Donald Trump’s tale about why he took $ 150,000 in 9/11 money is as tall as the Downtown skyscraper he says he used in recovery efforts, according to government records.
Though the billionaire presidential candidate has repeatedly suggested he got that money for helping others out after the attacks, documents obtained by the Daily News show that Trump’s account was just a huge lie.
Records from the Empire State Development Corp., which administered the recovery program, show that Trump’s company asked for those funds for “rent loss,” “cleanup” and “repair” — not to recuperate money lost in helping people.
That government program was designed to help local businesses get back on their feet — not reimburse people for their charitable work.
If Trump’s company had asked for money for that reason it would have been rejected, officials said.
“He’s clearly wrong. I saw him say that and he’s obviously wrong,” said David Catalfamo, a senior adviser to then-Gov. George Pataki, who helped run the program.
“It was not part of the program to give money away for the other ancillary stuff. The way the program worked was to help businesses cover for uninsured losses. Businesses came forward with their losses and we covered part of them.”
Months ago, Trump patted himself on the back for his imaginary efforts.
“It was probably a reimbursement for the fact that I allowed people, for many months, to stay in the building (40 Wall St.), use the building and store things in the building,” Trump told Time magazine in April.
“I was happy to do it, and to this day I am still being thanked for the many people I helped. The value of what I did was far greater than the money talked about, much of which was sent automatically to building owners in the area.”
But those comments don’t match the forms Trump’s company submitted to the New York state government requesting the money for his property, the Trump Building at 40 Wall St.
Trump’s statement in April isn’t the only instance where he’s claimed he helped those impacted by the World Trade Center attacks by taking them in at his property at 40 Wall St.
Those documents, exclusively obtained by The News, previously reported that Trump’s organization was one of a number of well-heeled companies that received funds from a state program aimed at helping local businesses whose bottom lines were hurt by the terror attacks.
New York used looser guidelines than the federal government to determine what constitutes a small business — allowing Trump and others like Morgan Stanley and Bank of China to claim taxpayer funds.
Democrats argue Trump’s response is part of a pattern of lies that has defined his presidential campaign.
“This is just yet another outrage in the consistent pattern he has of not telling the truth, and really showing almost every time he opens his mouth that he’s somebody that’s not worthy to be the President of the United States,” said Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). “A lie about an issue around 9/11 is despicable.”
Trump’s April statement isn’t the only instance where he’s claimed he helped those affected by the World Trade Center attacks by taking them in at his 71-story property at 40 Wall St. When addressing the issue with The New York Times in May, he hinted at the real reason he got that money, before again pivoting to the claim that he did great work after the attacks.
Trump himself said his property “wasn’t affected by what happened to the World Trade Center” in the days after the attacks.
“The company received this small amount of money after qualifying, given the limited number of employees working at the property,” he said. “For many months, I allowed people to stay in the building, use the building and store things in the building.”
Trump, in the days after the attacks, said that his property “wasn’t affected by what happened to the World Trade Center,” though that was before subsequent shutdowns of the neighborhood and the loss of business activity in the area.
It’s unclear what, if any, help Trump provided to those affected by 9/11.
Trump’s campaign and his attorney did not respond to questions about why Trump claimed that he allowed people to use the building when the forms show otherwise, or requests for more information about who and how he helped after the terror attacks.
“Who were the people using the building? Why would they be in 40 Wall St.?” asked Catherine McVay Hughes, a lower Manhattan community organizer who helped grass-roots groups rebuild the neighborhood and currently is chairwoman of Community Board 1.
“It raises the question of what charitable work was done at 40 Wall St. … We’d all like to know.”