One late September morning in 2016, The New York Times investigative reporter Susanne Craig walked over to her mailbox on the third floor of the Times newsroom and found a manila envelope, postmarked "New York, NY," and with a return address of "The Trump Organization." As Craig later wrote, "My heart skipped a beat."
For months, Craig had been on the story of Donald Trump’s tax returns, which Trump, then the Republican presidential nominee, had refused to make public. But inside that envelope "were what appeared to be pages from Mr. Trump’s 1995 tax records, containing detailed figures that revealed his tax strategies." Craig quickly walked over to desk of David Barstow, another investigative reporter working on the Trump story, to show him the documents and to ask if he thought they looked legitimate. He did.
That unexpected package ultimately led to a Pulitzer Prize for Craig, Barstow and a third Times reporter, Russ Buettner, for what the Pulitzer board called "an exhaustive 18-month investigation of President Donald Trump’s finances that debunked his claims of self-made wealth and revealed a business empire riddled with tax dodges."
For the past few years, there has been speculation of who might have mailed those documents to Craig, with suspects ranging from a longtime accountant, now retired and living on Florida, to Marla Maples, one of Trump's two ex-wives.
Now according to news reports, an answer might have finally emerged. In a tell-all book scheduled to be published, Mary Trump, the estranged niece of the president, reportedly reveals that she was the one who dropped the dime on her famous uncle.
According to an exclusive report in the Daily Beast, Mary Trump, 55, the daughter of Fred Trump Jr., Donald Trump's late brother, and the granddaughter of Fred Trump, Sr. the president's father, is scheduled to release Too Much And Never Enough on Aug. 11, just weeks before the Republican National Convention.
Citing "people familiar with the matter," the Daily Beast says Mary will detail in the book how she played a critical role helping the Times publish news-making revelations about Trump’s taxes, including how he was involved in “fraudulent” tax schemes and had received more than $400 million in today’s dollars from his father’s real estate empire. The book reportedly makes the claim that Mary was a primary source for the Times's investigation, supplying Fred Trump Sr.’s tax returns and other highly confidential family financial documentation to the paper. (The Times has declined comment.)
Details of the book are kept under wraps by its publisher, Simon & Schuster, but the Daily Beast reports that it has "learned that Mary plans to include conversations with Trump’s sister, retired federal judge Maryanne Trump Barry, that contain intimate and damning thoughts about her brother."
Mary Trump hasn't spoken publicly about her famous family in decades, but in 1999, she and her brother, Fred Trump III, brought a court case contesting Fred Sr.’s will, alleging it had been “procured by fraud and undue influence” on the part of Donald and his siblings. Although they and the other Trump grandchildren did inherit $200,000 each, they sought one-fifth of their grandfather's estate - an estimated $5 million to $15 million at the time - in what they believed would have been their deceased father's share as one of the five Trump children. In 2000, briefly talking to the New York Daily News about the dispute, Mary said that “given this family, it would be utterly naive to say it has nothing to do with money. But for both me and my brother, it has much more to do with that our father [Fred Jr] be recognized”.
Fred Trump Jr., died in 1981 at the age of 42 from a heart attack believed to be caused by complications from his alcoholism.