Trump Stripped Of Control Over New York Properties In Fraud Case

In a verdict made on Tuesday, former President Donald Trump and his company have been stripped of control over some of their iconic New York properties after a judge sided with New York Attorney General Letitia James, who had accused Trump of committing fraud as he built up his real estate empire.

The case centers on allegations that Trump and his company deceived banks, insurers, and other stakeholders by significantly overvaluing his assets and exaggerating his net worth in critical financial documents used for deals and financing.

In his ruling, Judge Arthur Engoron stated that the financial statements submitted by Trump “clearly contain fraudulent valuations that defendants used in business.” 

As a consequence, Engoron ordered the revocation of some of Trump’s business licenses as a form of punishment, which could severely hamper their ability to conduct business in the state of New York. Furthermore, an independent monitor will be appointed to oversee the Trump Organization’s activities.

James’ lawsuit had accused Trump of “inflating his net worth by billions of dollars,” with the alleged involvement of his children in this purported scheme.

The former president has vehemently denied any wrongdoing, maintaining that the investigation is politically motivated and a “witch hunt” by James, who legally challenged a multitude of Trump administration policies, ranging from immigration to education and healthcare.

In retaliation, Trump filed a lawsuit against James in November, accusing her of abusing her position as attorney general to harm him, his family, and his businesses. 

Trump characterized James’ actions as “a relentless, pernicious, public, and unapologetic crusade” aimed at his personal, financial, and political destruction. However, he voluntarily dismissed the lawsuit in January.

Tuesday’s ruling threatens Trump’s control over several prized properties, including the iconic 40 Wall Street in Lower Manhattan and a family estate in Westchester County. Other prominent holdings, such as Trump Tower in Midtown Manhattan and his Westchester golf club, could also be at risk.

Reacting to the decision, Trump’s lawyer, Christopher M. Kise, expressed dissatisfaction and hinted at an appeal. According to him, the ruling is “outrageous” and “completely disconnected from the facts and governing law.” 

Trump himself has criticized Engoron’s handling of the case, describing him as “deranged” and suing him. An appeals court is expected to issue a ruling on Trump’s lawsuit against the judge this week.