Journalist Claims Trump Used Fake Persona To Lie About His Wealth

Sonia Moskowitz  Getty Images North America

He wrote that when he was compiling the magazine's list of the richest people in America in the 80s, Trump had called him posing as "John Barron", a purported executive with The Trump Organization.

The only problem was that John Barron was actually Donald Trump.

The revelation has been made by a former Forbes journalist, Jonathan Greenberg. "I think a year ago someone showed me the article and he had two hundred and two hundred and the other's been pretty well consolidated now for the most part".

After recently unearthing audio tapes of phone calls he kept back in the day, Greenberg now says that he's amazed at not having seen through the ruse.

Greenberg said "Barron" called him in May 1984 to convince him to push up his estimate of Trump's wealth. "You have down Fred Trump [as half owner]. but I think you can really use Donald Trump now", stated Barron.

Forbes itself was wrong about his worth: In its first-ever Forbes 400 list, which came out two years before the exchange detailed above, Forbes reported that Trump was worth about $100 million.

Greenberg reflected in his piece in the Post over how this would become Trump's modus operandi in the future.

"Barron's" aim was to get Trump placed higher up the annual Forbes rich list.

In their first interview together for the list, Greenberg wrote that Trump "pulled out all the stops to convince me that he was the wealthiest real estate developer in New York" and that "he argued that his family was worth more than $900 million and deserved to be higher on our list than any of the far more accomplished developers".

After being pressed by Greenberg over the valuation of his apartments, Trump then said that they were worth $20,000. "It eventually paved a path toward the presidency", Greenberg wrote. Trump's claims that he bought any portion of his father's real estate empire were disproven by his father's will, which stated that Fred Trump retained ownership of his properties until his death in 1999. Trump also said that his wealth grew because of new projects such as Trump Tower and a casino deal in Atlantic City. During the 2016 election, Trump constantly boasted about his fortune, including one statement that claimed his net worth was "in excess of TEN BILLION DOLLARS", despite not releasing his tax returns and keeping any analysis of his finances behind a thick veil.

Read Greenberg's full account and listen to the audio of phone call with "Barron" here.

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