A New York state judge’s ruling threatens to unravel former President Donald Trump’s business empire. Trump built his name over the past 40-50 years as a real estate titan in New York. Now New York is on the verge of taking it all from him in the wake of Judge Arthur Engoron’s ruling that the Trump Organization committed fraud by inflating the value of Mar-a-Lago and other real-estate holdings.
Engoron granted New York Attorney General Letitia James’ request to rule on the matter without a jury trial. James ran for office in 2018 vowing to take down the then-sitting president.
“In defendants’ world: rent-regulated apartments are worth the same as unregulated apartments; restricted land is worth the same as unrestricted land; restrictions can evaporate into thin air; a disclaimer by one party casting responsibility on another party exonerates the other party’s lies,” the judge wrote.
“That is a fantasy world, not the real world,” Engoron said.
Judge Orders Dissolution of Trump Organization and Related Entities
The judge granted partial summary judgment on the case, stating that the Trump Organization had provided fraudulent financial statements to banks in order to obtain preferable treatment when it came to interest rates on loans.
He put the Trump Organization and related its entities into receivership to handle the dissolution of its corporate entities in the State of New York. Two properties, 40 Wall Street and the Trump family estate in Seven Springs are directly affected by the ruling.
Engoron called arguments made by Trump’s defense “bogus”, noting that Trump’s condominium in Trump Tower was significantly overvalued by between $114 million to $207 million based on an exaggeration of the square footage of the dwelling. He ruled that only “fraud” could explain the discrepancy.
Questions remain as to how Trump properties outside of New York such as Mar-a-Lago and its numerous golf courses outside the state would be impacted.
With regard to Mar-a-Lago, Engoron noted, “From 2011-2021, the Palm Beach County Assessor appraised the market value of Mar-a-Lago at between $18 million and $27.6 million.”
A review of the parcel of land by 19FortyFive on Zillow.com listed the value of the property at $24 million. A 2022 valuation on PropertyShark.com put Mar-a-Lago’s value at $31 million, while Redfin.com lists it at $61.9 million.
“Donald Trump’s for 2011-2021 value Mar-a-Lago at between $426,529,614million and $612,110,496, an overvaluation of at least 2,300%, compared to the assessor’s appraisal,” Engoron ruled.
James wants a $250 million judgment against The Trump Organization. She also wants a five-year ban on the Trumps doing business as officers in the State of New York for a five-year period.
Donald Trump, Attorneys Claim Unfair Treatment
Trump attorney Christopher Kise contends that Engoron’s ruling is “completely disconnected from the facts and governing law.”
He added, “While the full impact of the decision remains unclear, what is clear is that President Trump and his family will seek all available appellate remedies to rectify this miscarriage of justice.”
While the former president denounced the ruling on Truth Social saying, “WE NEED JUSTICE IN OUR COUNTRY! This political hack judge, who values, Mar-a-Lago, the most spectacular parcel of real estate in Palm Beach, and perhaps all of Florida, at $18 million in order to reduce valuations on my financial statements, which are, in fact, lower than my actual net worth, must be stopped. I have had very unfair judges since entering politics, but nobody has been as unhinged as this guy. Mar-a-Lago is worth, perhaps, 100 times more than he values it. … Additionally, there is a powerful Disclaimer Clause on the first pages of the Financial Statements. It states that nothing in the Financial Statements should be accepted as fact!”
Engoron rejected Trump’s claim about the Disclaimer Clause, calling it “worthless.”
“The defenses Donald Trump attempts to articulate in his sworn deposition are wholly without basis inlaw or fact,” Engoron ruled.
Engoron will decide the scope of his ruling and damages at the upcoming bench trial. An appellate judge paused the trial, which is set to start on Monday, until a broader panel of appeals judges can weigh in.
John Rossomando is a defense and counterterrorism analyst and served as Senior Analyst for Counterterrorism at The Investigative Project on Terrorism for eight years. His work has been featured in numerous publications such as The American Thinker, The National Interest, National Review Online, Daily Wire, Red Alert Politics, CNSNews.com, The Daily Caller, Human Events, Newsmax, The American Spectator, TownHall.com, and Crisis Magazine. He also served as senior managing editor of The Bulletin, a 100,000-circulation daily newspaper in Philadelphia, and received the Pennsylvania Associated Press Managing Editors first-place award for his reporting. He writes opinion articles from a conservative perspective.
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