Detroit Billionaire Dan Gilbert Used Ties to Trump to Avoid Taxes

ProPublica report says Dan Gilbert received tax breaks meant for the poor after donation to Trump Inauguration.

According to a report from Pro Publica, Detroit Billionaire Dan Gilbert’s connection to the White House might have won his businesses big tax cuts. Gilbert donated $750,000 to President Trump’s inaugural fund.

Justin Elliot and Jeff Ernsthausen wrote the story. “Gilbert stands to benefit from a tax break in the Trump tax law that is aimed at helping the poor,” Ernsthausen says.

Opportunity Zones are designed to encourage growth and investments in areas that need it. Downtown Detroit is the richest part of the city.

After the tax law was adjusted, “Gilbert’s companies own a substantial real estate investment in the Opportunity Zones. They have several major developments planned in the area that now qualify for the tax benefit and may see an increase in value as a result of getting this designation,” Ernsthausen says.

The report shows just how close Gilbert’s companies were with city, state and federal officials in getting these tax breaks.  Read the ProPublica story here.

Click the audio player above to hear the full interview with the report’s authors.


  • Russ McNamara
    Russ McNamara is the host of All Things Considered for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news to the station’s loyal listeners. He's been an avid listener of WDET since he moved to metro Detroit in 2002.