October 4, 2022
New York attorney general sues Trump and his company – break it down

Trump and his company are accused in a 221-page civil complaint filed Wednesday of engaging in a one-year plan to enrich themselves by inflating the value of a wide range of properties spread across their international real estate empire.

The complaint accuses the company of more than 200 instances of false asset valuations, which have been described as “purposefully false assumptions and clearly unreasonable misrepresentations and fraudulently defrauding Mr. Trump’s net worth to obtain advantageous financial terms from lenders”. is being obtained with the aim and purpose of obtaining and the insurer.”

“The number of property values ​​most likely to affect all real estate holdings in any given year is staggering,” the office of New York State Attorney General Letitia James wrote in its complaint. James said the valuation helped raise Trump’s net worth “by the billions of dollars.”

What were some “grossly increased asset values”?

The state claims that Trump’s own triplex apartment in Manhattan was evaluated based on the claim that it was 30,000 square feet. But it is actually 10,996 square feet. The former president reported in his 2015 and 2016 financial statements that the apartment in Trump Tower was priced at $327 million based on 30,000 square feet. Trump Organization CFO Alan Weiselberg admitted before the state attorney general that the value had exceeded $200 million, “give or take.”

Donald Trump meets with NY Attorney General Letita James for statement
FILE: People walk past Trump Tower in Manhattan on August 10, 2022 in New York City. According to a recent report, the FBI was looking for nuclear-related documents, among other things, when they searched Mar-a-Lago.

/ Getty Images

The New York attorney general’s office also questioned the valuation of the former president’s Florida home, Mar-a-Lago. The state said in its lawsuit that it was valued as high as $739 million, based on the idea that the property was unrestricted and could be developed for residential use. However, Trump signed off on actions to “donate his residential development rights, sharply restrict changes to the property, and limit the permissible use of the property to a social club”.

Pa.  Aerial view of Donald Trump's estate in Mar-a-Lago
FILE: An aerial view of Mar-a-Lago, the estate of former President Donald Trump in Palm Beach, Florida.

John Roca/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

The state’s lawsuit notes that Trump struck a settlement with Palm Beach that said, “That'[t]He will use the land for a private social club’ and that'[t]That land, as described herein, shall be treated as one (1) parcel and any part thereof shall be sold, transferred, prepared or sold except wholly, voluntarily or involuntarily, by operation of law or otherwise. cannot be handed over.'”

In addition, according to the attorney general’s office, the golf club’s revenue was less than $25 million annually, and the state claims that Mar-a-Lago’s fair valuation was nearly 10 times lower, “closer to $75 million.”

Judge orders release of Michael Cohen from prison
FILE: A general view of President Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen’s residence 502 Park Avenue on July 24, 2020 in New York City.

Yana Paskova/Getty Images

The state also claims that Trump’s company said that a dozen rent-steady apartments in Trump Park Avenue, also in Manhattan, were listed in corporate paperwork as being worth more than $49.5 million. In fact, the suit says, they were appraised at $750,000 combined.

Why are Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump named in the lawsuit?

The complaint claimed that three of Trump’s children were “acquainted with, responsible for and used fraudulent statements of financial conditions” to benefit the company. It claims that he oversaw several deals at the center of the lawsuit.

How much is New York seeking damages (also known as disgorgement)?

James’ office is seeking $250 million to be turned over to the state treasury of New York. The complaint describes that figure as an estimate of the company’s profits from the said plan.

What other punishment does New York want to impose on Trump and his company?

James’ office is asking a judge to revoke the Trump Organization’s business certificate, effectively barring it from doing business in New York.

His office is seeking to permanently ban Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump from serving as officers or directors of any business in New York, including their family company.

The state is also urging Trump and company to impose a five-year ban on acquiring real estate in New York or applying for loans from any New York-based company.

Can’t the company re-incorporate outside New York?

When asked at a news conference on Wednesday, James replied that doing so would not affect his office’s lawsuit, while New York was central to the companies’ operations.

“Mr. Trump, the Trump Organization, as well as his family, will still have to deal with this complaint. They have to respond,” James said. “He will have to answer the allegations against him. If he decides to move to Florida, the reality is that he still has to deal with the great state of New York.”

Can Trump or others go to jail for this?

No, at least not directly from Wednesday’s action. James’ office filed a lawsuit seeking only civil penalties. However, she said in her press conference that the investigation uncovered “criminal conduct,” which her office is referring to federal law enforcement in the Southern District of New York and the Internal Revenue Service.

Did Trump respond?

On his social media site, Trump called James a “failed” attorney general and accused him of running business out of New York. “Goodbye,” he wrote.

Donald Trump’s attorney Alina Habba said in a statement to CBS News that “today’s filing focuses neither on the facts nor the law — rather, it focuses only on advancing the attorney general’s political agenda.”

“It is absolutely clear that the Attorney General’s office has exceeded its statutory authority by manipulating transactions where no wrong has been committed,” Habba said. “We are confident that our judicial system will not stand up to this unchecked abuse of authority, and we look forward to defending our client against every single baseless claim by the Attorney General.”

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