Did Trump Commit Insurance Fraud?

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

In so many words, the Associated Press has posed the question: did Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump commit insurance fraud?

The Press reviewed court documents that showed Trump received a $17 million insurance payment for storm damage at his Mar-a-Lago resort in 2005, but they could not find any record of extensive damage or anyone who even remembers the property being damaged.

Palm Beach building department records show no permits for construction on that scale after the storms. Permits reflected smaller projects, including installation of new grease traps in the kitchen and tree trimming along the road. The only permits that appeared hurricane-related were for $3,000 in repairs to storm-damaged outdoor lighting and the vacuuming of sand from the property's beachfront pool. Likewise, records of the city's Landmarks and Preservation Commission reflected no repair work conducted following the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons.


The city's former planning administrator said getting away with such extensive, unpermitted work would have been unlikely. Frank cited both his own agency's vigilance and wealthy Palm Beach residents' habit of calling out each other's code violations. Once, Trump's neighbors hired lawyers to report suspicions that he improperly let guests sleep in poolside cabanas during a wedding.

"If there were $17 million dollars of damage, we sure as hell would have known about that," said Frank. "I would have known if there was anything in the magnitude of $100,000."

The Republican mayor of Palm Beach at the time — and Mar-a-Lago member — Jack McDonald, agreed: "I am unable to comprehend $17 million in reimbursable damage."

The Associated Press also spoke to Trump's longtime butler who also could not recall any extensive damage to the property.

So where did the majority of that $17 million go? Trump apparently pocketed the overwhelming majority of it according to a 2007 deposition filed in Trump's libel lawsuit against a journalist.

Trump reportedly claimed that his insurance policy did not require that he reinvest the money, but it's not clear if he had a justifiable reason to make the insurance claim in the first place.

The list of scandals that may have taken place at the Mar-a-Lago is getting very long.

  • tommo

    I understand we are all sick of this election, but given a bit more time it seems getting close to “Lock Him Up!”

  • muselet

    Hmm …

    Much of Trump’s property insurance business has long been handled by Pamela Newman, a leading insurance broker for Aon Risk Services Inc. Neither Newman nor AON would discuss the case with AP.

    … Representing Trump allowed Newman to bring up her work on behalf of Trump in sales pitches to wealthy clients, sometimes offering him as a reference, the employees said.

    Newman’s ties to Trump have endured. He and she both sit on the board of New York’s Police Athletic League. She has attended galas at Mar-a-Lago and donated the legal maximum of $2,700 to his presidential exploratory committee before he announced his run. She followed up last July with $25,000 in donations to the Make America Great Again PAC, according to Federal Election Commission records.

    According to the Trump deposition, Newman led the effort to obtain a payout on the Mar-a-Lago insurance policy. Trump did not identify which insurer actually footed the bill and the AP was unable to identify who paid the claim.

    That sounds kind of hinky to me, but what do I know? I’m just a member of the peasant class. But I do remember the old saying: if it walks like a duck and sounds like a duck, it’s probably an insurance scam.


    • Christopher Foxx

      Trump’s chummy with the person who arranges his unsupportable $17,000,000 insurance payout. He makes a donation to the prosecutor who then drops an investigation against him.

      But it’s Clinton who is influence peddling because while Secretary of State she met with foreign leaders.

      We’ll just call that another example of “Trump logic.”

  • katanahamon

    Yeah..but the system is “rigged” against him. What a piece of sh1t.

  • Badgerite

    Answer to the headline. Of course he did. That ‘man’ is a crook. What else is new. An Orange Crook.

  • gescove

    How could this happen? I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve had to jump through flaming insurance company hoops just to get a few hundred bucks to repair accident damage on my car. But Drumpf makes a call, says “oh, $17M ought to cover it”, and gets a check in the mail? WTF? Wonder what the kickbacks were like to the adjusters working the claim.

    • JMAshby

      The Associated Press also interviewed the former adjuster who claimed he couldn’t even remember Trump’s case.

      • I bet he doesn’t. “I can’t recall” is the probably the only defense the asshat has.

  • Draxiar

    I hope some lawyerly types have the wherewithal to pursue Trump for all of these fraudulent cons he’s involved with.