Back to
Fact Check: Trump’s claim that he built his company with $1 million loan

Trump consistently lowballs the help he got from his father. Trump has suggested he got his start when he obtained a $1 million loan from his father. “My father gave me a small loan of a million dollars,” he told NBC in October, which he claimed he had to pay back with interest. “A million dollars isn’t very much compared to what I built.”

But that ignores the fact that he joined his father’s thriving real estate business after college and that he relied on his father’s connections as he made his way in the real estate world.

For instance, 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.

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 a casino document. (That today would be worth about $4 million in inflation-adjusted dollars.) 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.

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

In a 2007 deposition, Trump admitted he had borrowed “a small amount” from his father’s estate: “I think it was like in the $9 million range.” And as Trump’s casinos ran into trouble, Trump’s father also purchased $3.5 million in gaming chips but did not use them, so the casino would have enough cash to make payments on its mortgage — a transaction that casino authorities later said was an illegal loan.

Real-time fact-checking and analysis of the final 2016 presidential debate

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will meet on stage in Las Vegas at 9 p.m. Eastern.