The New York Attorney General’s Office said it identified numerous “misleading statements and omissions” in Trump Org. financial state
In a filing late Tuesday, investigators said the office “intends to make a final decision on who is responsible for these inaccuracies and omissions,” adding that “OAG needs the testimony and evidence sought here to determine which Trump Organization employees and affiliates – and which other entities and persons – may have assisted the Trump Organization and Mr. Trump in making, or may have relevant knowledge of, the inaccuracies and omissions at issue.
They write that “witnesses closest to the top of the Trump Organization asserted their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. experienced”.
“But Mr. Trump’s actual knowledge – and intention to do – of the numerous inaccuracies and omissions made by him or on his behalf are essential to resolving the OAG’s investigation properly and fairly,” the filing said. . “Similarly, Donald Trump, Jr. and Ivanka Trump worked as agents for Mr. Trump, acted on their own behalf, and supervised others in connection with the transactions at issue here; their testimony is also necessary for a appropriate resolution of the OAG investigation.”
CNN has reached out to the Trump Organization and representatives of the Trumps for comment.
Ivanka Trump was a key liaison with lender Deutsche Bank, while Donald Trump Jr. was involved with several properties, including 40 Wall Street, and certified the accuracy of financial statements from 2017, the office said. of the Attorney General.
In lengthy court documents, investigators said about a dozen current and former employees of the Trump Organization testified and that Trump personally authorized the production of his tax returns.
“In light of the pervasive and repeated nature of the inaccuracies and omissions, it appears that the valuations in the statements were generally inflated as part of a trend suggesting that Mr. Trump’s net worth was higher than he was. would not have been otherwise,” the investigators wrote.
Specifically, the New York Attorney General’s office said it focused on several specific alleged inaccuracies, including:
- The size of Trump’s Trump Tower penthouse;
- Assets misclassified outside the control of Trump or the Trump Organization as “cash”, thereby overstating its liquidity;
- Misrepresented the process by which Trump or his associates reached the valuations, including deviations from generally accepted accounting principles in a way that the statements did not disclose;
- Failed to use fundamental valuation techniques, such as discounting future income and expenses to their present value, or choosing as “comparables” only similar properties in order to impute valuations from public sales data ;
- Misrepresented the alleged involvement of “outside professionals” in carrying out the assessments; and
- Failed to advise that some appraisal amounts were inflated by an undisclosed amount for brand value.
One claim from James’ office is that Trump did not comply with the subpoenas. As an example, they allege that although Trump did not use email, they learned from witnesses that Trump kept hard copies of documents and used sticky notes to communicate with employees. They said a filing cabinet containing Trump’s files was never searched to comply with a subpoena.
“This record was never searched because the Trump Organization determined, improbably, that Mr. Trump was not involved in the preparation of his own financial statements,” they wrote.
James’ office said the alleged misrepresentations were shared with lenders, and insurers alleged that “virtually all the benefits of the misleading appraisals accrued to Donald J Trump.” The office also said it had evidence indicating that Trump may have obtained more than $5 million in federal tax benefits from allegedly misleading appraisals obtained from tax benefits taken from the New Family compound. York, known as Seven Springs, and the Trump National Golf Course in Los Angeles.
James’ office has been conducting a civilian investigation into the Trump Organization and the accuracy of its financial statements since 2019, which Trump called a political witch hunt.
A deposition in the civil case, they wrote, “is effectively the same as a deposition by DANY, but without providing the constitutional protections given to each witness through the grand jury process.”
Witnesses called before a New York State grand jury are granted transactional immunity for their testimony and can only be prosecuted if they lie under oath. James, they argued, is trying to circumvent those rights by seeking the testimony in a civil case, which could then be used by criminal prosecutors. If they fail to testify, in a civil case, a jury may hold that against the defendants or draw an adverse inference.
In Tuesday’s filing, James’ lawyers rejected the argument, arguing that the Trumps could assert their Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination.
“Every witness is free to invoke his or her Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. The exercise by a witness of this right in a civil investigation (or any other civil or administrative proceeding) is neither uncommon nor a denial a constitutional right,” the lawyers wrote. .