Donald Trump, the real-estate mogul and television impresario, released new details of his net worth on Tuesday, with his customary showmanship -- and exaggeration.
In announcing his run for the Republican presidential nomination, Trump touted new financial summaries that he said would reveal the extent of his assets.
In the end, his aides distributed a single-page document headlined "Summary of Net Worth" that was short of details and confirmed what Trump-watchers have noted for decades: It's nearly impossible to get Trump to provide a clear statement of his wealth.
The document showed Trump with a net worth of $8.7 billion, but it was missing key details. For example, Trump listed real-estate licensing deals, brand and branded developments as worth $3.3 billion, but supplied no third-party verification of the totals.
He listed "Club Facilities and Related real estate" as worth $2 billion with only $146.6 million of liabilities. There was no explanation of how he arrived at those figures.
Debating Trump's net worth has been an ongoing parlor game. He said in 2013 that his net worth was "probably over $10 billion." Some published estimates in the past decade suggested the total was less than $1 billion.
Even the most experienced accountants find the Trump portfolio a challenge because his assets and liabilities are intricately complex, entwined with public subsidies and opaque partnerships. Not to mention Trump has a reputation as a chronic exaggerator.
"I have assets," the mogul said to the audience assembled at Trump Tower in New York on Tuesday. "And I have liabilities of about $500 million. That's long-term debt, very low interest rates."
The wealth he declared Tuesday is more than double the estimate of his net worth by Forbes Magazine, which pegs his net holdings at $4.1 billion. That figure would still make him the wealthiest Republican contender.
Trump has lashed out at reporters and others who challenge high estimates of his income. He filed a libel suit in 2005 against a New York Times reporter who wrote that he was probably worth between $150 and $250 million. The suit was dismissed.
If Trump's candidacy proceeds, as he says it will, he will have to file a more reliable estimate of his assets and liabilities with the Federal Election Commission. Trump backers have said he will file within the allotted time -- 30 days after a declaration of candidacy; although two 45-day extensions are allowed, Trump suggested Tuesday he would not seek them.
Trump said the net worth figures he released are not a boast, but an example of what the country needs.
"I'm not doing that to brag, because you know what? I don't have to brag. I don't have to, believe it or not. I'm doing that to say that that's the kind of thinking our country needs," he said.
"He's a brilliant marketer," former New York governor Eliot Spitzer said about Trump in a 2011 CNN broadcast. "His entire life story is one of 'I am bigger than everybody else. I am better than everybody else.'"
Occasionally, Trump's financial statements bring unwanted attention. When tax receipts from an early project he led -- the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan -- plummeted to $667,000 from $3.7 million the year before, the city budget director called for a review. The city's auditor at the time, Karen Burstein, told the Los Angeles Times in 2011 that Trump's hotel relied on "aberrant" accounting practices to understate its profits by $5 million and shorted the city by $2,870,259 in taxes.
"It's extraordinary to me that we elevated someone to this position of public importance who has openly admitted that he has used government's incompetence as a wedge to increase his private fortune," Burstein told the Times.
For his part, Trump said his success at manipulating city and state governments was itself an argument for his presidential candidacy.
"I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created," he said Tuesday in a rambling speech to a crowd that he described as "thousands" but looked more like hundreds.
"The American dream is dead," Trump said at the end of his speech. "But if I win, I will bring it back bigger and better and stronger than ever before."
Ben Terris and Matea Gold contributed to this story.