Trump engaged in tax battle with officials over value of Westchester County golf course

Monday, May 16, 2016
Questions arise over how much Donald Trump, his businesses pay in taxes
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Dave Evans has more.

OSSINING, Westchester County (WABC) -- It's a sprawling golf course in Westchester County, but could it be worth just $1.4 million?

That's what Donald Trump's lawyers had said it was worth, apparently in a bid to pay lower taxes.

Now, new questions are being raised about the tax loopholes the Republican Presidential candidate takes advantage of.

Donald Trump is secretive about his taxes. He refuses to release them. It's something every nominee has done since 1976.

"You got to as yourself, why doesn't he want to release them?" said Hillary Clinton, (D) Presidential Candidate.

In Ossining, Trump has said his Briarcliff Golf Club is worth $50 million or more. But at Ossining Town Hall, a big fight is brewing.

Trump's team claims in newly filed tax paperwork that the golf club isn't worth anything close to $50 million. They had claimed a value of just $1.4 million, and that means a 90% cut in Trump's taxes.

"With Trump National, if Mr. Trump isn't paying his fair share of the taxes on his golf course that means all the little people, all of us, have to pick up the difference," said Dana Levenberg, Ossining Town Supervisor.

Eyewitness News met Monday with the town supervisor and assessor. When we asked if that 140-acre property really be valued at $1.4 million, they laughed.

"The reality is the $1.4 million filing is really what attorneys do," said Fernando Gonzalez, Ossining Town Assessor.

New paperwork shows the 2015 assessment at the golf club is $14.3 million.

But Trump's grievance claim was $1.4 million.

Neighbors near the golf course have homes valued at much more than $1.4 million.

"I don't blame him for not wanting to pay taxes on it. It's a good business decision, but it's ridiculous. It really is," said Susan Chatzky, a neighbor.

ABC News is reporting Trump is a master at finding tax loopholes.

When he bought a yacht, he avoid New Jersey state taxes by using an off shore corporation to buy it.

At the Grand Central Hyatt he allegedly understated profits to cut his tax bill.

And now in Ossining there's a standoff now over the golf course.

"We think that a very prestigious golf course on a prestigious piece of property with beautiful views of the Hudson River is worth a lot of money and you should pay taxes on it accordingly," Levenberg said.

Late Monday, the Ossining supervisor reported that Trump's lawyers had revised their estimate to $9 million.