NYT Report on Trump's Taxes Hinged on an IBM Typewriter

Reporter Susanne Craig found his returns in her mailbox, and a quirk authenticated them
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 2, 2016 1:03 PM CDT
NYT Report on Trump's Taxes Hinged on an IBM Typewriter
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump signing his tax return.   (Trump Presidential Campaign via AP)

The tale of the New York Times' report on Donald Trump's 1995 tax returns is an interesting one, and Susanne Craig takes readers behind the scenes on her story posted Saturday night in a post headlined "The Time I Found Donald Trump’s Tax Records in My Mailbox." It seems that on Sept. 23, Craig did something regarded by her colleagues as quaint: She checked her mailbox in the Times' newsroom. When she saw a return address of Trump Tower, she writes, "My heart skipped a beat." Craig and colleague David Barstow immediately began trying to authenticate the returns, but noticed an odd quirk: The first two numbers that showed Trump's $915,729,293 loss did not line up with the seven that follow. "Could the document have been doctored, we wondered?"

Barstow found the answer in Florida, where he met the accountant who prepared the returns, Jack Mitnick, who vouched for the returns' authenticity and solved the question of the two digits: In a sign of perhaps how large Trump's loss was, Mitnick's tax software could only accommodate a seven-digit loss. Mitnick was thus forced to enter the first two digits with an IBM Selectric typewriter. Trump has yet to challenge the report, though Craig notes that his rep did threaten legal action when the Times asked for comment. But even in the era of WikiLeaks, Craig tells fellow reporters to check their mailboxes because "'snail mail' is a great way to communicate with us anonymously. And a note to tipsters out there: If you want to send me anything, on any subject, my mailbox is open. The address is 620 Eighth Avenue, 3rd floor, New York, NY, 10018." The Times' report is here. (Read more Donald Trump stories.)

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