One of the cornerstones of Donald Trump‘s campaign is the memory of 9/11. Trump notoriously recalled people in New Jersey cheering as the World Trade Center fell (which no other source has found to be true), and recently blamed the GOP and George W. Bush for the terrorist attack (which is partly true). Trump’s most known reference to 9/11 was when he brought up the attack to dismantle Ted Cruz’s “New York Values” insult.
According to a report from the Weekly Standard, Trump took advantage of programs that were supposed to help small business in the face of the World Trade Center attacks.
Shortly after September 11, the World Trade Center Business Recovery Grant program was founded. The taxpayer-funded grant program was intended to support small businesses in Manhattan that were harmed or displaced by the terrorist attacks. However, the program was flawed from the beginning and ended up overpaying businesses by nearly $5 million.
Although the program was intended to help small businesses, many large corporations benefited from its loopholes. Businesses like Dell, Morgan Stanley, and of course, Trump’s company 40 Wall Street, received money. Several years later, 40 Wall Street was valued at $400 million, which didn’t stop the company from taking $150,000 designated for recovering small businesses.
In 2006, the New York Daily News exposed companies that exploited the loopholes:
One couldn’t tell from ESDC records, for example, that “40 Wall Street LLC” is owned by Trump. The Donald bills himself as the “largest real estate developer in New York,” Last week, Trump sued a New York Times reporter for concluding in a book that the host of “The Apprentice” isn’t a billionaire. But the ESDC’s rules transformed Trump into a small-business man. His company collected a $150,000 grant for losses at 40 Wall St. The grant application describes the corporation through which Trump owns that building as having 28 employees and $26.8 million in annual revenues. That passed the ESDC’s small business test of less than 500 employees. But the revenue amount would put the single Trump property over the federal definition of a small business – which is $6 million annually for lessors of nonresidential buildings. A Trump spokeswoman did not respond to a call and e-mail message seeking comment.
Neither Trump nor any representative of his company responded to the allegations. Although Trump raises some good points about the generally positive way New York reacted to the terrorist attack, his own response of using a loophole to take taxpayer money to help his enormous business is much less admirable.