On Wednesday, Attorney General Letitia James announced that the state of New York is suing Donald Trump and several of his children for fraud and fraud.
“The lawsuit alleges that Donald Trump, with the help of his children Donald Trump Jr, Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump, and top executives of the Trump Organization, falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars in order to get banks to lend money to Trump,” James said .
She has been investigating Trump and his companies for three years.
– This lawsuit is neither focused on the facts nor the law. It is only focused on promoting the attorney general’s political agenda, says Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba in a statement.
But when Trump was questioned by the attorney general’s office earlier this year, he refused to answer because the answer could lead to self-incrimination.
Revealed by journalist
One of the charges in the 200-page lawsuit concerns Trump’s New York home, on the top three floors of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue.
Trump has claimed that this apartment is 2,787 square meters. The truth is that it is “only” at 1021.
This was revealed by a Forbes journalist in 2017.
During the campaign, Forbes journalist Chase Peterson-Withorn was given a guided tour of the three floors Trump lived in. Trump reportedly boasted that people had called his home “the best apartment ever built,” saying it was over 3,000 square feet .
– I dug through public property documents, which showed that Trump’s apartment was 1,021 square meters and only consisted of parts of each floor. I spent hours going through all the photos and videos from inside the apartment, looking for unknown rooms, says Peterson-Withorn.
He was last year subpoenaed as a witness in the case against Trump and spoke to the attorney general about what he found out about Trump’s apartment.
Public documents showed that the apartment was 566 square meters when Trump bought it in 1983, and that he later bought two neighboring apartments that were merged with his, increasing the size to 1,021 square meters.
During the tour, Trump also allegedly claimed that he owns everything on these three floors alone, but again public documents reveal that there is one more tenant there, who lives on 313 square meters spread over two of the floors.
Forbes estimated in 2017 that Trump’s apartment was worth $64 million.
Trump himself, according to the attorney general’s lawsuit, stated the value at $327 million in 2015, based on it being 2,787 square meters.
At this point, no other condo in the 30-year-old Trump Tower had sold for more than $16.5 million. And only one apartment in New York’s history had sold for more than $100 million.
In the lawsuit, Donald Trump, several of his children and several of his companies are accused of a number of cases of fraud and deception. In short, it is claimed that Trump has inflated the values of his properties in order to get favorable loan terms from banks.
Here are some examples:
Trump valued 40 Wall Street at $527 million in 2012 and $530 million in 2013, while an appraiser valued it at $200 million in 2010 and $220 million in 2012.
In 2012, rent-controlled apartments in Trump Park Avenue were valued at a combined $50 million, while their collective value was only $750,000. Donald Bender of the accounting firm Mazars said during questioning that he was “shocked by the difference” between the actual value and the value stated by the Trump Organization.
Mar-a-Lago was valued at $739 million based on a false premise that the site could be developed freely, when in reality what can be done there is limited. According to the state attorney, the value is closer to 75 million dollars.
The value of Trump’s golf clubs is also grossly overestimated, according to the indictment. For example, Trump’s golf club in Florida was upgraded by 30 percent due to the Trump brand name. Trump claimed in a 2013 document that the club he bought for five million dollars a year earlier was now worth more than $62 million.
In the eyes of the tax authorities, the Trump Organization has assessed the Trump International Hotel in Chicago as worthless, which provides significant tax relief. At the same time, a bank loan has been obtained with this building as financial security.
Should have saved over 150 million dollars
The practice of exaggerating the value of Trump’s properties was used to obtain advantageous bank loans and insurance premiums, the state attorney claims. It is estimated that Trump improperly saved more than $150 million on this over a ten-year period.
The inflated and erroneous valuation of Trump’s assets also reportedly helped him get favorable loan terms from Deutsche Bank to buy the old post office building in Washington, DC, which is said to have been crucial to his winning the bidding process in 2012. Trump converted the building into a luxury hotel which opened in 2016. He sold the building in May 2022.
The public prosecutor demands in the lawsuit that Trump pay 250 million dollars in fines. In addition, Letitia James requests that Trump and the named children not be able to conduct business in the state of New York.