New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) has filed a lawsuit against former President Donald Trump, his three adult children and executives of the Trump Organization, claiming that they engaged in fraudulent business practices to attain business loans and avoid tax liabilities.
The complaint filed by James on Wednesday “demonstrates that Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself, and to cheat the system, thereby cheating all of us,” James said at a press conference announcing the lawsuit.
James explained that Trump “repeatedly and persistently manipulated the value of assets” to get better loan terms and to pay lower tax rates, citing 65 witness testimonies and millions of documents she and her office pored over. Trump’s adult children — Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump — were also implicated in the deceptive practices, along with current and former executives from his businesses.
The lawsuit is a civil one, meaning that the state will not seek out criminal charges relating to Trump’s alleged actions. But James explained during the press conference that her office believes Trump may have committed federal crimes, and is forwarding evidence they have retrieved to the Department of Justice and the Internal Revenue Service.
The suit asks for judgment that will prohibit Trump and his family members from serving as executives in any company in New York state. It also seeks to bar the Trump Organization from acquiring any property in New York for the next five years.
Additionally, the state is seeking a $250 million judgment for gains Trump and his company have made as a result of lying about the valuations of their assets.
“The number of grossly inflated asset values is staggering, affecting most if not all of the real estate holdings in any given year,” the lawsuit alleges, adding:
All told, Mr. Trump, the Trump Organization, and the other Defendants, as part of a repeated pattern and common scheme, derived more than 200 false and misleading valuations of assets included in the 11 Statements covering 2011 through 2021.
According to the lawsuit, Trump misstated the size of his apartment in New York City by more than three times its actual dimensions. But misleading statements about his properties’ values weren’t limited to just New York — Trump also lied about the valuations of his Mar-a-Lago estate, falsely claiming that the property could be developed for residential use in order to obtain better loan rates.
Mar-a-Lago “should have been valued at about $75 million, but it was valued at $739 million,” the lawsuit states.
James explained why she felt compelled to file the lawsuit in a recent tweet.
“There aren’t two sets of laws for people in this nation: former presidents must be held to the same standards as everyday Americans,” she said.
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