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NY AG Letitia James Sues Trump Over Supposed ‘Staggering’ Fraud in Real Estate Business

NY AG Letitia James Sues Trump Over Supposed ‘Staggering’ Fraud in Real Estate Business

They are so obsessed with Trump that it’s disturbing.

New York Attorney General Letitia James made good on her promise to use the state’s power to go after President Donald Trump.

James announced a $250 million lawsuit against Trump and his family for alleged fraud in their real estate business:

The 220-page suit filed in in Manhattan Supreme Court is the culmination of a three year investigation by the Democrat’s office to determine whether the Trump Org.’s assets were exaggerated for loan, insurance and tax purposes.

“Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself, and cheat the system, thereby cheating all of us,” James said at a news conference announcing the suit,

“Claiming you have money that you do not have does not amount to ‘The Art of the Deal,’ it’s the art of the steal,” she said, referring to Trump’s 1987 book.

The three-year investigation supposedly found that “Trump and his companies named as Defendants, engaged in numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation in the preparation of Mr. Trump’s annual statements of financial condition (“Statements of Financial Condition” or “Statements”) covering at least the years 2011 through 2021.”

“These acts of fraud and misrepresentation grossly inflated Mr. Trump’s personal net worth as reported in the Statements by billions of dollars and conveyed false and misleading impressions to financial counterparties about how the Statements were prepared,” James wrote. “Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization used these false and misleading Statements repeatedly and persistently to induce banks to lend money to the Trump Organization on more favorable terms than would otherwise have been available to the company, to satisfy continuing loan covenants, and to induce insurers to provide insurance coverage for higher limits and at lower premiums.”

James said she wants “the New York Supreme Court permanently bar Trump and his children from serving as officers for any New York corporation, and bar Trump and the Trump Organization from participating in New York commercial real estate acquisitions or applying for loans in the state for five years.”

Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba said it’s all about an agenda:

“Today’s filing is neither focused on the facts nor the law – rather, it is solely focused on advancing the Attorney General’s political agenda,” Habba said in a statement. “It is abundantly clear that the Attorney General’s Office has exceeded its statutory authority by prying into transactions where absolutely no wrongdoing has taken place. 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.”

Of course it is.

All of the 2018 New York attorney general candidates promised to hunt Trump if they won the election.

James won. She immediately promised to stick to her pledge:

New York Attorney Gen.-elect Letitia James says she plans to launch sweeping investigations into President Donald Trump, his family and “anyone” in his circle who may have violated the law once she settles into her new job next month.

“We will use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well,” James, a Democrat, told NBC News in her first extensive interview since she was elected last month.


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Non stop political persecution. Criminal on its on.

The value for tax purposes is the value of the property and buildings. The value for loan purposes is that value plus the value of the ongoing business. One is bigger than the other.

    Yep, and when you get a loan and put up property as collateral, *every* bank worth a dime will evaluate that property on their own to establish how much it is really worth rather than take your word. Real estate isn’t buying a bag of candy bars at Wal-Mart. There’s no price tag dangling from that skyscraper other than several rather rough guesses at the value from various professional guessers, and even those vary depending on the purpose of the evaluation.

      Recently purchased a property. Three valuations, a realtor’s “market valuation”, a professional appraisal and another professional appraisal. Not to mention the tax assessor’s appraisal to make four. And four different amounts with the highest 68% higher than the lowest. And one professional appraiser made some amazing discoveries of features which simply were not part of the place (and I know the person did inspect the property).

      chrisboltssr in reply to georgfelis. | September 21, 2022 at 7:52 pm

      Exactly correct. The same happens in property insurance. No insured overvalues his property because if he does he can expect to pay a hefty premium. Of course, it is incumbent upon the underwriter to actually verify the fair market value of a property prior to making a proposal.

      Everyone undervalues their property when paying for insurance or taxes because no one wants to pay more than they need to. But when it comes to sell we tend to overvalued the property because we want to get a much money as possible. This Leticia James can theoretically prosecute every American in the country for engaging in perfectly normal activity.

    puhiawa in reply to rhhardin. | September 21, 2022 at 2:06 pm

    I am impressed how the Trumps simply inform the tax office what the properties are worth and they take his word for it. But I am bothered by flashbacks of multiple disputes , well publicized over the years, of the Trumps complaining about over-valuation by the city of NY, which were appealed and the Trumps prevailed……..was that my imagination?

    Jazzizhep in reply to rhhardin. | September 21, 2022 at 2:48 pm

    I think the valuation of Mar A Lago is proof of that. Trump can truthfully claim the value is based on capital that can obtained from leveraging it. Which is much higher if the property is chopped and sold for individual plots. The value as it stands is not as high. The fact James is suing him over the difference is absolute absurd.

      The fact that she’s suing him and not bringing a criminal indictment means she’s got nothing.

        The level of proof needed in a civil case is much lower – and easier to get results if you can get a jury predisposed against the defendant.

        It a lawyer, however I’ve always understood that to file a civil case requires that you have suffered some loss or injury. Assuming that it’s illegal (or unusual) for a business property to have its (proposed) value to be high-balled when used as collateral – and that somehow Trump used his vampiric powers to force banks to accept that value – how is James or any other individual harmed? Jealousy doesn’t count.

          Milhouse in reply to BobM. | September 21, 2022 at 11:09 pm

          She’s not suing in her own capacity, she’s suing on behalf of the state. Just like the DOJ brings civil suits all the time.

          BobM in reply to BobM. | September 22, 2022 at 7:13 am

          Milhouse, which begs the question – what damage was done to residents of NY state? If (IF) Trump (say) defaulted on a loan theoretically the lending party has standing to sue under the arguement that the loan was improperly secured. These loans weren’t defaulted, the lending parties are under due diligence required to come up with their own evaluation of proposed collateral, and any third party MUST suffer a personal loss – and name them as a co-defendant for the sake of both logic and justice. This suit serves neither justice nor logic. It only serves the DA’s political ambitions.

          Milhouse in reply to BobM. | September 22, 2022 at 11:16 am

          Harm to the state is not required. Just a statute authorizing the Attorney General to sue people for violating the law. At the federal level DOJ routinely brings civil suits instead of prosecutions, if it feels that’s the best way to proceed. It trades off a lower penalty for a lower standard of proof and quicker procedure. The same is presumably true at the state level.

          Dimsdale in reply to BobM. | September 22, 2022 at 1:46 pm

          She is suing on her capacity as a leftist, on behalf of the Democrat Socialist party,

          BobM in reply to BobM. | September 22, 2022 at 2:00 pm

          Milhouse – so are you ok with prosecuting folks for “breaking the law” without needing to show criminal intent or criminal actions? The asked for penalties are not insignificant – banning a family from earning their regular income stream in the future and fining them a quarter of a Billion dollars. For actions that are not criminal, not out of the ordinary practice, and resulted in no harm to any citizen at large. Suing someone for (say) pollution or (say) predatory lending practices is the sort of thing such suites are intended for – where the harm or real and / or the harmed difficult to fully determine individually. The only harm associated with this suit is James re-election prospects if she refrains from what looks like vindictive and unlawful persecution under the cloak of her office.

          Milhouse in reply to BobM. | September 22, 2022 at 3:49 pm

          First of all it’s not a matter of what I’m OK with, it’s a matter of what the law is.

          Second, nobody is being prosecuted here; they’re being sued.

          Third, of course I’m OK with people being prosecuted for breaking the law! Who is not OK with that? Whether criminal intent is required depends on the specific statute. Obviously if intent is an element of the crime then you can’t be prosecuted without that being alleged, and you can’t be convicted without it being proven beyond reasonable doubt. If intent is not an element then there’s only the general requirement for mens rea. And if the statute says even that’s not required then it isn’t.

          (And no, I’m actually not OK with the existence of strict liability crimes, but my opinion doesn’t matter; there is no question that they do exist, and nothing in the constitution says they can’t. Or at least no court has yet found such a prohibition in the constitution. If it were up to me I’d amend the constitution to ban them. But none of that is relevant in this case, since there’s no prosecution, and strict liability is not even being alleged.)

    Ironclaw in reply to rhhardin. | September 21, 2022 at 2:49 pm

    Communist idiots like her aren’t going to know that stuff.

      JohnSmith100 in reply to Ironclaw. | September 21, 2022 at 6:24 pm

      She is another Affirmative dim wit. I bet that if there is enough digging intor her finances that dirt will be uncovered.

    Gosport in reply to rhhardin. | September 22, 2022 at 5:35 pm

    Three concepts the AG needs to have explained to her:

    – Due diligence
    – Subjective valuation
    – Abuse of office

If Trump broke the law the Ag should prosecute him under relevant criminal laws.

These allegations suggest banks and insurance companies may have been subject to misrepresentations. If so they can sue. How was the state of NY harmed by any of this? Seems political.

If the AG really “had the goods” on Trump, there would have been a criminal complaint filed.

One thing I learned as an attorney is that the longer the complaint the less substance it has. Further, it irritates the court. I have seen on more than one occasion the court demand the complaint be reformed. Once in a securities case a complaint was filed that was 125 pages without exhibits. Without even waiting for an objection, the court told the plaintiff that she was not sitting there waiting for the chance to read his “book”. He was to reduce the complaint to 25 pages and label each count with a recognized cause of action and if he did not do so the case would be dismissed (WOP).

Stuff from 2011 didn’t get investigated until 2018, after The Orange Crush got traction in politics where he’s not invited to play. Interesting.

If AG Villefort intends to persecute prosecute NYC real estate players who might have exaggerated this or that, we’re gonna need a bigger prison system.

Fat_Freddys_Cat | September 21, 2022 at 2:27 pm

“…to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee…”

I feel so bad for President Trump that this non stop onslaught knows no end

I freaking hate these people

    Jazzizhep in reply to gonzotx. | September 21, 2022 at 2:53 pm

    His children, really? They are going after his children because they should have known the documents Trump was signing. She gives all kinds of “proof” of Trump’s fraud because he personally signed financial documents.

    Bill Barr suggests regardless of absurdity of the charges against Trump, James going after the children is gross overreach and shows her bias.

      If The Donald signed the papers, he sure as heck didn’t prepare them. He relied on the people he employed to get it right. That makes tagging the children even worse. Technically, if he signed as to the validity, he might be on the hook civilly if he signed PROVEN false statements without any attempt to verify them. But his children? Did they sign too?

      Barr should have his mouth stuffed with raw sewage and sewn shut.

    I predicted on Twitter in early 2021 that they would never allow Trump any peace.

Nothing more politically-motivated harassment. If the dumb b*tch had anything, she would have filed criminal charges.

James: A dirty cop trying to outdo the others.

Is she charging Trump for fraud without a victim?

This could drag on for years. The process is the punishment. The intent is to teach Republicans to stop trying to act like they are as good as the other side.

She has abused her office with a personal vendetta against Donald Trump and his family. She pronounced this while seeking office in 2018 and continued to pronounce it after being sworn in.

She has made a mockery of her office and has used it for her own personal reason, and any court that allows this to go forward is a sham court enabling this personal vendetta.

She needs to be voted out this November, then disbarred.

    MarkS in reply to Don. | September 21, 2022 at 5:17 pm

    Is there an ethics violation on her part?

    The Gentle Grizzly in reply to Don. | September 21, 2022 at 5:23 pm

    The latest Trafalgar all shows her losing but in a margin of error to the Republican. I think she is doing this to shore up the base she has; she can count on NYC-ers to be cheered by this suit.

    henrybowman in reply to Don. | September 21, 2022 at 7:25 pm

    “All of the 2018 New York attorney general candidates promised to hunt Trump if they won the election.”
    Did you really mean “all,” or did you mean “all the Democrats?”
    If the former, it says some shocking things about New York.

So the AG of NY does not understand the difference between net worth and cash on hand.

Another radical AG who promised just this sort of action in running for office. Voters need to be wary of these types.

    The only way out of this is for every GOP state attorney general to file suit against Leticia James and NY State.

    Speaking of which: it’s no argument anymore that Kamala Harris is a dumbsh-t. What’s most amazing is how she surivived as California’s attorney general! The answer is that she had her planted on Willie Brown’s pecker during her entire tenure.

      For what business? You can’t receive a suit alleging unethical business practices with relief of business license being suspended without having such a license or business.

      Fortunately Trump probably won’t lose this case unfortunately discovery will prove he is worth a lot less than he claims (Forbes estimate is 1 billion he claims he is worth 10 billion) which will not be good for his brand.

The team of three prosecutors standing behind her all looked very grim throughout the press conference/propaganda event. As if they feel this whole thing could wind up a career-ending event…for themselves. I’ve glanced at the bilious complaint. Can’t say I’ve ever seen anything quite like it. I looked for causes of action stated as legal counts setting forth all the elements of whatever cause of action was being alleged in each count, and I couldn’t find any of those. It’s just a huge blunderbuss of nonsense. I thought in a civil fraud case, the plaintiff has to prove “justifiable reliance” and “damages.” And three other elements. So, Propecia James is telling us that Deutsche Bank didn’t do their own valuation estimates/appraisals/analysis before entering into transactions with Trump (she highlighted Deutsche Bank in her pontifications on CNN)?

    henrybowman in reply to Marco100. | September 21, 2022 at 7:33 pm

    That’s their “Democrats who mean business” faces.
    They practice them in front of a mirror that has a headshot of Don Ozzie Altobello clipped to it.

    murkyv in reply to Marco100. | September 21, 2022 at 8:41 pm

    But…but…an msnbc legal analyst said she has multiple crimes listed that he committed

    An MSDNC analyst wouldn’t be full of Schiff, would they.?

    randian in reply to Marco100. | September 21, 2022 at 9:46 pm

    Deutsche Bank didn’t do their own evaluation

    More to the point, how does this lawsuit help Deutsche Bank or his insurers? If she wins and bankrupts Trump’s businesses Deutsche Bank now has a non-paying debtor, and his insurers cease receiving their no doubt substantial premiums.

That waste of Trump-hating skin is in a battle to keep her job. Let’s hope she doesn’t.

This is LOL laughable.

After 7 years this is the best they can do?

A civil charge, not criminal, accusing Trump of inflating property values for loan and tax purposes?

As if no one else is involved in the process of setting property values. Banks and their appraisers had nothing to do with setting the value of the properties they were loaning him money to buy. Or loaning him money against as collateral. As if they were disinterested in what the property was worth when tens of millions of dollars were at stake.

Will she sue the banks and appraisers, too? Or try to intimidate them into testifying against Trump and his family?

As Bugs Bunny famously said, “What a maroon!”

I asked my attorney two questions after the first time I heard her speak about suing the NRA..

1) do you have to actually graduate from law school to be attorney general in New York? And

2) do you actually have to pass the bar exam?

He said yes to both. I was embarrassed for his profession.

    henrybowman in reply to vinnymeyer. | September 21, 2022 at 7:35 pm

    When you feel down about the decline of the state of American exceptionalism, just remember that AOC’s degree is in Economics.

    Passing the Bar Exam (especially in California) was a rite of passage that an attorney could be very proud of.

    However, in a push for affirmative action, jurisdictions like California have absurdly simplified their Bar Exams, so the likes of Kamala Harris, the Obamas and this idiot James can pass it.

      It’s now about paying the vig (law school), not demonstrating knowledge of the law. It used to be that you could pass the CA bar exam without a JD. Now, even if you got 100% on the bar exam you can’t get licensed without one.

    Milhouse in reply to vinnymeyer. | September 21, 2022 at 11:25 pm

    I believe your attorney was incorrect. To the best of my knowledge the only qualifications to serve as NYAG are that one must be a USA citizen, at least 30 years old, and have lived in NY for at least five years before the date of the election. Any other qualifications are up to the voters.

It’s as much about throwing charges at Trump and MAGA Republicans than actually getting anything out of it.
Sure she would like to have a real court case but I think it’s a show for November.
It would be a big launch for her in bigger politics if she could actually win this.

    henrybowman in reply to Skip. | September 21, 2022 at 7:36 pm

    What’s the expression?
    If you throw enough shit up against the wall, some of it has to stick?
    This is shit.

If banks had been misled, I’m sure that they would have taken legal action themselves.

NYC residents are dealing with skyrocketing crime of all types and the inept AG is using resources for her personal vendetta against DJT. I hope when DJT gets back onto power he has the IRS audit her.

well, at least “fraud” is a subject in which she’s personally well-versed–an experienced aa shakedown thug

This move smacks of desperation. James’ opponent, Michael Henry, is increasingly looking like a winner. And, if/when he takes office, one of the first things on his list will be to quash James’ lawsuit and concentrate on NY’s horrific crime problem.

Suburban Farm Guy | September 21, 2022 at 9:00 pm

It’s beyond galling to hear democrats say ‘no one is above the law.’

We see democrats breaking all sorts of laws all the time. Somehow, they’re above the law. ‘Of course I’m not going to prosecute my people’ Eric Holder. Obama’s banana republic. Not America.

    It is part of their systemic projection.

    Actually, the SCOTUS ruled the exact opposite in Department of the Navy v. Egan (1988);


    …The President, after all, is the “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.” U.S. Const., Art. II, § 2. His authority to classify and control access to information bearing on national security and to determine whether an individual is sufficiently trustworthy to occupy a position in the Executive Branch that will give that person access to such information flows primarily from this constitutional investment of power in the President and exists quite apart from any explicit congressional grant. See Cafeteria Workers v. McElroy, 367 U.S. 886, 890 (1961). This Court has recognized the Government’s “compelling interest” in withholding national security information from unauthorized persons in the course of executive business. Snepp v. United States, 444 U.S. 507, 509, n. 3 (1980). See also United States v. Robel, 389 U.S. 258, 267 (1967); United States v. Reynolds, 345 U.S. 1, 10 (1953); Totten v. United States, 92 U.S. 105, 106 (1876). The authority to protect such information falls on the President as head of the Executive Branch and as Commander in Chief.

    A President’s ability to determine what information needs to be protected, and what doesn’t, through the classification system is beyond the reach of Congress. It’s also beyond the reach of the Judicial branch. That’s what’s galling about the 11th Circuit’s decision. Specifically this part of the opinion:

    “Plaintiff suggests that he may have declassified these documents when he was President. But the record contains no evidence that any of these records were declassified. And before the special master, Plaintiff resisted providing any evidence that he had declassified any of these documents…”

    The Constitution doesn’t prescribe any procedure that a President must adhere to in order to classify (and consequently declassify) any information. Where does it say that he has to keep a record sufficient to satisfy a bunch of activist judges? Where does it say he has to provide “evidence” of declassification sufficient to satisfy a Special Master?

    The 11th Circuit’s decision is a direct assault on the separation of powers. The President can indeed declassify anything he wants simply by “thinking.”

    I think this goes here because when leftists claim “no one is above the law” they simply mean their raw hatred is the law.

A lawsuit filed in the NYS Supreme Court is a civil matter, not a criminal. So, who exactly are the plaintiffs and what harm are they claiming?

The loaning institutions? They don’t sue for fraud, they call the FBI or the US Attorney.

The insurance companies? Nah, they rely on the banks and lenders to assess the applicant’s ability to cover the loan.

Or the People of the State of New York. What standing do they have vis-a-vis Trump’s financial relationships with banks and lenders? What harm befell them if Trump has in fact falsely stated his worth for a loan (sorry, that would be a criminal offense)?

A suit with no damages claimed by any party is not called a law suit. It’s called Contempt of Court.

assets were exaggerated for loan, insurance and tax purposes

If this were true his lenders and insurers could have sued him themselves, though so long as Trump’s companies are covering their debt and insurance premiums such a lawsuit would likely be ill-advised. Turning a paying debtor into a non-paying one is bad business.

As for taxes, that is an outright absurd claim. Nobody in real estate exaggerates the value of their properties. To do so is to increase one of the primary costs of real estate ownership, property taxes.

This definitely seems like an election push lawsuit filing with absolutely no chance of surviving a motion to dismiss.

I hope the taxpayers are paying attention to how she wastes their money and the court’s time while not prosecuting all of the increased criminal activity.

I was reading that what she valued one of Trump’s buildings at was less than single apartments were being advertised for on the same street.