There were many articles out there questioning his net worth before 2015. 2005 What's He Really Worth? 2011 A History of Donald Trump's Net Worth Publicity (1988-2011) - The Atlantic From 2000 Mid-1990s: Banks Refuse to Lend to Trump, Citing "The Donald Risk" - The Moscow Project 2011 Rolling Snake Eyes: Trump's First Casino Partners Had Alleged Mob Ties | HuffPost 2011 Inside Donald Trump's Empire: Why He Didn't Run for President in 2012 About the investigator who has been turning up dirt on Trump since the late 70s (he died just before the inauguration) The Muckraker Who Tormented Trump Most of the stories about Trump that came out before 2015 were more local stories. He was the butt of jokes around New York City for years before he did the Apprentice. New Yorkers considered it as ludicrous as Homer Simpson running for president. Once Trump came onto the national stage actually running for president, the entire country and the world wanted to understand who this guy was. So there were more reporters digging up more dirt on him.