Quote of the Day: Nothing in Writing, Please

Greg Lovett/The Palm Beach Post via ZUMA

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From a Palm Beach Post story by Christine Stapleton and Lawrence Mower about Donald Trump’s purchase of Mar-a-Lago in the early 90s:

Trump’s promise couldn’t be in writing, Trump attorney Rampell told the council, according to meeting minutes and transcripts. If the council insisted Trump’s commitment be in writing, his donation might be disqualified by the IRS as a charitable contribution.

The backstory here is that the city of Palm Beach wasn’t happy with Trump’s plans for preserving the Mar-a-Lago estate. So Trump’s lawyers proposed a deal: if the city council approved Trump’s plan to create a private club, Trump would turn over much of the interior of the mansion to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. But the deal had to be under the table. Trump wanted a tax deduction for his charitable contribution to the NTHP, and it’s not charitable if it’s done in return for something, is it?

So, wink wink nudge nudge, and the deal went through. But there was never any paper trail, so the IRS approved the charitable deduction. Life is good when you’re a millionaire.

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FACT:

Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2020 demands.

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