Trump inflated property values by as much as $2B, New York AG says

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Former President Donald Trump is accused of inflating his net worth by up to $2.2 billion, New York Attorney General Letitia James revealed in court documents released to the public on Wednesday.

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Former President Donald Trump is accused of inflating his net worth by up to $2.2 billion in a new court filing released to the public on Wednesday.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James released the documents as part of the opening salvo in New York State’s civil lawsuit for fraud against the former president, which was filed ahead of the four indictments against him and seeks to bar him and three of his children from running their real estate empire — the Trump Organization — and pay a fine of approximately $250 million.

James argued that a trial is not necessary and said Trump and his fellow defendants inflated the value of their real estate assets in their annual financial statements in order to fraudulently obtain favorable loans and insurance arrangements. She added that Trump falsely boosted his own net worth by between $812 million and $2.2 billion over the course of a decade.

“Based on the undisputed evidence, no trial is required for the court to determine that defendants presented grossly and materially inflated asset values,” the filing said.

Trump’s lawyers, in a separate motion, argued for the case to be thrown out, citing a a recent appellate court decision that could significantly narrow the scope of the case because of a legal time limit. The former president received the loans in question too long ago for the matter to be brought up in court, they argued.

“The appellate division has now limited the reach of the N.Y. A.G.’s crusade against President Trump and his family” wrote lawyers Christopher M. Kise, Michael Madaio and Clifford S. Robert.

New York State’s lawsuit disputes the valuation of a number of Trump’s most famous properties, including his Florida estate Mar-a-Lago, Trump tower in Manhattan and the Trump Aberdeen golf course in Scotland. In her new filing, the attorney general said Trump Tower was likely overvalued by nearly $175 million in 2018. The next year, its value was falsely boosted again by nearly $323 million.

 Trump’s annual financial statements “do not even remotely reflect the ‘estimated current value’ of his assets,” the filing states.

James also took aim at the financial statements the 45th president submitted for loans for a golf resort outside Miami and hotels in both Chicago and Washington D.C.

Trump’s lawyers argued that Justice Arthur F. Engoron should not consider those transactions in his decision due to a recent appellate court decision, which dismissed the state’s case against the former president’s daughter Ivanka Trump because the transactions had taken place too long ago. According to Trump’s lawyers interpretation of the ruling, any loans that took place before 2014 are too old to be included in the case. The loans for the Chicago hotel and Florida resort were negotiated before the July 2014 legal deadline.

Trump’s lawyers have also argued that his lenders did not rely heavily on his financial statements when issuing him loans, and that the lenders made millions from their dealings with the developer.

“The sophisticated private parties all profited considerably from successfully consummated transactions,” Trump’s lawyers wrote. “Thus, ‘fraud’ cannot exist in the abstract or solely in the mind of the N.Y. A.G.”

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