MANHATTAN (CN) — Upping the ante in connection to what New York’s top law enforcement officer has framed as hundreds of millions of dollars in illegal valuations, the state attorney general filed Thursday for a court order that would force service upon former President Donald Trump and his middle son.
The 76-year-old patriarch and Eric, 38, have so far avoided being served in person, all while the Trump Organization has allegedly continued its fraudulent valuation scheme and used various new corporate entities to avoid the pending trial. New York Attorney General Letitia James says the former president also has continued to issue financial statements that are incorrect, and has tried to reorganize through new corporate entities to move assets around.
“Since we filed our lawsuit, Donald Trump and the Trump Organization have continued to engage in fraudulent business practices,” James said in a statement. “Today, we are acting to immediately stop this ongoing fraud.”
Her filing seeks an injunction to prohibit the Trump Organization “from transferring any material asset to a non-party affiliate,” prohibit it from issuing any statement of financial condition or asset disclosure that “fails to adequately disclose the assumptions and techniques used for valuing his assets,” and electronically serve the former president and Eric Trump.
“Trump doesn’t get to play by different rules,” James continued. “We will not allow Donald Trump and the Trump Organization to continue this fraud or evade accountability. No one is above the law.”
Reacting to the news Thursday, Trump's attorney labeled the filing "simply another stunt, which Ms. James hopes will aid her failing political campaign.”
James is up for reelection but polls suggest she is a shoo-in for the job.
“We have repeatedly provided assurance, in writing, that the Trump Organization has no intention of doing anything improper,” Trump's attorney Alina Habba said in a statement.
James brought the underlying $250 million lawsuit last month in Manhattan Supreme Court. It says the Trumps received more favorable loans, insurance rates, and tax breaks by overvaluing properties. To avoid issuing correct financial statements or calculation of net worth, the Trump Organization allegedly gave banks and insurers a list of real estate assets and liabilities “without a representation as to value.”
In one example of fraudulent valuation detailed by James, the Trump-owned property 40 Wall Street was listed at a value of $524 million one year after the Trumps received appraisals in August 2010 that calculated the property at $200 million.
James has reportedly rejected at least one settlement offer from Trump, who publicly has called the lawsuit politically motivated. Habba filed last month to have the case moved to the state court’s commercial division, calling the attorney general’s efforts to prevent such a move “nothing less than a deliberate attempt to circumvent” court rules and to “judge shop.” Justice Arthur Engoron, a Democrat, is currently presiding.
The attorney general alleges in her newest filing that the Trump Organization took steps on the same day that complaint was filed to “restructure its business to avoid existing responsibilities under New York law,” including registering a new entity called Trump Organization II LLC.
“On the eve of this filing, counsel did offer to provide assurances and advance notice to address what were described as ‘purported concerns,’ but again offered no concrete mechanism to either effectuate or enforce that offer,” the filing notes.
Unlike Eric and his father, the president's two other eldest children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka have been properly served in the case, alongside about a dozen other defendants have been formally served. Prosecutors seek to bar all four Trumps from serving as an officer or director in any New York corporation or licensed entity.
Eric Trump was deposed in 2020 prior to the complaint being filed, an interview in which he reportedly invoked the Fifth Amendment more than 500 times.Follow @NickRummell
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