A New York judge ruled Thursday that an independent observer should be appointed to prevent “further fraud” within Donald Trump’s family business.
This is a painful setback for the Trump organization and supports the civil suit brought against the company by New York State Attorney General Letitia James. James was seeking the appointment of such a monitor as part of her civil suit against the former president and his three oldest children.
She accuses the Trump Organization of increasing the value of its assets to get better loan terms or lowering them to pay less taxes.
This lawsuit, which has yet to go to trial, is separate from a lawsuit recently opened against the Trump Organization itself — not Trump the man — on charges of fraud and tax evasion.
One of the executives involved, former chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, has already pleaded guilty to 15 counts of tax fraud and is expected to testify against his former company as part of a plea deal.
On Thursday, Judge Arthur Engoron said there were “continuing misrepresentations” by Trump in documents called financial condition between 2011 and 2021.
“This court finds that the appointment of an independent observer is the most prudent and fine-tuned mechanism to ensure there is no further fraud or illegality in violation of New York State law,” the judge said. .
He said some of the examples James cited were “extremely compelling.” One involves Trump’s triplex apartment in Trump Tower on New York’s 5th Avenue and an overvaluation of about $200 million, Engoron said.
Trump and his adult children are prohibited from “selling, transferring, or otherwise disposing of non-cash assets listed on Donald J Trump’s 2021 financial condition” without first giving 14 days’ notice to be given, the judge said.
In her separate lawsuit, James is seeking $250 million in damages.
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