One of the themes across New York that has brought a multi-million dollar fraud suit against former President Donald Trump, Attorney General Letitia James, is that he underestimated property values ​​if it would save him money, and overestimated his fortune if it helped him get more. loans.

The Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago showcase is cited as an example of how Trump allegedly tried to have it both ways. When he needed collateral, he and his team valued the property highly, and when he wanted a tax break, he called the property worthless, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday by James’s office.

Once touted as a jewel in Trump’s wallet, the Chicago Trump Tower has actually been mired in questionable funding for years.

A 220-page lawsuit says downtown Chicago property, officially owned by 401 North Wabash Venture LLC, has been valued at $ 133 million in recent years by Deutsche Bank, which lent money to Trump for the project but gave a different story – saying it did was. worthless – when reporting your taxes.

In an attempt to avoid detection, Trump and the Trump Organization deliberately omitted the skyscraper in their various financial statements lest they disclose the various values ​​it donated to the property, as stated in the lawsuit.

“As of 2009, its value has been excluded from the Statement of Financial Position,” which are essentially balance sheets reviewed by lenders and others that show assets and liabilities, the lawsuit said.

Based on the sworn testimony, the reason for the omission was that “Trump did not want to take a position on the Affidavits that contradicted his position on the value of the property he represented before the tax authorities,” the lawsuit said. “The investigation revealed that the tax stance adopted was that, according to Mr. Trump, the property had become worthless and thus gave rise to a significant loss under the federal tax code.”

The Chicago hotel and residence are “relevant” to a case brought by James’s office because “Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization obtained bank loans for the building or components as collateral, and the statements were part of the loan transaction, the lawsuit said.

Any use of different property values ​​could put Trump in a difficult position as he allegedly certified his financial statements as true and accurate in many loan agreements, including loans he personally vouched for a skyscraper on the Chicago River bank.

Among the credit deals cited in the lawsuit was one in which the Trump Organization repaid a loan from $ 98 million to $ 19 million in proceeds from the sale of real estate in Chicago, but then successfully increased the loan from Deutsche Bank by $ 54 million. $ 73 million loan – with personal Trump guarantee.

The lawsuit includes the security of “unsold condos and the Trump International Hotel Chicago.”

By 2015, the Trump Organization had repaid the remaining loan balance of $ 45 million, according to the lawsuit.

But since the property was valued at $ 133 million, it was in Trump’s favor as the valuation triggered specific provisions in his loan agreement that meant “Mr. Trump’s personal guarantee has been eliminated, ”according to the lawsuit.

rlong@chicagotribune.com

jmeisner@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @RayLong

Twitter @ jmetr22b

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