Jonathan Greenblatt of The Washington Post released audio tapes allegedly of Donald Trump pretending to be his own publicist “John Barron” lying to Greenblatt about Trump’s wealth in May 1984 in order to get on the Forbes 400 richest people list; Greenblatt worked for Forbes at the time.
Ironically, Trump’s youngest son is named Barron.
Greenblatt wrote in The Washington Post (and explained on CNN) how Trump/Barron falsely claimed that his father Fred Trump’s assets had been consolidated with his father’s assets making him wealthy enough to get on the Forbes 400:
The official was John Barron — a name we now know as an alter ego of Trump himself.
When I recently rediscovered and listened, for first time since that year, to the tapes I made of this and other phone calls, I was amazed that I didn’t see through the ruse: Although Trump altered some cadences and affected a slightly stronger New York accent, it was clearly him.
“Barron” told me that Trump had taken possession of the business he ran with his father, Fred. “Most of the assets have been consolidated to Mr. Trump,” he said. “You have down Fred Trump [as half owner] . . . but I think you can really use Donald Trump now.”
Trump, through this sockpuppet, was telling me he owned “in excess of 90 percent” of his family’s business. With all the home runs Trump was hitting in real estate, Barron told me, he should be called a billionaire…
Nearly every assertion supporting that claim was untrue. Trump wasn’t just poorer than he said he was. Over time I have learned that he should not have been on the first three Forbes 400 lists at all. In our first-ever list, in 1982, we included him at $100 million, but Trump was actually worth roughly $5 million — a paltry sum by the standards of his super-monied peers — as a spate of government reports and books showed only much later.
The White House declined to comment for this story. The Trump Organization did not respond to a request for comment.