Trump Ordered to Pay $355M for Lying About Real Estate Values

NY judge also bans ex-president from running a business in New York for three years

reprints


A New York judge ordered former President Donald Trump to pay $355 million in penalties and be barred from doing business in the state for three years for lying about the value of his real estate portfolio. 

The judgment, filed in New York County Supreme Court Friday, is a scathing rebuke of the former president’s business prowess while at the helm of The Trump Organization and may leave him scrounging for cash to comply with the order by the 30-day deadline.

SEE ALSO: Hochul Has High Hopes for NY’s Housing Deal, but Developers Need to Do Some Math

Justice Arthur Engoron also banned Trump from running a business or applying for a loan in New York for three years. Engoron placed the same sanction on Trump’s sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, for two years, which could put the organization in disarray as Eric Trump has been acting as the head of the company. 

Trump has previously requested a mistrial in the fraud case — claiming Engoron has a bias against him — and will appeal the latest judgment, the New York Times reported. 

A spokesperson for The Trump Organization said in a statement that the ruling was a “gross miscarriage of justice” and added that the New York business community should be concerned about the potential overreach of state prosecutors.

“If allowed to stand, this ruling will only further expedite the continuing exodus of companies from New York,” the spokesperson said.

The case stems from New York Attorney General Letitia James’ yearslong investigation into Trump and his business partners for committing fraud by inflating the value of the Trump Organization’s assets — including 40 Wall Street and Trump Seven Springs — in order to woo lenders into offering more favorable financial terms.

Of the fine levied by the ruling, about $168 million was for the interest Trump saved by overvaluing the properties, according to the ruling. 

All told, Engoron ruled that Trump and his co-defendants — including former Trump Organization staffers Allen Weisselberg and Jeffrey McConney — owe a total of $450 million, plus interest, for the fraud. Weisselberg and McConney were also barred from serving as an office or director for a company in New York for three years as well as holding any positions in financial management jobs for life, according to the ruling.

The ruling also calls for creating an independent director of compliance at the Trump Organization to oversee its books and make sure it doesn’t run afoul of the law again.

Engoron’s initial September judgment in favor of James’ claims would’ve called to remove swaths of Trump’s business to be dissolved and properties to be handed over to a third party. However, Engoron’s Friday ruling instead will put them “subject to individual” review by the compliance director and another judge.

The ruling comes after James took the Republican presidential frontrunner and his firm’s top executives to trial for conspiring to break the law in New York, which Trump has long called a “witch hunt.” James filed a civil suit against Trump in 2022.

The ruling on Friday validates James’ remaining claims but falls short of her request for a permanent ban on Trump doing business in New York state.

James called the judgment a “tremendous victory” and said in a statement Friday that it was proof that even former presidents must play by the rules.

“Now Donald Trump is finally facing accountability for his lying, cheating and staggering fraud,” James said. “Because no matter how big, rich or powerful you think you are, no one is above the law.”

This is far from the only legal battle the former president and current presidential candidate is facing.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg brought felony charges against Trump last year, and that case is scheduled to begin trial next month. Trump is also fighting three other criminal cases in other states.

Abigail Nehring can be reached at anehring@commercialobserver.com.