A former Forbes reporter says that President Donald Trump lied to him in order to make the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans, including impersonating an aide who didn’t exist to claim wealth he didn’t have.
An audiotape of the reporter’s alleged 1984 conversation with Trump was published in The Washington Post Friday. in which Trump is said to have disguised his voice.
While working on the Forbes 400 in May 1984, the reporter says that Trump contacted him claiming to be an aide named John Barron. In 2016, The Washington Post revealed that Barron was actually Trump himself and that he often used the name to pretend to be his own spokesperson.
During the call, Trump as Barron said that he had taken control of the business he ran with his father, and should be credited with owning those assets as well, which would make him a billionaire. Under a previous editor of the Forbes 400 list, the magazine had valued Trump’s assets at $200 million, only a fifth of what he claimed to own in interviews.
The reporter, Jonathan Greenberg, says that over time he learned that Trump shouldn’t have appeared on the lists at all. For instance, in his first appearance on the Forbes 400 in 1982, Trump is listed as having $100 million when he was actually worth around $5 million at the time, according to documents that later came to light.
While many real estate developers shied away from the list, Trump embraced it and repeatedly contacted the reporter to suggest he that he may not have all the facts and was undervaluing Trump’s wealth.
Trump has repeatedly declined to publicly share his tax returns. Currently, he claims to have a net worth “in excess of ten billion dollars.” He filed for an extension to file his 2017 taxes.