What few may realize is money from Trump's inheritance was originally made through a string of brothels and prostitutes.
The story starts with Donald Trump's grandfather Friedrich, who emigrated to New York City from Kallstadt in southwest Germany in 1885. He was just 16 years old and arrived by boat to join his eldest sister and find work.
Brothels in the Wild West during the Gold Rush Young Friedrich became a barber for six years in the city but later moved to Seattle, Washington, and anglicized his first name to 'Frederick'. His surname 'Trump' had already changed years before, thought to be in the 17th century, from the family's ancestral name of 'Drumpf'. Historians believe this was to elevate the family's social status.
A 22-year-old Frederick opened a 24-hour establishment called the Poodle Dog in Seattle's red light district. His clients could buy alcohol and food at the establishment… as well as 'private rooms for ladies', which was essentially a code-name for prostitutes.
The business was a huge success and Frederick was able to relocate to Yukon, Canada, during the Klondike Gold Rush. In Yukon, Frederick opened up more brothels where bedrooms were said to have scales so clients could pay in gold dust.
A local described the business as 'depraved' in a letter to the Yukon Sun newspaper, advising any 'respectable women travelling alone' to avoid it. 'For single men the Arctic has excellent accommodations as well as the best restaurant in Bennett, but I would not advise respectable women to go there to sleep as they are liable to hear that which would be repugnant to their feelings – and uttered, too, by the depraved of their own sex,' the letter read.
Business boomed for a while until 1901 when police began to crackdown on gambling, liquor sales and prostitution - or 'scarlet women' - as they were often called.
Trump visited his home in Kallstadt around this time and became engaged to his neighbourhood sweetheart Elizabeth Christ. The couple married and tried to settle in Germany but Trump was deported back to America because he had dodged military service by emigrating.
The couple moved to New York City, where they had two sons Fred and John, but Frederick died in 1918 from Spanish Flu, leaving eldest son Fred to take on the family's entrepreneurial spirit.
The first Trump real estate mogul is born. When Fred was still in High School he set up a garage business with his mother called Elizabeth Trump and Son. The business was a success and he went on the start building single-family houses in Queens, which gained a good reputation as good quality housing.
The real estate mogul also gained a reputation as an extremely frugal man and would often pick up nails that could be reused as he visited building sites.
Fred Trump married Mary Anne MacLeod in 1936, who had emigrated to the USA from Scotland, and they had five children together: Fred Jr, MaryAnne, Donald, Robert and Elizabeth. His housing business continued to do well and he was given large federal housing grants after WWII to facilitate the building of new homes in Brooklyn and Queens.
Many of his tenants were Jewish, so Fred Trump hid his Germany nationality, claiming instead he was originally from Sweden.
Fred Trump died in 1999 a multi-millionaire, said to be worth as much as $300 million – one of America's richest men.
The business was plagued by racial discrimination claims.
Fred Trump was arrested in Queens in 1927 during a rally for the Ku Klux Klan and the family business was sued in 1973 by the Justice Department for alleged discrimination.
Donald Trump himself was named in the suit, which alleged that the company discriminated against black families who wanted to rent homes. The Justice Department claimed that applications by black families were marked with a large 'C' for 'coloured' and were all declined. As a result, the company agreed to put anti-discrimination measures in place to settle the case.
Fred Trump was also called before Congress after coming under budget in grant-funded building projects and pocketing the difference as profit – a practice that was legal but frowned on.
So how did Donald Trump make his money? Donald Trump pauses in his apartment after receiving the news that the Board of Estimate unanimously approved a 40-year tax abatement plan. Under the plan Trump will purchase and refurbish the Commodore Hotel, which closed into doors from the Penn Central Transportation Corp. In return for his $10-million-dollar purchase and up to $100 million face-lifting investment, Trump will have no real estate taxes for 40 years
Donald Trump, who says he is 'really rich', claims to have started building his empire with $1 million borrowed from his father and $100 million in bank loans. Rather than build on his father's low-income real estate homes in Queens and Brooklyn, Donald started several luxury building projects in Manhattan instead. Donald John Trump in 1983. This included the 58-floor Trump Tower, the Grand Hyatt Hotel and Trump Plaza, later buying golf courses (thought to have raised $193 million in income), resorts, condo sales ($77 million) and others. He also has made around $18 million in management fees, $9 million in royalties and $2 million public speaking.
Like his father, Trump also claimed he was of Swedish heritage.
While Trump claims to be worth $10 billion, his wealth is estimated to be around $4.5 billion, according to Forbes, or $2.9 billion, according to Bloomberg. Not including the help he received through his father's creditworthiness, Trump is said to have inherited $40 million after his father's death.