The New York Attorney General has sued Trump and his company — breaking it
The New York Attorney General has sued Trump and his company — breaking it

The New York Attorney General has sued Trump and his company — breaking it

The Trumps and their companies are accused in a 221-page civil lawsuit filed Wednesday of engaging in a years-long scheme to enrich themselves by boosting the values ​​of vast assets, spanning their global real estate empire. .

The complaint accused the company of more than 200 instances of false property valuations, which it described as arising from “false assumptions and unethical and improper methods to falsely and objectively inflate the value.” Mr. Trump’s net worth to get favorable financing terms from lenders. and insurers.”

“The number of wildly inflated property values ​​is staggering, affecting most if not all real estate properties each year,” New York State Attorney General Letitia James wrote in her complaint. . James said the appraisal helped inflate Trump’s fortune “by billions of dollars.”

What were some of the “highly inflated asset values”?

The government maintains that Trump’s Manhattan home was appraised based on the claim that it is 30,000 square feet. But it’s actually 10,996 square feet. The former president said in his 2015 and 2016 financial statements that Trump Tower is worth $327 million, based on 30,000 square feet. Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg admitted to the state attorney general that his value was overstated by $200 million, “give or take.”

Donald Trump met with NY Attorney General Letita James
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 is also questioning the valuation of Mar-a-Lago, the former president’s Florida home. It was valued at about 739 million dollars, the state said in its lawsuit, based on the idea that the property is unlimited and can be developed for residential use. However, Trump signed actions that “donated his right to local development, strictly limited the change of property, and limited the use of property permits in the community club.”

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Aerial view of Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump's estate, in Pa
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 entered into an agreement with Palm Beach that states, “that”[t]Land use will be a specific social group’ and that ‘[t]The land, as stated herein, shall be considered as one (1) unit, may not be sold, transferred, devised, or assigned except in its entirety, voluntarily or involuntarily, by operation of law. or otherwise.'”

Additionally, the golf club’s revenue, according to the attorney general’s office, was less than $25 million a year, and the state asserts that Mar-a-Lago’s fair value is nearly 10 times, “almost $75 million.” “

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FILE: A general view of 502 Park Avenue, the home of former President Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen, on July 24, 2020 in New York City.

Yana Paskova/Getty Images

The state also claims that the Trump company said a dozen rental properties on Trump Park Avenue, also in Manhattan, were listed in company documents as being worth more than $49.5 million. In fact, the suit says, it was valued at a combined $750,000.

In an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity Wednesday, Trump claimed that “we had a disclaimer up front — it basically said, ‘Get your people. You’re at your own risk. This was done by the administration; it was “I didn’t . . . . was made by the administration, so don’t rely on the word you’re getting.” Trump also said the disclaimer, which he said was “about a page and a half,” advised lenders. “If you’re going to borrow money, you should go abroad. and make sure you get your lawyers. These are the banks that have the best lawyers in the world.”

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

The complaint alleges that Trump’s three children “knew, were responsible for, and used” false statements of financial conditions to benefit the company. It claims to have overseen many of the deals central to the lawsuit.

How much can New York seek in damages (also called disgorgement)?

James’ office is seeking $250 million to be transferred to the New York state treasury. The complaint described that figure as an estimate of the benefits the company received from the alleged scheme.

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 license, effectively barring it from doing business in New York.

Her office is seeking to permanently suspend Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, to serve as officers or directors of any business in New York, including their family company.

The state is also asking for a five-year ban on Trump and company from acquiring real estate in New York or taking out loans from any New York-based company.

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Can’t the company reschedule outside of New York?

When asked at a press conference held on Wednesday, James replied that doing so would not affect the lawsuit in her office, filed as New York is the center of the company’s operations.

“Mr. Trump, the Trump Organization, as well as his family, will still be dealing with this complaint. They will have to respond,” James said. “They have to answer to the allegations. If he decides to move to Florida, the fact is, he still has to deal with the greater 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 had uncovered “criminal activity,” which her office referred to as federal law enforcement in the Southern District of New York and the Internal Revenue Service.

Did Trump respond?

On social media, Trump called James a “failed” attorney general and accused her of driving businesses out of New York. “Bye bye,” he wrote.

Alina Habba, a lawyer for Donald Trump, said in a statement to CBS News that “today’s ruling is not focused on the facts and the law – rather, it is focused solely on advancing the Attorney General’s political agenda.”

“It is very clear that the Attorney General’s Office has exceeded its legal authority by engaging in transactions that have not done anything wrong,” Habba said. “We are confident that our judicial system will not stand for unchecked abuse of power, and we look forward to defending our client against each and every one of the Attorney General’s frivolous claims.”

Trump Jr. tweeted, “Letitia James doesn’t care about the law. She’s a Dem activist, who only cares about politics.” He added, “This is all politics, nothing else.”

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