Former President Donald Trump’s Florida real estate pieces may be on the chopping block. Following Judge Arthur Engoron’s decision last month that Trump’s company had committed “repeated and persistent fraud” on his financial statements, Trump may lose control of famed properties, including his Mar-a-Lago estate.
Judge Engoron was critical of Trump’s overvaluations. “That is a fantasy world,” Engoron said, “not the real world.”
“Trump listed his residence at Trump Tower on New York’s 5th Avenue at 30,000 square feet, despite it only being 10,996 square feet,” The Hill reported. “It led to an overvaluation of between $114 million and $207 million, Engoron ruled.”
As Engoron wrote: “A discrepancy of this order of magnitude, by a real estate developer sizing up his own living space of decades, can only be considered fraud.”
The 5th Avenue apartment wasn’t the only Manhattan property that Trump overvalued. At Trump Park Avenue, Engoron ruled that Trump had inflated the value of multiple units based on the “false premise” that the units were not subject to NYC’s strict rent control codes.
“Engoron’s ruling went on to find that Trump, by hundreds of millions of dollars, overvalued Trump Seven Springs, located in New York’s tony Westchester County, and Lower Manhattan’s 40 Wall Street. Trump also fraudulently valued his golf courses in the U.S. and one in Scotland, Engoron ruled,” according to The Hill.
Donald Trump’s response
Trump plans to appeal, naturally. Alina Habba, Trump’s legal spokesperson who previously served as an attorney on the case, said Engoron’s decision was “fundamentally flawed at every level” and an “affront to our legal system.”
“It is important to remember that the Trump Organization is an American success story,” Habba said.
If the appeals court does not intervene, Trump Organization assets will begin to be liquidated within 10 days.
“If this order stands, Donald Trump will see his ‘empire’ replaced by a pile of cash,” said Mitchell Epner, a former federal prosecutor who now works for Rottenberg Lipman Rich. “That cash will be the proceeds of the forced sale of the assets, less payment in full to all creditors, and an enormous tax bill.”
Trump’s team will likely file an emergency motion in New York’s appellate court.
With respect to Trump’s famed Mar-a-Lago property, Engoron found that the county assessor had appraised Mar-Lago’s market value at somewhere between $18 million and $27.6 million. Meanwhile, Trump valued the property somewhere between $426 million and $612 million. Just a bit outside.
Trump posted on Truth Social to say Mar-a-Lago may be worth “almost 100 times” the county’s valuation.
The president’s sons got in the mix, too. “Mar-a-Lago is speculated to be worth we’ll over a billion dollars maing it arguably the most valuable residential property in the country. It is all so corrupt and coordinated,” Eric Trump wrote on X.
“If Mar-a-Lago is worth $18 million…I’ll take 10 please!!!” Donald Trump Jr. posted.
Legal troubles ahead
The New York fraud case is just one of several cases involving the former president as he campaigns to reclaim the White House from President Biden. Trump is also facing criminal charges in four separate cases – one in New York (hush money payment), one in Georgia (election interference), and two at the federal level (classified documents mishandling, January 6th).
Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor and opinion writer at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison listens to Dokken.