UNITED STATES: On Wednesday, the Attorney General of New York filed a lawsuit against former president Donald Trump and his corporation, alleging that some of their most valuable possessions, including real estate in Manhattan, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., had been the subject of commercial fraud.
The lawsuit has been brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, who is the state’s most senior lawyer, after a three-year civil investigation.
They are accused of lying “by billions” about the worth of real estate to obtain loans and avoid paying taxes. The Trump Organisation allegedly perpetrated many frauds in 2011 and 2011.
The lawsuit has been rejected by Trump as “another witch hunt.”
Along with two executives from the Trump Organisation, Allen Weisselberg and Jeffrey McConney, the defendants also included the former president’s three eldest children, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric Trump.
Although James’ agency lacks the authority to bring criminal charges, it is reporting claims of criminal wrongdoing to the Internal Revenue Service and federal prosecutors.
“Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself and cheat the system,” James said in a statement. “With the help of his children and senior executives at the Trump Organisation.”
She claimed that among the assets whose values were allegedly overstated was Trump’s penthouse in Trump Tower, which was valued at $327 million (£288 million).
James continued, “No flat in New York City has ever sold for close to that price.” She also wants the Trump Organisation to be prohibited from conducting real estate deals there for a period of five years.
On his Truth Social website, Trump attacked the case and called James, a black woman, a racist.
He stated, “Another Witch Hunt by a racist Attorney General, Letitia James, who failed in her run for Governor, getting virtually no support from the public.”
Before she was appointed attorney general in 2018, James made comments in which she threatened to sue Trump and called him an “illegitimate President.” These comments were cited by Trump as evidence that she was engaged in a political vendetta.
What claims are made in the lawsuit?
Check out what the 222-page document alleges:
- To obtain better financing and lower tax rates, Trump and three of his children lied about the worth of his real estate holdings, including hotels, golf courses, and other assets
- More than 200 fraudulent or deceptive financial statement appraisals were made by Trump and his family over the course of a decade.
- Some estates’ capacity for development was overestimated to receive more tax advantages for forgoing development in favour of conservation.
- Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and former Trump Organisation financial chief Allen Weisselberg individually attested to the veracity of each assertion.
- The scam gave the Trump family at least $250 million (£220 million) in wealth, and the state wants to get its money back.
According to Tristan Snell, a lawyer and former prosecutor who worked on a separate case against Trump University, the lawsuit’s trial might last a full year.
But the possibility of such a trial might significantly limit Trump’s ability to conduct business in New York and make money from his prestigious real estate assets in New York City.
He might find it more difficult to borrow funds and sustain credit as a result, according to Snell, because it could result in several negative financial effects.
Snell stated, “It definitely could be ruinous for him. “
Allegedly misrepresented properties
Following are a few of the most well-known Trump properties listed in the lawsuit:
- Authorities claim that after being tripled in size and given an “unreasonable” price per square foot, a unit Trump owned in New York’s Trump Tower was valued at $327 million. The tower’s total record sale was $16.5 million.
- The Trump Organisation placed a $739 million valuation on the Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. The attorney general’s office claims that the true worth was less than $25 million a year and was closer to $75 million.
The FBI executed a search warrant at his Mar-a-Lago residence on August 8 as part of an inquiry into his handling of confidential documents.
After that, a different judge ordered the federal investigators to halt their investigation while a court-appointed officer determines whether any of the information should be kept confidential.
However, a federal appeals court decided on Wednesday that the justice department can resume studying the secret records. The choice reopens the investigation into whether Trump hid US national secrets after leaving office.
Georgia is also looking into him about efforts to rig the 2020 presidential election. In both of those inquiries, he has denied any misconduct.