New Investigation: Trump Tower Toronto

A four-month investigation into the Trump Tower in Toronto, by the Toronto Star and Columbia Journalism Investigations, shows that the now-bankrupt, $500 million (CAD) luxury condo/ hotel development was hamstrung from the get-go by inexperienced and criminal partners, an unorthodox foreign financing deal and Trump’s apparent disregard for reputational damage so long as he could turn a profit.

For the first time, the investigation shows the motley crew behind the project: a fugitive fraudster; a New York camera store owner; a former Chicago nursing-home administrator; two small-time landlords in Britain; and a little-known Toronto billionaire who earned a fortune in the former Soviet Union. The one thing they all had in common: No experience in condo or hotel development.

Columbia fellows and Toronto Star reporters reviewed of thousands of pages of bankruptcy documents and public records in three countries and interviewed dozens of sources in Canada, the US, the UK and Israel - including the much of the rotating cast of players involved in the deal. Their investigation provides new insights about Trump’s cavalier business approach, the unconventional partners he works with and the consequences for those who bet on the Trump brand.

CJI is a team of leading investigative journalists, Columbia University faculty, graduate students, postgraduate fellows, coders and others who conduct deep investigations into urgent issues of public interest, without respect to beat.  Funding is provided by the Graduate School of Journalism.

CJI is led by Steve Coll, dean and Henry R. Luce Professor of Journalism, and Sheila Coronel, dean of academic affairs.