New York AG asks court to declare that Trump overvalued business assets News
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New York AG asks court to declare that Trump overvalued business assets

New York Attorney General Letitia James asked a New York court Wednesday to declare that former US President Donald Trump inflated the value of various assets between $812 million and $2.2 million each year since 2011. James asked Judge Arthur Engoron to issue a summary judgment on the matter, which would result in a finding of liability on the issue without a trial. Trump denied the allegations in testimony released Wednesday. James’ filing is a part of her broader financial fraud civil case against Trump, the Trump Organization and its senior management—including Trump’s children.

In her motion to the New York Supreme Court, James stated, “Based on the undisputed evidence, no trial is required for the Court to determine that Defendants presented grossly and materially inflated asset values in [their financial filings] and then used those [filings] repeatedly in business transactions to defraud banks and insurers.” Specifically, James argues that Trump lied to lenders and insurers about the value of his assets, such as the value of his golf properties, to obtain more favorable loan rates and tax breaks.

James’ motion includes a list of properties that her investigators discovered were overvalued in Trump’s financial filings from 2011 through 2021. For example, James refers to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, Florida property, which is currently at the center of a federal criminal case involving Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents. James claims that Trump overvalued the Florida property at anywhere between $347 million to $739 million over the course of ten years. During that same period, Mar-a-Lago was assessed at a value of $18 million to $27.6 million, suggesting that Trump’s valuation of his Mar-a-Lago, Florida property was over ten times that of its actual value.

As a result of this, as well as other evidence gathered by her investigators, James argued the judge should grant her summary judgment on the fraud claims—resolving one of the seven claims filed in her civil suit.

In testimony James took during a deposition of Trump on April 13, Trump denied the fraud allegations. Trump said, “[Y]ou don’t have a case and you should drop this case.” He continued, “[I]t’s a shame … now I have to come and justify myself to you.” Trump’s legal team has sought to have the case against him thrown out completely.

James began the investigation into the Trumps 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. She formally filed a civil lawsuit against the Trumps and their organization in September 2022. The motion and Trump’s deposition were included in a Wednesday release of documents ahead of a September 22 hearing in the case. Right now, the case is set to go to trial in October.

Trump also faces another civil case in New York on sexual harassment claims from writer E. Jean Carroll. Separately, Trump faces four criminal trials in which he has pleaded not guilty on 91 charges spanning falsified business records to obstruction of justice.