New York Attorney General Letitia James Wednesday filed a civil lawsuit against former president Donald Trump, the Trump Organization, and senior management, including Trump’s children. As a result of a three-year investigation, James claims to have uncovered years of evidence wherein the Trumps allegedly engaged in financial fraud to obtain more favorable loan rates and tax breaks.
The lawsuit, filed in a New York state court, alleges that Trump, with the help of his children Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric, “falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to induce banks to lend money to the Trump organization.” The lawsuit alleges that, over the course of 10 years, Trump knowingly and intentionally entered more than 200 false valuations of assets on financial documents in violation of New York Executive Law 63(12).
James is seeking to permanently bar Trump and his children from serving as an officer or director of any licensed New York corporation or business, bar Trump and his organization from acquiring any New York real estate for five years, and to obtain disgorgement of all financial benefits Trump obtained—estimated at a total of $250 million.
The lawsuit comes a week after James rejected a settlement offer from Trump’s legal team to end James’ civil investigation. The investigation began in 2019 when former Trump attorney Michael Cohen testified that Trump and his organization used inaccurate evaluations of assets to obtain loans and tax breaks.
In a statement, James said:
For too long, powerful, wealthy people in this country have operated as if the rules do not apply to them. Donald Trump stands out as among the most egregious examples of this misconduct. … There are not two sets of laws for people in this country; we must hold former presidents to the same standards as everyday Americans. I will continue to ensure that no one is able to evade the law, because no one is above it.
The matter has also been referred to the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for criminal investigation.