Type to search

Trump’s Billionaire Cabinet Keep Omitting Millions From Ethics Forms

Business Headlines Money Reuters US White House

Trump’s Billionaire Cabinet Keep Omitting Millions From Ethics Forms

Share
Mulvaney

By Elizabeth Dilts

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s cabinet is worth a combined $14 billion, and they are catching flack in recent weeks for confessing an inability to keep track of their vast sums of wealth.

But private bankers who work with the ultra rich say that if they had a dollar for every time a client forgot about a million, they would be, well, almost as rich as their clients.

“We see it all the time,” with new clients, said Chris Walters of GenSpring Family Offices, SunTrust Bank Inc’s branch for clients with more than $50 million in assets. “It’s not that they are surprised they own the asset. They just omitted it in the inventory.”

Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner who is Trump’s pick to lead the U.S. Treasury Department, was grilled by members of the Senate last week for inadvertently failing to disclose more than $100 million in real estate.

On Tuesday, the nominee for head of the budget office, Mick Mulvaney, said he did not realize he needed to pay $15,000 in federal taxes for a nanny until scrutinizing his finances more closely for confirmation proceedings.

Trump himself said in an interview with Reuters last March that he does not pay much attention to his own investments in hedge funds and mutual funds.

“I have no idea how they are doing. I don’t really care,” Trump said. “I’m in a lot of things. I may be in a few funds. I have no idea if they are up or down. I just know that they have been very good over a period of time.”

Trump’s lawyer Sheri Dillon has since said that he has liquidated all of his investments.

Senate leadership has delayed confirmation hearings for three other wealthy Trump nominees to allow more time for nominees to file disclosures and to accommodate schedules.

In response to questions about how people with millions or billions of dollars who hire experts to carefully tally their vast wealth could lose track of such big chunks of money, private bankers and family office managers said their clients simply live much more complicated financial lives than ordinary people.

About one-in-five people with more than $25 million in assets hire advisers to take care of tasks like paying daily bills, managing staff at multiple homes and keeping track of assets around the globe, according to a report by research firm Spectrem. Advisers say their clients need this type of assistance because they work, socialize, and travel too frequently to take care of mundane tasks themselves.

Eileen Foley, head of Bank of New York Mellon Corp’s family office business, said that some clients want daily reports detailing every dollar that goes in and out of each account. They also ask for daily reports on investments, tangible assets, properties, and liabilities.

When a client is nominated for a position on the board of a public company or in government, this type of daily monitoring can help she said: “It’s not a fire drill.”

But even with that type of due diligence, clients often forget to mention assets held by multiple people, like limited partnerships. Those structures are harder for advisers to discover in financial statements, because they are often structured to keep ownership opaque.

Mnuchin, for instance, failed to disclose around $900,000 worth of artwork held by his children, according to media reports. Mnuchin did not respond to requests for comment. He also did not initially disclose homes in New York, Los Angeles, and Mexico.

The complexity of a rich person’s financial life usually builds over time as they acquire houses and collections and other belongings, advisers said.

In many cases, if a client has not been forced to detail all their assets or confirm that every domestic employee has insurance coverage, then they probably have not done it, said Bill Woodson, head of North American family offices at Citigroup Inc’s private bank.

“It’s understandable why” they forget, he said. “It doesn’t excuse it.”

(Reporting by Elizabeth Dilts; Additional reporting by Lawrence Delevingne; Editing by Lauren Tara LaCapra and Lisa Shumaker)

IMAGE: Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) testifies before a Senate Budget Committee confirmation hearing on his nomination of to be director of the Office of Management and Budget on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 24, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

Tags:

5 Comments

  1. bojimbo26 January 28, 2017

    Purely theatrical – they have to `show` they are of The People .

    Reply
    1. Rhodawmax January 28, 2017

      Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj412d:
      On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
      !mj412d:
      ➽➽
      ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash412ShopWatchGetPay$97Hour ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!mj412d:….,….

      Reply
    2. Dan S January 28, 2017

      The pod people perhaps ????

      Reply
  2. Joan January 28, 2017

    People who “lose track” or “forget” about their personal millions should not be in charge of the people’s billions.
    Added to the complexities of their assets is the nominees’s belief that reporting to the ethics committee is beneath them. They see no reason to be honest; with Trump as a role model, why would they?
    It is fitting that in the year of the rooster our president is all crow, little cock. Happy Chinese New Year.

    Reply
  3. latebloomingrandma January 28, 2017

    And to think that former Senator Daschle had to pull out of the list for HHS Secretary because he had a car and driver that he didn’t declare for taxes. He was an expert on health care, and maybe many of the problems in getting the ACA passed would have been smoother. There sure seems to be different standards for Repub and Democratic administrations. It’s so skewed now we have Steve Freaking Bannon secretly running the gov’t. I keep hoping I wake up and find that this has all been a scary dream.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.