New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Wednesday that her office is suing them, demanding $250 million and ending their operations in the state.
James’ office alleged in a 221-page complaint filed Wednesday that Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump and others who served as executives at Trump’s company engaged in a years-long plan to enrich themselves through amplification. He values a wide range of properties, spanning across his international real estate empire.
“Claiming you have money you don’t have is not quite the art of the bargain, it’s the art of stealing,” James said at a news conference on Wednesday. She added that the investigation included interviews with more than 65 witnesses.
During the press conference, James said she was seeking to dissolve Trump’s company, but later clarified that the solution is not among the solutions her office is seeking.
James’ office is asking the judge to rescind the Trump Organization’s business testimony, effectively preventing it from doing business in New York. Her office is seeking to permanently bar Trump and his children named in the lawsuit from serving as an officer or director of any business entity in New York, including the family business. It is also calling for a five-year ban on Trump and the company from acquiring real estate in New York or applying for loans from any New York-based company.
“Today’s dossier is focused neither on facts nor on the law – it is focused solely on advancing the attorney general’s political agenda,” Donald Trump’s attorney, Alina Heba, told CBS News.
“It is quite clear that the attorney general’s office has exceeded its legal authority by snooping on deals in which no wrongdoing occurred at all,” Hobba said. “We are confident that our judicial system will not stand up to abuse of absolute power, and we look forward to defending our client against each of the attorney general’s unfounded allegations.”
The complaint accuses the company of having more than 200 cases of false valuation of assets.
“The number of significantly inflated asset values is staggering, affecting most if not all real estate holdings in any given year,” James’ office wrote in the complaint.
It alleged that Trump and the company used “objectively false assumptions and grossly improper methodologies with the intent and purpose of falsely and fraudulently inflating Mr. Trump’s net worth to obtain beneficial financial terms from lenders and insurers.”
In one of the cases highlighted in the complaint, the state alleged that the Trump Company said dozens of rental apartments on Trump Park Avenue were listed on the company’s papers as being worth more than $49.5 million. In fact, the lawsuit says, they were valued at a total of $750,000.
In another example, the complaint says that a property in suburban New York known as “Seven Springs” was valued by a bank for $25 million, and the following year $30 million. The complaint said the Trump Corporation values it in as much as $291 million in securities.
James’ office began its civil investigation in 2019 after Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, testified before Congress, raising questions about whether the Trump Organization “issued fraudulent financial statements,” according to court files related to the investigation. The initial focus of the investigation was whether the Trump Organization inflated asset valuations while seeking loans and insurance coverage and undervalued other assets to reduce tax liability.
It grew into a thorough investigation of dozens of Trump properties and years of funding for the Trump Organization. James’ office investigators examined and issued more than a million pages of documents, according to subpoenas, to dozens of current and former executives working for the Trump Organization and other companies with ties to it. Eventually, in August, Trump and two of his sons – Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. – sat down to celebrate after a nearly year-long battle.
Trump has invoked his right to the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination, refusing to answer hundreds of questions.
The investigation played out as a “special procedure,” as a New York judge presided over years of contentious wrangling over subpoenas and other appeals in lawsuits and often public hearings.
The actions have led to public developments that would otherwise remain classified, such as a letter that the old accounting firm Mazars USA sent to the firm in February, severing ties with the Trump Organization and saying its decade-old financial statements “should not come back anymore.” You can depend on her “.
In court, lawyers for James’ office described an attempt to untangle the financial tangles of real estate from Los Angeles to Scotland. They have repeatedly said that their investigations have uncovered evidence that Trump and his company “fraudulently” valued multiple assets and “distorted” those values to the financial institutions they partnered with.
The Trump Organization’s lawyers have decried the efforts at the hearings and the deposition as an unprecedented “hunting expedition.”
The company has repeatedly tried to stop the investigation and protect the Trump family from the testimonies, but each time it was dismissed by New York courts that ruled the investigation and the subpoenas were legal.
Trump and his company have repeatedly denied all allegations of wrongdoing, calling it a “witch hunt” and a “political crusade.” Trump’s lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The lawsuit comes as Trump and the company face an increased legal risk. The Trump Organization is going to trial in criminal trial on October 24 in Manhattan, where it will fight charges of fraud and tax evasion. The company filed an admission of innocence in the case.
Trump is the focus of at least two federal investigations — a major jury investigation into his alleged role in the events leading up to the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol and a separate investigation into his handling of documents titled “Top Secret” found at his Florida home. It is also the focus of a grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, which is investigating Trump’s behavior after he lost the 2020 election.