Donald Trump and his family business are facing a trial in New York to determine the amount they owe in penalties. A judge found that they had inflated Trump’s assets by billions of dollars to secure more favorable loan and insurance terms. This case has been brought by Democratic New York Attorney General Letitia James against Trump, who is the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.
Trump, his businesses, and his two adult sons are accused of inflating assets by as much as $1.9 billion to $3.6 billion per year between 2011 and 2021. They allegedly did this to save hundreds of millions of dollars on loans and insurance. James’ office claims that they used incorrect figures for property sizes and made false assumptions about their development potential to arrive at the inflated values.
The judge in the case, Justice Arthur Engoron, ruled that James had proven the fraudulent inflation of Trump’s assets. The trial will now focus on determining the penalties that they must pay.
In this civil case, Donald Trump does not face criminal penalties but could suffer significant financial and business consequences. James is seeking at least $250 million in penalties and a ban on Trump and his sons from running businesses in New York. Additionally, she is seeking a five-year commercial real estate ban on Trump and the Trump Organization.
As part of his ruling, Justice Engoron ordered the cancellation of certificates required for ten of Trump’s business entities to operate certain properties, such as Trump Tower and his New York golf clubs. He also stated that he would appoint independent receivers to oversee their “dissolution.” The full implications of this ruling on Trump’s business empire are still unclear, but the trial may provide clarity on whether the disputed assets will be liquidated.
Trump’s lawyers have disputed James’ figures, claiming they are based on flawed accounting methods that do not consider Trump’s “investment genius” in valuing his assets. During a deposition in April, Trump himself dismissed the allegations and emphasized his achievements as president, distancing himself from day-to-day decision-making at the Trump Organization.
In a post on his Truth Social platform following the ruling, Trump called the fraud accusations “ridiculous and untrue” and criticized Judge Engoron as “DERANGED.”
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