Trump gained riches, mogul aura from Apprentice, NYT reports

Mr Trump earned US$197 million directly from the "The Apprentice" over 16 years. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - US President Donald Trump earned US$427 million (S$585.95 million) from his role on the television show "The Apprentice," and that programme's success also projected the false image of a successful real estate mogul, which eventually helped him win the White House, according to a new report by the New York Times.

Mr Trump earned US$197 million directly from the "The Apprentice" over 16 years, plus an additional US$230 million from the licensing deals, sponsorships and seminars that came with his elevated profile, according to a New York Times report that looked at more than 20 years of the President's tax records.

The cash infusion rescued his personal finances that were struggling as losses mounted from his Atlantic City casinos.

He used the proceeds from his reality television star fame to finance a shopping spree of golf resorts, but then those lost money too, the newspaper reported on Monday night (Sept 28).

The Times first reported on Sunday that Mr Trump had avoided paying income taxes for several years thanks to aggressive tax deductions and millions of dollars in losses from his golf course and casino businesses to offset his tax bills, while presenting himself as a billionaire real estate magnate.

Some of Mr Trump's years hosting "The Apprentice" on NBC were among of the few years he reported positive tax income, the Times report said.

Over the years, he made so much he paid a total of US$70.1 million in income taxes, which was later refunded after Mr Trump used an aggressive accounting move to offset that income with losses from his casinos.

That refund is now under audit at the Internal Revenue Service, the newspaper said.

Mr Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, told the Times that the latest article was "yet another politically motivated hit piece full of inaccurate smears" appearing "before a presidential debate."

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