Cushman & Wakefield Held in Contempt in AG James’ Trump Investigation
Justice Arthur Engoron asserted that C&W “cross-moved to quash” subpoenas from New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office that sought to reveal whether the firm helped former President Donald Trump and his family inflate the prices of several key properties in their portfolio, according to ruling filed Tuesday.
Engoron imposed a $10,000-a-day fine until the brokerage fully complies with the demands from the attorney general. C&W plans to appeal.
“The ruling to hold Cushman & Wakefield in contempt demonstrates a failure to understand the extreme lengths Cushman has gone to comply with the court’s order,” a spokesperson for C&W said in a statement. “We have gone to great expense and effort to quickly identify, collect, review and produce the massive set of documents requested by the [Office of Attorney General], and we have now produced over hundreds of thousands of pages of documents and over 650 appraisals since the last subpoena was issued in February 2022.”
Not only has the firm claimed that it denied requests by the Trump Organization to boost the assessed values of the properties in question, but it has also filed an appeal to the subpoena in May alleging that the turning over the documents could breach the privacy of up to 1,000 other clients.
“Cushman & Wakefield’s work for Donald Trump and the Trump Organization is clearly relevant to our investigation, and we’re pleased that the court has recognized that and taken action to force Cushman to comply with our subpoenas,” James said in a statement. “No person or company, no matter how powerful, is above the law.”
A motion to stay was lifted by the courts in June, and C&W was again required to comply with the subpoenas by June 27. C&W requested another extension two days after the deadline, to which Engoron said it was simply too late and lacked “good cause.”
“Cushman disagrees with any suggestion that the firm has not exercised diligence and good faith in complying with the Court’s order, and we will be appealing this decision,“ the statement from C&W continued.
James has challenged the appraised values on Trump properties such as 40 Wall Street in Manhattan, Seven Springs Estate in Westchester, N.Y., and Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles. At Seven Springs, the Trump family increased the value of the property from $80 million to $200 million from 2004 to 2007, then up to $291 million in 2012. James has said that two separate appraisers valued the property at $56 million.
In April, the Trump Organization was also held in contempt and given a fine of $10,000 for each day it didn’t comply with the attorney general’s demand. Trump himself has publicly decried the investigation as politically motivated by campaign promises made by James in 2018 and 2019 when she was running for office.
The attorney general’s office did not immediately provide a statement.
Mark Hallum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.