A New York judge on Thursday required Donald Trump’s family business to be subject to surveillance requirements while facing a civil fraud lawsuit from New York Attorney General Letitia James.
State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron said that given what he called “continued misrepresentations” by the Trump family company in its financial statements over the past decade, “the appointment of an independent observer is the most prudent and tailored mechanism.” , to ensure there is no further fraud or illegality.”
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The ruling came hours after the first public hearing in Ms James’ lawsuit filed in September. The Attorney General, a Democrat, alleged that Mr. Trump, three of his adult children, and his company made $250 million in ill-gotten gains by engaging in a decades-long program of mispricing their assets. Mr Trump submitted false and misleading asset valuations to banks and insurers, adding billions of dollars to his net worth, she claimed.
Judge Engoron said Ms James presented dozens of pieces of evidence to support her claim that the Trump family company engaged in fraud, suggesting her case was likely to succeed on the merits. He pointed to evidence that Mr. Trump had exaggerated the size and value of a three-story apartment in Trump Tower, saying in financial statements that a dozen rent-limited apartments valued at $750,000 were worth $50 million.
Judge Engoron said the Trumps’ attorneys “failed to produce even one iota of evidence or an affidavit from anyone with personal knowledge to refute the attorney general’s “extensive demonstration of ongoing fraud.”
“Today’s decision will ensure that Donald Trump and his companies cannot continue the extensive fraud that we have uncovered,” Ms James said after the verdict.
A spokeswoman for the Trump Organization said, “Today’s decision sets a dangerous precedent for government interference in private companies and is an apparent attempt to influence the outcome of the upcoming election.”
The Trumps have called the allegations politically motivated, and on Wednesday the former president sued Ms. James in a Florida court, seeking an injunction that would bar her from accessing and disclosing a trust that describes Mr. Trump’s estate plans .
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Appeared in the November 4, 2022 print edition as “Judge Puts Monitor On Trump Business.”