Long before he was president, Donald Trump inflated his personal net worth by billions of dollars, the New York Attorney General’s Office said in a series of court documents filed on Wednesday.
The high point of that perfidy came in 2014 when Trump claimed to be worth some $2.2 billion more than he was, New York Attorney General Letitia James argued in a 100-page legal memo supporting her office’s motion for summary judgment. A separate statement of material facts contains 160 pages of argument – and mathematics. Yet another filing documents 421 different exhibits by the state.
The filings seek to make quick work of some of the claims in a $250 million civil fraud lawsuit brought against Trump, three of his children, and their family business in September 2022.
The scheme dates back to at least 2011, the AG’s office argues. That’s the year when Donald Trump and various underlings at the family’s namesake business empire began inflating “by billions of dollars the value of many of the assets listed on Donald J. Trump’s annual statement of financial condition,” or SFC, and “his overall net worth for each of these years,” one of the recently-filed court documents reads.
Trump and others “submitted these grossly inflated SFCs to banks and insurers to secure and maintain loans and insurance on more favorable terms, reaping hundreds of millions of dollars in ill-gotten savings and profits,” according to one court filing.
Over time, the AG’s office claims, the familial fraud encompassed Trump’s children: Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump.
Citing numerous alleged instances of fraud spanning hundreds of pages, the AG’s office zeroes in on a handful of examples in their legal memo. One example claims Trump inflated the value of his triplex apartment in Trump Tower by overestimating the square footage by nearly three times the actual amount of space.
Other times and often, Trump valued a number of his owned properties at dollar amounts far exceeding what professional appraisers had told the companies, the AG’s office claims.
For the property located at 40 Wall Street in downtown Manhattan, Trump claimed it was worth more than double what it had been appraised. Another property was valued at five times the appraised value. Other claims were more modest, the AG’s office says, such as the SFC statements made about Trump’s “non-controlling limited partnership interest in properties in New York and San Francisco, he valued them at between 25-40% more than what they were worth.”
As for Mar-a-Lago, the one-time Winter White House, Trump allegedly valued his club as if it could be sold as a single-family home – for between $347 million to $739 million. The AG’s office says restrictive covenants provide the property can only be used as a club – with a market value between $18 million and $27.6 million.
“Correcting for these and other blatant and obvious deceptive practices engaged in by Defendants reduces Mr. Trump’s net worth by between 17-39% in each year, or between $812 million to $2.2 billion, depending on the year,” the memorandum of law reads.
The underlying lawsuit seeks to “permanently” bar Trump and his named co-defendant children from serving as an officer or director in any New York corporation. The lawsuit was the culmination of nearly three years of investigation by the AG’s office into allegations of tax and insurance fraud committed by the Trump Organization.
Trump and others in his orbit have vigorously tried to avoid testifying in the case – to repeat denials from New York courts at every level. Trump and his family have since been deposed multiple times.
Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron once opined that James’ investigation was premised on “sworn congressional testimony” from Trump’s former friend and fixer Michael Cohen, wherein he claimed the Trump Organization likely inflated assets to insurance companies. Cohen also said the company’s tax returns likely contained similar financial improprieties.
SEE ALSO: AOC’s Grilling of Michael Cohen Was What Led to NY AG’s Fraud Case Against Trump Businesses, Eric Trump
Trump has been held in contempt for failing to properly respond to subpoenas in the case – though the financial punishment was later set aside after curing the defects in those subpoena responses. He and two of his children later tried and failed to have the overarching lawsuit transferred to a different judge.
The trial in the AG’s fraud case against the Trump defendants is set to begin on Oct. 2 – a date Engoron has said is “written in stone.”
The Wednesday motions aim to remove various allegations from the trial process. James sued on seven separate causes of action. The motion for summary judgment claims the first cause of action, for fraud, is so clear-cut that a trial is unnecessary to prove the point.
“Based on the undisputed evidence, no trial is required for the court to determine that defendants presented grossly and materially inflated asset values in the (statements of financial condition) and then used those SFCs repeatedly in business transactions to defraud banks and insurers,” the AG’s office wrote. “[T]his is a documents case, and the documents leave no shred of doubt that Mr. Trump’s SFCs do not even remotely reflect the ‘estimated current value’ of his assets as they would trade between well-informed market participants.”
Trump’s legal team will almost certainly file a response strongly opposing James’ motion for summary judgment.
Law&Crime reached out to one of Donald Trump’s attorneys for comment, but no response was immediately forthcoming.
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