at a campaign town hall meeting outside a closed Osram Sylvania manufacturing facility in Manchester, New Hampshire June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (Brian Snyder/Reuters)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to the media on the golf course at his Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen, Scotland, June 25, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)
US presidential candidate Donald Trump chats with the watching media aboard a golf cart with granddaughter Kai after he arrived at the Trump International Golf Links at Balmedie, near Aberdeen, Scotland, Saturday June 25, 2016. Presidential hopeful Donald Trump is on a short break away from his presidential campaign. (Andrew Milligan / PA via AP) UNITED KINGDOM OUT - NO SALES - NO ARCHIVES (Andrew Milligan/AP)
AYR, SCOTLAND - JUNE 24: A bagpipe player wears traditional dress next to Presumptive Republican nominee for US president Donald Trump as he arrives to his Trump Turnberry Resort on June 24, 2016 in Ayr, Scotland. Mr Trump arrived to officially open his golf resort which has undergone an eight month refurbishment as part of an investment thought to be worth in the region of two hundred million pounds. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at Turnberry Golf course in Turnberry, Scotland, June 24, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)
epa05387765 A view of the media pack as US Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump gives a speech at the Trump Turnberry Golf Course, Scotland, Britain, 24 June 2016. Trump arrived to re-open his Golf Course at the Trump Turnberry, a Luxury Collection Resort in Scotland. EPA/NIGEL RODDIS (Nigel Roddis/EPA)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks in New York, Wednesday, June 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers a speech during a campaign event at the Trump Soho Hotel in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., June 22, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar (Mike Segar/Reuters)
epa05383566 Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, delivers a speech at the Trump SoHo hotel in New York, New York, USA, 22 June 2016. The majority of the speech focused on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, his likely Democratic party rival in the presidential campaign. EPA/JUSTIN LANE (Justin Lane/EPA)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives supporters a fist pump as he arrives on stage to speak at a rally Saturday, June 18, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump cheer as he speaks at a rally Saturday, June 18, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 18: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump acknowledges the crowd of supporters during a campaign rally on June 18, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona. Trump returned to Arizona for the fourth time since starting his presidential campaign a year ago. (Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
A woman holds up a campaign sign as Republican U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Phoenix, Arizona, June 18, 2016. REUTERS/Nancy Wiechec (Nancy Wiechec/Reuters)
PHOENIX, AZ - JUNE 18: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to a crowd of supporters during a campaign rally on June 18, 2016 in Phoenix, Arizona. Trump returned to Arizona for the fourth time since starting his presidential campaign a year ago. (Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, left, shouts to Secret Service agents that supporter Diana Brest, right, had been waiting in line since 2 a.m. to see the candidate speak at a rally Saturday, June 18, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
MANCHESTER, NH - JUNE 13: Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump walks out after speaking during a campaign event at the Saint Anselm College - New Hampshire Institute of Politics Auditorium in Manchester, NH on Monday June 13, 2016. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
TAMPA, FLORIDA - JUNE 11: Supporters attend a campaign rally of Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump at the Tampa Convention Center on June 11, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. Florida Gov. Rick Scott spoke at the rally and introduced Trump. (Gerardo Mora/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump Saturday, June 11, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
A supporter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump holds up a sign during a campaign stop Saturday, June 11, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
epa05357744 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally at Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida, USA on 11 June 2016. EPA/CRISTOBAL HERRERA (Cristobal Herrera/EPA)
Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hope to capture a photo of the candidate after a campaign speech Saturday, June 11, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, right, poses for a photo with a supporter after a campaign speech Saturday, June 11, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Photo Gallery: Businessman Donald Trump officially became the Republican nominee at the party’s convention in Cleveland.

“It has not been easy for me. And you know I started off in Brooklyn, my father gave me a small loan of a million dollars.”

–Donald Trump, at a town hall appearance, Oct. 26, 2015

“He (Marco Rubio) also said I got $200 million from my father. I wish. I wish. I got a very, very small loan from my father many years ago. I built that into a massive empire and I paid my father back that loan….The number is wrong by a factor of hundreds of — I mean, by a fortune. I got a small loan. I started a business.”

–Trump, news conference, Feb. 26, 2016

A big part of Donald Trump’s mythology is that he built a real estate empire by himself.

Yet his father, Fred Trump, was at one point one of the richest men in America after constructing apartment complexes for the middle-class in Brooklyn and Queens. Donald Trump’s insight was to cross the river and start building in Manhattan, a much more prominent stage for the publicity-conscious would-be billionaire.

Rubio’s claim that Trump received a $200-million inheritance appears too high, though the real figure is elusive. As far as we can determine, the assets distributed to Fred C. Trump’s descendants before and after his death in 1999 has not been revealed. The Daily News in 2000 cited family estimates that his estate was worth $100 million to $300 million but The New York Times recently found documents in Queens Surrogate Court that show that Fred Trump, in his will, divided $20 million among his four surviving children, among other distributions after estate taxes. (The will was contested by the children of his oldest son, Fred C. Trump Jr., who had passed away.)

Trump’s father, like most wealthy individuals, also set up trusts before he died. Donald Trump admitted in a 2007 deposition that he borrowed at least $9 million from his future inheritance when he encountered financial difficulties. The documents (appended at the end of this article) suggest some property—worth, after expenses, about $30 million–was kept in trust after Fred Trump’s death to provide income to his wife, who died in 2000. So that also was presumably divided by the children after her death.

Let’s examine in more detail Trump’s claim that his rise to fortune was fueled by a “small loan.”

The Facts

The building of the Grand Hyatt hotel in 1978 near New York’s Grand Central station was a key element of Trump’s first big deal in Manhattan — obtaining an option on old Penn Central railroad properties. The new hotel, which replaced an aging Commodore property, helped put Trump on the map.

There was a nearly $1 million loan from Trump’s father that was part of the deal — Fred Trump’s Village Construction Corp. provided the loan to help repay draws on a Chase Manhattan credit line that Fred Trump had arranged for his son as he built the hotel. But that loan was only a small part of the father’s involvement in the deal.

Trump’s father — whose name had been besmirched in New York real estate circles after investigations into windfall profits and other abuses in his real estate projects — was an essential silent partner in Trump’s initiative. In effect, the son was the front man, relying on his father’s connections and wealth, while his father stood silently in the background to avoid drawing attention to himself.

Fred Trump — along with the Hyatt hotel chain — jointly guaranteed the $70 million construction loan from Manufacturers Hanover bank, “each assuming a 50 percent share of the obligation and each committing itself to complete the project should Donald be unable to finish it,” according to veteran Trump chronicler Wayne Barrett in his 1992 book, “Trump: The Deals and the Downfall.

Fred Trump’s signature on the guarantee ensured the new hotel would get built. “No document in the long paper trail attached to the Commodore deal better demonstrated the lack of bank confidence in the Donald or the project, and none made clear the limits of his promoter role,” Barrett wrote. Trump simply did not have the credit or connections to obtain such financing on his own. “It was Fred’s two-decade-old relationship with a top Equitable officer, Ben Holloway, that had helped entice them to do the project.”

Donald Trump makes no mention of his father’s secret — and essential — role in his 1987 memoir, “The Art of the Deal.”

In 1976, The New York Times published a fawning profile of Trump in which he was quoted as saying he was worth $200 million, even though he was only 30. But that figure –which has been widely cited – was false, according to examination of Trump’s finances in 1981 by the Casino Control Commission. (The document is embedded below.)

Trump’s tax returns at the time indicated his salaried income in 1976 was less than $100,000 a year, which he received as an officer in his father’s company. (His father remained chief executive of the company.) His income taxes reported $76,000 in income in 1975, $25,000 in income in 1976 and $118,000 in income in 1977. He paid no income tax in 1978 and 1979 as he reported negative income, likely because of tax shelters.

Trump also benefited from three trusts that had been set up for family members. In 1976, Fred Trump set up eight $1 million trusts, one each for his five children and three grandchildren, according to the casino document. (That today would be worth about $4 million in inflation-adjusted dollars.) The 1976 Trust paid Trump $19,000 in 1977, $47,200 in 1978, $70,000 in 1979, $90,000 in 1980 and $214,605 in 1981. Trump also received about $12,000 a year from a 1949 trust set up by his father and nearly $2,000 a year from another 1949 trust created by his grandmother. He also received a $6,000 gift every December from his parents.

The casino document lists several other loans from Trump’s father to his son, including a $7.5 million loan with at least a 12-percent interest rate that was still outstanding in 1981.

[Update, Sept. 23, 2016: The Wall Street Journal reported that a 1985 casino-license document showed that Donald Trump owed his father and father’s businesses about $14 million.]

In 1993, according to the 2005 book “TrumpNation,” by Timothy O’Brien, the children of Fred C. Trump expected to receive about $35 million each when their father passed away. With his casinos failing in the early 1990s, Donald Trump needed to borrow about $10 million to fund his living and office expenses but could offer no collateral to his siblings. He later sought another $20 million but his siblings balked, and a smaller amount was arranged, O’Brien said.

Trump insisted to O’Brien he had made “zero borrowings from the estate” and later unsuccessfully sued the author for libel. In a 2007 deposition related to the lawsuit, Trump admitted he had borrowed “a small amount” from his father’s estate: ‘I think it was like in the $9 million range.”

As Trump’s casinos ran into trouble, Trump’s father also purchased $3.5 million gaming chips, but did not use them, so the casino would have enough cash to make payments on its mortgage — a transaction which casino authorities later said was an illegal loan.

[Update, Oct. 3, 2018: A lengthy New York Times investigation exposes even more of this myth. After examining more than 100,000 confidential documents, the Times concluded that the“small loan" was actually $60.7 million, or $140 million in 2018 dollars, and much of it was never repaid. The article, which exposed various tax schemes used by the Trump family, also said Trump was highly dependent on his father’s wealth: “By age 3, he was earning $200,000 a year in today’s dollars from his father’s empire. He was a millionaire by age 8. In his 40s and 50s, he was receiving more than $5 million a year.”]

The Pinocchio Test

Trump protests too much when he says that Rubio’s $200-million figure is “wrong by a factor of hundreds.” Trump likely did not inherit $200 million by himself, though perhaps that was the size of the father’s estate, before taxes.

Moreover, Trump’s claim that he built a real-estate fortune out of a “small” $1 million loan is simply not credible. He benefited from numerous loans and loan guarantees, as well as his father’s connections, to make the move into Manhattan. His father also set up lucrative trusts to provide steady income. When Donald Trump became overextended in the casino business, his father bailed him out with a shady casino-chip loan—and Trump also borrowed $9 million against his future inheritance. While Trump asserts “it has not been easy for me,” he glosses over the fact that his father paved the way for his success — and that his father bailed him out when he got into trouble.

For ignoring and playing down the substantial advantages his father’s wealth gave him, Trump earns Four Pinocchios.

Four Pinocchios

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Casino Control Commission report on Trump’s Finances

Trump testimony on borrowing $9 million from father’s estate

Deposition of Donald J. Trump on Dec. 19, 2007

Portion of Fred Trump’s will

Courtesy of Jason Horowitz

Portion of Mary Anne Trump’s will

Courtesy of Jason Horowitz