(NewsNation) — New York’s attorney general sued former President Donald Trump, his company and his three eldest children for fraud on Wednesday, alleging the group lied about the value of various real estate assets in order to pay lower taxes and mislead investors.
From 2011-2021, state Attorney General Letitia James said Trump and his organization knowingly and intentionally “created more than 200 false and misleading valuations of assets” on annual financial statements in order to “defraud financial institutions.”
In total, prosecutors say Trump received nearly $250 million worth of benefits from the fraudulent activity.
The former president’s attorney responded to the lawsuit with a statement, calling the allegations “political,” and added, “We are confident that our judicial system will not stand for this unchecked abuse of authority, and we look forward to defending our client against each and every one of the Attorney General’s meritless claims.”
Here are some of the specific accusations outlined in the civil lawsuit:
used false numbers to inflate assets
As just one example, the AG’s lawsuit says Trump misrepresented the value of his apartment in Trump Tower by lying about the unit’s square footage on financial statements.
“The bulk of this fraudulently inflated value came from the misrepresentation in the years 2012 through 2016 that the apartment was 30,000 square feet when in reality the apartment was only 10,996 square feet. That wildly overstated size was then multiplied by an unreasonable price per square foot,” the lawsuit reads.
ignored legal restrictions on properties
At Trump Park Avenue, a residential building in Manhattan, the former president allegedly misrepresented the value of multiple rent-stabilized apartments by assessing them at market rate.
“In 2011 and 2012 the 12 rent-stabilized units were valued collectively at $49,596,000 — a rate over 65 times higher than the $750,000 valuation for those units in the 2010 appraisal, which was based
on their rent-stabilized status.”
Trump also lied about the value of his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida by ignoring development restrictions on the property, the lawsuit said.
“The Mar-a-Lago club was valued as high as $739 million based on the false premise that it was unrestricted property and could be developed and sold for residential use, even though Mr. Trump himself signed deeds donating his residential development rights and sharply restricting changes to the property,” per the lawsuit.
In reality, the Mar-a-Lago property should have been valued closer to $75 million, prosecutors claim.
the trump brand premium
Trump intentionally increased the value of his golf clubs by incorporating a “brand premium” despite saying that brand value was not included in the calculations, investigators allege.
“In the 2013 Statement, the value of Mr. Trump’s golf course in Jupiter, Florida, was further inflated by fraudulently adding 30% for the Trump ‘brand’,” according to the lawsuit.
Prosecutors say the same fraudulent brand premium appeared for six other golf clubs on the 2013 financial statement.
misrepresented cash on Hand
The lawsuit claims Trump consistently misrepresented his cash holdings by including funds that were part of a partnership that was not under his control.
“In some years these restricted funds accounted for almost one-third of all the cash reported by Mr. Trump (for example, they accounted for $24 million of the total $76 million in cash reported for 2018),” it reads.
The investigation determined Trump reported the cash as his, despite the fact that he had no power to access it on his own.