Trump’s Las Vegas high-rise means millions for former, and possibly future, president – Las Vegas Review-Journal

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Donald Trump spent years selling his name to real estate projects he didn’t build. But in Las Vegas, he has sizable ownership and income from a gold-glass tower he developed and put his name atop.

The cash flow he receives from America’s casino capital could prove helpful as he faces a mountain of court judgments and legal bills from his criminal and civil cases around the country.

The former president and current candidate for the White House still has ownership in more than 260 units in the 64-story Trump International hotel-condo tower, and he earns tens of millions of dollars of income from the property, according to Clark County property records and federal financial disclosures.

Trump partnered on the 1,282-room, non-gaming project with Las Vegas casino owner and friend Phil Ruffin. The developers have closed more than $400 million in unit sales since the luxury high-rise opened in 2008, property records show.

Trump and Ruffin each own half of a joint venture that built the property and owns the hotel and all unsold condo units, according to a court filing in 2022.

As measured by room count, Trump International is far from the biggest Las Vegas has to offer, nor is it the only gold-gleaming high-rise in town.

But unlike many other resorts in Las Vegas, it includes a mix of hotel operations, individually owned condos, and a portfolio of timeshare units owned by a separate company — all under one roof.

It’s also seen Trump supporters and protesters make their presence known outside.

Neither Trump representatives nor Ruffin, the billionaire owner of Treasure Island and Circus Circus, responded to requests for comment.

Legal bills

Trump’s net worth is in the billions, though his ongoing legal woes have proven costly.

Trump, 78, was convicted this spring of 34 counts of falsifying business records. He faces three other criminal cases and also has been ordered to pay more than a half-billion dollars in civil cases.

Trump has consistently denied wrongdoing and decried cases against him as political witch-hunts.

All told, Trump had spent more than $100 million on lawyers and other legal-related costs since leaving office in 2021, using donations to pay the invoices, The New York Times reported in March.

Meanwhile, his venture to Las Vegas has pumped out plenty of cash. In a financial disclosure last year, Trump reported about $33.4 million of income from the off-Strip property, up from about $28.6 million he reported in 2019, according to records from the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.

Las Vegas tower in spotlight

Trump and Ruffin held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their glitzy high-rise in spring 2008, not long before the economy nosedived. In 2012, Trump announced the sale of about 300 condos there to hotel giant Hilton in a deal that brought timeshares to the mix.

Hilton later spun off its timeshare division, Hilton Grand Vacations, which boasts 205 units in Trump International.

More recently, The Trump Organization’s financial handling of the property was part of a civil fraud case against the former president that led to a New York judge ordering Trump and other defendants to pay more than $450 million total.

New York Attorney General Letitia James sued Trump, his company and senior management in September 2022, alleging they had engaged in years of fraud to obtain more favorable lending and insurance terms and tax benefits.

The 200-plus-page complaint included a section on the Las Vegas property.

According to James’ office, Trump repeatedly submitted lower property valuations to Nevada tax authorities and higher valuations on financial statements.

In 2015, The Trump Organization submitted a $24.95 million valuation to dispute taxes in Nevada. That same year, according to James’ office, Trump’s financial statement valued the property at about $107.7 million, a figure the company reached “using fraudulent methods.”

Neither Ruffin nor Hilton — or any other outside owners in the tower — were accused of wrongdoing.

Contact Eli Segall at [email protected] or 702-383-0342.

High-rise market in suburban city

If Donald Trump looks to sell any of his Las Vegas condo units to raise cash, buyers would get a place in the gold-glass tower steps from Fashion Show Mall and near the casino-packed Strip.

But in Southern Nevada, the size of the high-rise buyer pool typically isn’t overwhelming.

Sales of high-rise condos account for a fraction of Las Vegas’ heavily suburban housing market and often draw wealthy out-of-town buyers. Transactions have lagged this year but have by no means evaporated.

A total of 368 high-rise units traded hands through June 26, down almost 9 percent from the same period last year, according to trade association Las Vegas Realtors, which pulls data from its resale-heavy listing service.

By comparison, more than 15,000 homes overall have been sold in Southern Nevada so far this year, up nearly 4 percent from the same stretch in 2023, the association reported.

– Eli Segall

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