- The New York Attorney General is investigating the Trump organization's economic situation.
- New court documents describe the AG office's allegations against the company, including improperly inflated property values.
- The documents also highlight the extent to which the Trump organization and the family have gone to avoid cooperating.
New York Justice Minister Letitia James on Tuesday took trial to force former President Donald Trump and two of his children to testify under oath in her office's investigation into the Trump organization's financial transactions.
In a press release on Tuesday, James announced the action to enforce subpoenas issued to Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump in December. The release included more than a hundred pages of relevant court documents detailing some of the allegations against the Trump organization.
The years-long fraud investigation investigates whether Trump's real estate company has artificially inflated or deflated the values of its properties for loan and tax benefits. Recent applications include the most specific allegations James has made against the Trump organization to date.
The civilian investigation is also taking place in parallel with a separate criminal investigation of the Trump organization, conducted by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. James' office is also collaborating on the separate investigation.
Trump has denied any wrongdoing and accused the polls of being politically motivated.
Here are the four major takeaways from the Attorney General's announcement and the accompanying documents.
The lawsuits outlined specific allegations that the Trump organization is engaging in "fraudulent or misleading" practices.
The Attorney General's Office said in a statement that it has evidence indicating that "the Trump organization used fraudulent or misleading valuations of assets to obtain a number of financial benefits, including loans, insurance coverage and tax deductions."
The statement said the firm submitted accounts to the IRS, as well as lenders and insurance companies, that were "inaccurate or misleading compared to the supporting data and documentation that the Trump organization submitted to its audit firm."
The Attorney General accused, among other things, the Trump organization of erroneously stating objective facts, mischaracterizing assets, and erroneously stating their valuation process.
The statement outlined six properties that the attorney general says the organization lied about, including Trump's property in Seven Springs in Bedford, New York; three of his Manhattan properties; and two golf clubs.
In one case, the state's attorney said the Trump organization claimed an apartment was valued at $ 25 million, but then offered it to Ivanka Trump for $ 8 million.
Trump's triplex apartment, located in New York City's Trump Tower, was valued at $ 327 million in the accounts, based on the fact that it was 30,000 square feet, the applications state. However, the apartment is only a third of that size - about 10,996 square meters.
The state's attorney also said the Trump organization added a "brand premium" of 15 to 30% to increase the valuation of some Trump-branded properties, a practice she called unusual and wrong.
James's office said the evidence they gathered made it clear that the investigation should continue, but they have not yet determined whether there are grounds for legal action.
Trump's children may also be involved in the scam
James' attempt to force Trump, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump to testify suggest that the Attorney General's investigation has become a family affair.
In Tuesday's press release, James said the documents released this week made it clear that all three people were "directly involved in one or more transactions under review."
The documentation claims that both Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump was involved in providing misleading financial information to institutions, while the former president had "final authority over a wide range of behavior from the Trump organization that involved misinformation to counterparties, including financial institutions and the Internal Revenue Service."
Donald Trump Jr. monitored several financial statements that contained misleading valuations since 2017, according to court documents. And until 2017, Ivanka Trump served as the organization's primary contact for its largest lender, Deutsche Bank, which Ivanka "caused misleading accounts to be submitted to" as well as to the federal government, the filing said.
Trump's second adult son, Eric Trump, who serves as vice president of the company, had already been summoned in the investigation by the end of 2020, but invoked the fifth amendment more than 500 times when they were ousted in 2020, James' office said. James. Tuesday's court documents.
The Trump organization and members of the Trump family have so far been largely uncooperative with the investigation
The release of the document late on Tuesday was prompted in part by Trump's recent attempt to block the attorney general from questioning him and his two children, James' office said. But the amount of new records suggests that the former president's efforts to reject the investigation have been ongoing since the start.
"For more than two years, the Trump organization has been using delay tactics and lawsuits in an attempt to thwart a lawful investigation of its financial transactions," James said in the press release.
According to Tuesday's reports, the Trump organization avoided handing over documents to James' office for more than a year, citing "email migrations" as an excuse to delay testimony from a leader responsible for overseeing conflict of interest rules .
In a letter filed with the court and published in Tuesday's court documents, the Trump organization claimed that email migrations from 2019 were responsible for unsent attachments in Chief Compliance Counsel Jill Martin's emails related to the valuation of a Trump golf club in Los Angeles.
But the company's evasion goes beyond email snafus, according to court documents.
Out of the five million documents the Trump organization has handed over to James' office in the two years that have passed since the Attorney General's Office issued a subpoena, only three were actually produced by Trump himself, who ran the operation for decades before his inauguration in January 2017.
The three letters were produced in July 2021, weeks after the Manhattan District Attorney's Office sued the organization for tax evasion. The company has not produced any documents from Trump since then, according to court documents.
The Trump organization is firing back
Following Tuesday's trial, the Trump organization responded Wednesday with a strongly worded statement that reiterated several of the former president's previous attacks on the justice minister.
"The only one who is misleading the public is Letitia James," a company spokesman said in the statement. "She deceived New Yorkers by basing her entire candidacy on a promise to get Trump at any cost without having seen a shred of evidence and in violation of any conceivable ethical rule."
The answer comes a month after Trump filed his own lawsuit against James, accusing her of trying to "harass" him with investigations. During a rally in Arizona last weekend, the former president played a supercut who mocked James, calling her an "independent liberal," while also claiming he did not know who she was.
"Three years later, she now faces the harsh reality that she has no case," the Trump organization continued in Wednesday's statement. "So in response to Trump suing her and filing several ethical complaints, and on the heels of her failed governor race, she has no choice but to mislead the public once again by misrepresenting the facts and ignoring her own inflammatory comments."
The spokesman added: "Her allegations are unfounded and will be strongly defended."
This Wednesday, Eric Trump tweeted a video montage of James going after Trump when she campaigned to become New York's justice minister in 2018. Other Democrats in the race also campaigned to prosecute Trump.
"Letitia you can not escape your own words," he wrote on Twitter. "This is all window-dressing for your abuse of office and ethical misconduct (for which we are prosecuting you)."
There is no evidence to suggest that James violated any state ethics laws during the investigation.