Judge gives independent monitor to monitor Trump Organization, in big win for NY AG
A New York judge granted a preliminary injunction and an independent monitor to oversee the Trump Organization in an order that follows several hours of oral arguments Thursday.
A judge blasted Trump’s defense team for failing to provide “an iota of evidence” to rebut the New York attorney general’s allegations of a “comprehensive demonstration of persistent fraud” within the Trump Organization.
In deciding to appoint a supervisor to oversee parts of former President Donald Trump’s business and issue a preliminary injunction to stop what the attorney general’s office described as “ongoing fraudulent activity,” Judge Arthur Engoron said Trump had “demonstrated a propensity” to engage in fraud . , specifically calling out the overvaluation of Trump’s New York apartment.
Until he moved to Florida, Trump lived in an 11,000-square-foot triplex in Trump Tower. Between 2012 and 2016, Trump touted the size of the 30,000-square-foot apartment and valued it at as much as $327 million.
Former Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg testified that the appraisal “overestimated the value of the apartment by $200 million,” according to the attorney general’s office.
“To the extent that defendants argue that the approximately $200 million overstatement was not an intentional but an inadvertent error, such an argument is irrelevant under Executive Law 63(12),” Engoron wrote.
Trump’s lawyer condemned the judge’s decision.
“This unprecedented order effectively seizes control of the financial affairs of a highly successful private corporate empire based on nothing more than a gross exaggeration of the standard valuation differences common in complex commercial real estate financing transactions,” Trump attorney Christopher Kise said in a statement to ABC News. .
“The New York attorney general has overstepped the bounds of his authority to set a very dangerous precedent,” he said.
The preliminary injunction prevents Trump from moving the property, making it available in New York if the state wins its $250 million civil suit against the former president and his family.
“In the absence of an injunction, and given the defendants’ demonstrated propensity to engage in persistent fraud, failure to grant such an injunction may result in extreme prejudice to the people of New York,” Engoron’s order stated. “The relief requested is appropriately tailored to suppress the unlawful conduct and ensure that funds are available for potential removal upon conclusion of this case.”
As for the independent monitor, the judge said the monitor’s role would be “narrowly tailored” to ensure there is no fraud or illegality at the Trump Organization.
The monitor will be chosen later this month after the two sides submit candidates. The monitor will oversee the company’s preparation of Trump’s financial statements and ensure that accurate information is communicated to lenders and third parties.
During oral argument, Kise said this type of relief should concern any commercial real estate developer because of what he argued was an inappropriate injection of the court into private business affairs.
On Wednesday, Trump asked a Florida court to protect his impeachable trust from New York Attorney General Letitia James.
When he became president, Trump put his ownership of the Trump Organization into a revocable trust that he is now trying to protect from an attorney general’s lawsuit.
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