New Legal Filing Reveals Startling Details of Possible Fraud by Trump Organisation
Heather Vogell (ProPublica) 24 January 2022
This story was originally published by ProPublica.
The filing, submitted by New York Attorney General Letitia James, comes several years after a ProPublica investigation revealed conflicting financial details the Trump Organization filed for its downtown Manhattan skyscraper at 40 Wall Street.
A new legal filing by New York’s attorney general this week accused former President Donald Trump’s company of misleading lenders about the financial health of its landmark downtown Manhattan skyscraper, 40 Wall Street, while seeking to renew the building’s mortgage.
Though the Trump Organization called 40 Wall Street “one of the great success stories post 2008,” lender Capital One found the company’s estimates of the building’s worth so unbelievable that the bank declined to refinance the tower’s loan in 2015, the filing alleges.
“Capital One harbored great skepticism regarding the Trump Organization’s valuations,” says the filing, which was submitted by Attorney General Letitia James in response to Trump’s efforts to block her from questioning him and his children as part of an ongoing investigation by her office.
The new accusations offer startling details about possible financial fraud involving 40 Wall Street — one of the subjects of a 2019 ProPublica story that highlighted conflicting financial documents the Trump Organization had filed for the building.
ProPublica’s story documented how income, expense and occupancy numbers cited in the eventual refinance for 40 Wall Street and another Manhattan building sometimes didn’t match those the company had filed with city tax authorities. A lower valuation for the city would produce a lower tax bill, while a higher valuation for lenders would make it easier to get a new mortgage.
One expert said it appeared like the Trump Organization was keeping “two sets of books.”
“It feels like a set of books for the tax guy and a set for the lender,” said Kevin Riordan, a financing expert and real estate professor at Montclair State University, at the time.
In her filing, James asserts that Trump Organization employees, including Trump’s children, took part in a pattern of deception in which they misled lenders, insurers and the Internal Revenue Service by vastly overstating values for 40 Wall Street and a host of other Trump properties, including golf courses in Scotland, Los Angeles and Westchester and his buildings on Fifth and Park avenues.
The Trump Organization on Thursday lashed out at James, a Democrat, via a statement emailed by a spokesperson, saying, “The only one misleading the public is Letitia James.
“She defrauded New Yorkers by basing her entire candidacy on a promise to get Trump at all costs without having seen a shred of evidence and in violation of every conceivable ethical rule,” the organization’s statement said. It asserted that James “has no case” and that the “allegations are baseless and will be vigorously defended.”
Alan Futerfas, a lawyer for Trump’s children Donald Jr. and Ivanka Trump, also criticized James, accusing her of making “repeated threats to target the Trump family” and ignoring legal protections for “the very people she is investigating.”
James is seeking to compel testimony and obtain documents from Trump, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, who she said have not cooperated with her investigation.
The filing says that property valuations formed the heart of statements of financial condition that the Trump Organization used to demonstrate its net worth. The statements, which James said contained inaccuracies, were compiled by an outside accounting agency from a data spreadsheet and backup material provided by the Trump Organization.
Trump’s personal guarantees to some banks and insurers required him to certify that his financial statements were correct, according to James’ filing. The documents say her office has evidence Trump was “personally involved in reviewing and approving” the statements. Continue Reading… 
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