While the business mogul says the money and breaks were used not only for his own profit but also to spur development in shaky parts of New York, public officials who worked with him were appalled at the way he operated, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.
Karen Burstein, a former auditor general of New York City, reviewed a huge Trump project in the 1980s and determined he "cheated" the city of nearly $2.9 million -- and says she still is shocked by Trump's modus operandi decades later.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., battled "The Donald" over hundreds of millions of federal dollars Trump sought for a luxury apartment complex in Nadler's district.
"He sought to abuse the taxpayer and stretch the law," Nadler told the Times. "He said he ought to get a massive government subsidy. I said, 'Listen, Mr. Trump, if you think this is a good project, you spend the money.'"
Trump responded that his manipulation of the system more than qualifies him to be president.
"When I work for myself, I try to make the maximum profit," he told the Times. "If I run [for president] and if I win, I will no longer care about myself. I'll be doing the same kind of things for this country."