Attorney general files judgment; liens on Donald Trump properties

Attorney general files judgment; liens on Donald Trump properties


As Donald Trump eyes a Monday deadline to post an appeal bond in his civil fraud case, Attorney General of New York Letitia James has registered the judgment with the Westchester County clerk, setting up the framework for James to seize Trump properties in Westchester if she decides to do so.

Two of Trump’s iconic properties — the Seven Springs mansion estate and Trump National Golf Course — are among James’ possible targets.

Seven Springs, located in North Castle, New Castle, and Bedford, is the imposing 60-room mansion built by Washington Post Publisher Eugene Meyer in the early 20th century that looms over Byram Lake in Armonk as you drive south on Interstate 684. The estate in North Castle has 60 rooms, 15 bedrooms and an indoor swimming pool made of marble.

Trump National in Briarcliff Manor is one of the Trump Organization’s myriad golf courses around the world. Its 18-hole course on the hill was the focus of high-profile protests over Trump’s aggressive attempts to cut the taxable value of the club during his first run for president.

Westchester County Clerk Tim Idoni said that filing the judgment in Westchester County effectively places a lien on Trump’s properties in the county.

“The judgment acts as a lien,” said Idoni.

Civil fraud case cited Westchester properties

The Trump properties in Westchester County were among those involved in the civil fraud trial, at which Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron found that the Trump Organization inflated the values of its real estate holdings to obtain preferential rates from bank lenders and insurance companies.

Trump’s sons Eric and Donald, Jr., along with several Trump companies, were also named in the case.

Trump National Golf Club

An aerial view of the Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor, New York. (Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

James’ action comes as Trump embarks on his third campaign for the presidency while facing criminal indictments in four jurisdictions: for possession of classified documents in Florida, federal election interference related to January 6 in Washington, D.C.; election interference in the 2020 election in Georgia; and the hush money payments to porn star Stormy Daniels, which prosecutors say Trump disguised as business costs.

Trump’s attempt to secure the bond to stop collection of the penalty followed his successful filing of a bond from insurance giant Chubb to cover the $92 million judgment against him in the second defamation case won by E. Jean Carroll. That judgment has been stayed while under appeal. Chubb declined to step forward to provide a bond in the civil fraud case.

Does Trump have the cash or not?

Meanwhile, Trump, the litigious Republican Party standard bearer in the 2024 presidential election, recently filed a defamation suit against ABC commentator and former White House press secretary George Stephanopoulos. He maintains that Stephanopoulos defamed him by saying that the court had found that he raped Carroll.

Trump maintains that the jury only found him liable for sexual assault.

Regarding the civil fraud judgment, Trump’s lawyers have argued in court that it’s a “practical impossibility” for a company like Trump’s to obtain a bond so large — $464 million — to cover the penalty and daily interest that’s accruing at more than $100,000 a day. His lawyers say Trump’s financial team reached out to 30 financial firms to provide the bond, but to no avail.

Trump National Golf Club

The entrance to Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor, New York. (Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

They said Trump lacked the cash, and wanted to cut the amount of the bond to $100 million. Trump seemed to undercut that argument, however, on Thursday when he wrote on his Truth Social platform that he had close to $500 million in cash, but planned to use a chunk of it to finance his presidential campaign.

Dennis Fan, the attorney general’s senior assistant solicitor general, said it’s too late to introduce new arguments in the case. In addition, the pleading to lower the bond is based on statements from Gary Guilietti, an insurance industry executive who testified on Trump’s behalf in the court case, and from Trump Organization general counsel Alan Garten.

Fan said the court questioned the credibility of both Trump associates. Fan argued that Guilietti had a financial interest in the case, noting that his company earns commissions from the Trump Organization, including $1.2 million in 2022.

The court found that Garten was personally involved in the fraudulent conduct that led to the huge judgment, Fan said.

Seven Springs and Trump National

The inflated values for Trump’s Westcheser properties were among those cited by Engoron in his devastating ruling against the former president’s company.

At Seven Springs, where citizens rallied to successfully oppose his plans for a golf course and luxury housing development, Engoron cited huge discrepancies in Trump’s valuations. In 2000, the Royal Bank of Pennsylvania appraised the property for $25 million, and later upped the value to $30 million in 2006.

Trump National Golf Club

An aerial view of the Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor, New York. (Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

In 2012, an appraiser for Trump said six lots in New Castle were worth $700,000 each. By 2014, the total value of 24 lots in the yet-to-be approved subdivision was appraised at $30 million. Yet his financial statements inflated the value of Seven Springs to $291 million by 2014.

At Trump National Briarcliff Manor, Trump’s financial team pegged the value of the golf club land at $16.5 million when he considered donating it as a conservation easement. Yet his financial statement estimated the golf club’s value at $73 million.


Source link

Learn More →