New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a $ 250 million b*mbing civil fraud lawsuit against former President Donald Trump and the Trump organization on Wednesday. Trump’s three adult children, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump, were also named as defendants, along with two longtime directors of the company, Allen Weisselberg and Jeffrey McConney.
A lawsuit filed with the State Supreme Court in Manhattan accuses the Trump Organization, affiliates and senior management of deliberately mis-valuing assets embellished with Trump’s name on high-rises, mansions, and golf courses.
“This investigation revealed that Donald Trump has engaged in illegal behavior over the years to inflate his net worth, defraud banks and the people of great New York,” James said at a press conference. “Claiming that you have money that you don’t have is not the art of a deal. It’s the art of stealing.
The blanket lawsuit, the result of a three-year civil investigation, seeks to remove Trump and family members from their roles in the organization of the same name for engaging in widespread financial fraud in an “astonishing” pattern from 2011 to 2021. And James wants to permanently ban them from running a business in the Big Apple or buying commercial real estate in New York City for five years.
“Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unfairly enrich himself and defraud the system, thereby deceiving us all,” said James.
Trump took to his social media platform, Truth Social, to att*ck the lawsuit. “Attorney General Letitia” Peekaboo “James” was a “failed AG” whose “lack of talent” caused people and companies to flee New York City.
“Today’s reporting is the culmination of nearly three years of persistent, targeted, unethical political harassment by New York State Attorney General Letitia James,” Trump said in a statement.
“What a gross abuse of power, a waste of precious resources and tens of millions of taxpayers’ dollars.”
Trump’s attorney, Alina Habba, said AG’s office had exceeded its authority “by interfering in transactions that did not involve any wrongdoing.”
AG’s lawsuit represents the latest legal defeat faced by the former president and a massive blow. If successful, it could be a d*ath bell for the Trump family business in his home state – where nearly 100 years ago his grandmother founded it with his father.
In addition to demanding that Trump entities repay lenders $ 250 million in unfairly obtained proceeds, James said her office had filed a referral to the tax office and the New York South District.
Nick Biase, a spokesman for US prosecutor Damian Williams, said the federal prosecution was aware of the AG’s referral and declined to comment further.
It has come to the attention of Michael Cohen, a former Trump attorney and fixer who has served three years in federal detention for his work for Trump, said he felt empowered after a journey filled with “pain, sadness and anger.”
“Today’s announcement makes it all worth it,” said Cohen.
The AG bureau has stripped Trump and his three adult children from the investigation, and the former president and Eric have invoked their right to the Fifth Amendment hundreds of times. During the investigation, Trump was treated with civil contempt and fined $ 110,000 for failing to meet deadlines.
AG’s civil proceedings ran parallel to a criminal investigation into Trump’s business practices initiated by a Manhattan District Attorney. The James and Manhattan office of District Attorney Alvin Bragg shared the evidence in their investigations.
The DA case against the Trump Organization is scheduled to open next month. Weisselberg pleaded guilty to the case in August, admitting to being involved in a 15-year program with the company. His settlement requires him to testify against the Trump Organization at a trial.
Bragg said the investigation into the Trump, Trump Organization and its leadership was “active and ongoing.”
On Wednesday, James said she was only “scratching the surface”, describing pattern after diagram relating to Trump-owned properties nationwide.
Investigators analyzed numerous assets in the investigation, including Trump’s sprawling Westchester estate, Trump Park Ave, Trump’s 70-story skyscraper at 40 Wall Street in lower Manhattan, and his golf course in Scotland.
Get updated on the coronavirus pandemic and other news as it happens with our free breaking news email alerts.
James said twice the accused former president valued his Mar-a-Lago facility in Florida almost ten times its real value.
“The club generated annual revenues of less than $ 25 million and should be valued at around $ 75 million,” she said. “But Mar-a-Lago has been valued at $ 739 million.”
The 280-page complaint is a litany of allegations of business fraud, including how Trump in 2015 falsely and knowingly tripled the value of his three-person Trump Tower apartment on Fifth Avenue to $ 300 million.
The price of $ 327 million “was absurd given the fact that at that point only one New York apartment was ever sold for as much as $ 100 million,” AG said in a lawsuit that said it was worth closer to $ 16.5 million. .
James said the numbers represented “deliberate and deliberate fraud, not an honest mistake,” and that Trump was “intimately familiar” with the building and condo because he was overseeing their construction.
Alan Futerfas, a lawyer for Trump’s children named in the lawsuit, did not respond to the request for comment, nor did the companies representing the various Trump entities mentioned in the lawsuit. McConney’s lawyer didn’t call back. Weisselberg’s lawyer, Mary Mulligan, declined to comment.
James’s lawsuit is amid unprecedented legal challenges for the ex-president, including an FBI investigation into Trump’s handling of classified documents and an investigation into his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
#James #suing #Donald #Trump #Ivanka #Don #Eric #fraud