December 8, 2022

The Trump family and their company are accused in a 221-page civil complaint filed Wednesday of engaging in a years-long scheme to enrich themselves by inflating the values ​​of a wide range of real estate, spanning across their international real estate empire.

The complaint accuses the company of more than 200 cases of misvaluation of assets, which it described as derived from “objectively false assumptions and grossly improper methodologies with the intent and purpose of falsely and fraudulently inflating the net worth of Mr. Trump to obtain beneficial financial terms from lenders and insurers.”

“The number of dramatically inflated asset values ​​is staggering, affecting most if not all real property in any given year,” New York State Attorney General Letitia James wrote in his complaint. James said the assessments helped inflate Trump’s net worth by “billions of dollars”.

What are some “significantly inflated asset values”?

The state maintains that Trump’s triplex apartment in Manhattan was valued based on the claim that it was 30,000 square feet. But it actually measures 10,996 square feet. The former president reported in his 2015 and 2016 financial statements that the apartment in Trump Tower was worth $327 million, based on 30,000 square feet. Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg admitted to the state’s attorney general that the value had been overstated by $200 million, “take or take.”

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

/ Getty Images

The New York attorney general’s office is also questioning the assessment of Mar-a-Lago, the former president’s Florida home. The state said in its lawsuit that it is worth up to $739 million, based on the idea that the property is unrestricted and can be developed for residential use. However, Trump signed deeds that “donate his rights to residential development, severely restrict changes to property, and limit permitted use of the property to a social club.”

Aerial view of Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump's estate, in Pennsylvania
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 lawsuit filed by the state states that Trump made an agreement with Palm Beach that states that[t]The use of the land must be for a private social club “and”[t]Land, as described herein, is one (1) parcel and no part of it may be sold, transferred, created or assigned except in its entirety, either voluntarily or involuntary, by law or otherwise. “

Moreover, the golf club’s revenue, according to the Attorney General’s Office, was less than $25 million annually, and the state asserts that the correct valuation of the Mar-a-Lago was about 10 times lower, “closer to $75 million.”

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

Yana Paskova / Getty Images

The state also alleges that The Trump Company said dozens of stablecoins for rent on Trump Park Avenue, also in Manhattan, are 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.

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

The complaint alleges that the three Trump children “knew of and used false information about their financial positions to benefit the company. They allege that they oversaw many of the deals central to the lawsuit.”

How Much Compensation Does New York (also Known As A Disavowal) Claim?

James’ office is seeking $250 million to be delivered to New York state coffers. The complaint describes this figure as an estimate of the company’s benefits from the alleged scheme.

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

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, Donald Trump Jr and Ivanka Trump from serving as officers or directors of any New York business, including the family business.

The state is also requiring 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.

Can the company only reestablish outside of New York?

Asked about it at a news conference on Wednesday, James replied that doing so would not affect the lawsuit for her office, while New York was central to the companies’ operations.

“Mr. Trump, the Trump Organization, and his family will still have to deal with this complaint,” James said. “And they’ll have to respond.” “They are going to have to respond to the allegations in it. If he decides to move to Florida, the truth is he still has to deal with the great state of New York.”

Could Trump or someone else go to jail for this?

No, at least not straight from Wednesday’s event. James’ office filed a lawsuit seeking only civil penalties. But she said at her news conference that the investigation revealed “criminal behavior” that her office refers to as 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 her of kicking businesses out of New York. He wrote “Goodbye”.

“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 Hobba, said in a statement to 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.”

Trump Jr. chirp, “Letitia James doesn’t care about the law. She’s a democracy activist, and she only cares about politics.” “This is all politics and nothing more,” he added.

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