Hon. Wilbur L. Ross, Jr., Secretary, US Department of Commerce speaks at The 2017 Concordia Annual Summit at Grand Hyatt New York on September 19, 2017 in New York City.  (Photo by Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit)
Hon. Wilbur L. Ross, Jr., Secretary, US Department of Commerce speaks at The 2017 Concordia Annual Summit at Grand Hyatt New York on September 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit)
By Diana Crandall / November 7, 2017 9:16 am

After Forbes heavily investigated President Trump’ s Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross Jr., the respected business magazine says it’s “confident” that Ross doesn’t have $2 billion in assets. In actuality, he has less than $700 million, and Forbes says he has misled colleagues, investors, and the publication itself throughout his life.

“Ross strung us along, leading us to believe he would provide evidence of his assets, but never did,” Dan Alexander writes. It was his appointment as Commerce Secretary that proved to be undoing, as he was forced to disclose his assets—something one of his ex-employees called “surprising.”

“It was surprising because he would have to reveal to the world that he wasn’t a billionaire,” the  ex-employee said. “I was surprised that he would take that risk.”

Forbes notes that Ross tried to argue he still had his assets, but they’d been moved into a trust during the time between the election and his appointment. But, Forbes notes, the Department of Commerce issued a statement calling that untrue.

“Contrary to the report in Forbes, there was no major asset transfer to a trust in the period between the election and Secretary Ross’s confirmation,” the statement reads.

All of this comes on the heels of a New York Times report that found even after he joined President Trump’s cabinet, Ross retained his investments in a shipping firm that has business ties to President Vladimir Putin’s son-in-law.

“Ross’ questionable assertions to Forbes, combined with a recent controversy about a multimillion-dollar stake in a shipping company that does big business with close associates of Vladimir Putin, paint a clearer picture of the Commerce Secretary’s tactics,” Alexander writes.