New York AG alleges Trump altered property values
New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office this week filed its most detailed allegations in its investigation into whether Donald Trump’s family business inflated property values for profit.
Investigators said in court documents filed Tuesday night that they had “uncovered significant evidence” suggesting the company used “fraudulent or misleading asset valuations” from lenders, insurers and the IRS to obtain advantageous loans, tax advantages and insurance coverage.
The filing says investigators have not decided whether or not to take legal action over the evidence, but James asked the court to compel Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Jr. and Ivanka Trump to testify.
Six of Trump’s properties were named in the documents as instances of the company’s fraudulent appraisals: the Seven Springs estate, the Trump Tower triplex, the Park Avenue building, the 40 Wall Street skyscraper and the golf courses of Westchester and Scotland.
James’ office alleged that when Trump sought to refinance 40 Wall Street in 2015, his statement of financial position estimated a $735 million valuation of the property, but a lender appraised it at just $257 million. dollars.
In 2014, Trump valued his golf club in Aberdeenshire, Scotland at $435 million. James claimed the valuation was inflated by the Trump Organization’s assumption that it could build 2,500 luxury homes there, although it was only approved to build less than 1,500 “vacation apartments”. .
Investigators also accused the Trump Organization of nearly tripling the size of Trump’s penthouse residence in Trump Tower, from 10,996 square feet to 30,000 square feet. The alleged inflation led to a $327 million valuation of the apartment, which the Trump Organization’s longtime CFO Allen Weisselberg told investigators was a $200 million inflation,” more or less”.
A spokesperson for the Trump Organization retaliate to deposit in a statement dismissing the allegations as “baseless” and promising that the charges would be “vigorously defended”.
“The only one fooling the public is Letitia James,” the spokesperson said in part. “She defrauded New Yorkers by basing her entire candidacy on a promise to get Trump at any cost without seeing a shred of evidence and in violation of every imaginable ethical rule.”
A lawsuit filed in federal court last month on behalf of Trump and his family business sought to end the civil investigation and his involvement in a similar criminal investigation.
Trump Organization Executive Vice President Eric Trump responded by doubling down on the company’s allegation that James is motivated by political bias.
In a tweet, Trump called the investigation “Frontage for your abuse of power and ethical misconduct (for which we are suing you),” adding that the investigation is a “public relations move to revive a political career after your gubernatorial disaster.”
[NYT] —Holden Walter-Warner