21 September 2022

Could I Get Some Butter Flavored Oil on It Too?

New York State Attorney General Letitia James has announced that her office is suing Donald Trump and his adult children for $¼ billion for fraud and tax evasion, and will be moving to prohibit them from operating as executives of any company operating in New York. 

She also noted that the results of the investigation have been passed along to the DoJ and IRS.

One of the things that is particularly delicious about this is that Trump's tax returns are likely to be introduced as evidence and become a part of the public record.

Win or lose, Trump's finances are going to get a lot of exposure:

New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit Wednesday accusing former president Donald Trump, three of his grown children and executives at his company of flagrantly manipulating property and other asset valuations to deceive lenders, insurance brokers and tax authorities into giving them better bank-loan and insurance policy rates and to reduce their tax liability.

The 222-page civil complaint asks the New York Supreme Court to bar Trump, as well as Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump, from serving as executives at any company in New York, and to bar the Trump Organization from acquiring any commercial real estate or receiving loans from any New York-registered financial institution for five years.

It seeks to recover more than $250 million in what James’s office says are ill-gotten gains received through the alleged deceptive practices. While the lawsuit itself is not a criminal prosecution, James said she has referred possible violations of federal law to the Justice Department and the IRS.


The lawsuit, filed in New York Supreme Court, is the result of a more than two-year investigation by James. It names 23 assets that are mostly properties and ground leases in the Trump Organization portfolio, including his Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida, his Seven Springs estate in Westchester County, N.Y., and the D.C. hotel in the Old Post Office building on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, which he leased from the federal government until he sold it in May.

“The inflated asset valuations in the [financial] Statements cannot be brushed aside or excused as merely the result of exaggeration or good faith estimation about which reasonable real estate professionals may differ,” the lawsuit says.

The civil complaint cites drastic manipulations of Trump’s personal asset portfolio — allegedly at his direction and with the assistance of Trump Organization executives — in representations made to financial institutions and insurance carriers. It alleges that the true value of his assets were concealed through careful doctoring of reports and by changing the methodologies used for various calculations.

For example, Mar-a-Lago, a historic site, was valued at $739 million on the basis that there was potential for residential development on the property. In reality, Trump gave up his rights to construct homes there in exchange for sizable tax benefits known as conservation easements. The true value of Mar-a-Lago was roughly $75 million, the lawsuit says.

That ain't a rounding error.

Trump’s New York triplex apartment at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue was reported as 30,000 square feet, when really it was a third of that size. In 2015, he allegedly valued the apartment at $327 million — up from $80 million four years prior — based on the wildly inflated square footage, a valuation James said was “absurd” given that at the time only one apartment in New York City had ever sold for even $100 million.


In addition to naming Trump and three of his children personally, the suit names the Trump Organization and Allen Weisselberg, its longtime chief financial officer who recently pleaded guilty to tax crimes, and controller Jeffrey McConney.

If the New York Supreme Court were to bar the Trump Organization from acquiring any real estate or taking on any loans, as the attorney general has requested, it’s unclear how the company could continue to operate, even without the Trumps at the helm.

While the sanctions sought are stunning, I think that the real damage here is that this will introduce into open court that Donald Trump is nowhere as rich as he alleges.

He will be revealed to be a "loser".


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