These properties have Trump in hot water with attorney general

40 Wall Street, Chicago hotel, LA golf club, Westchester estate in NY’s crosshairs

National /
Aug.August 26, 2020 12:22 PM
Attorney General Letitia James and President Donald Trump. Background from left: the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles, Seven Springs Estate in Westchester County and 40 Wall Street in New York City (Photos via Getty; C R and Yuki Shimazu via Flickr; Wikipedia Commons)

Attorney General Letitia James and President Donald Trump. Background from left: the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles, Seven Springs Estate in Westchester County and 40 Wall Street in New York City (Photos via Getty; C R and Yuki Shimazu via Flickr; Wikipedia Commons)

New documents reveal the properties in the crosshairs of New York’s investigation into the Trump Organization.

The documents were filed in court Monday as Attorney General Letitia James asked a judge to demand the company produce documents and to order Eric Trump, the executive vice president of his father’s company, to answer questions, the New York Times reported.

The filings reveal the state is examining four properties: the mixed-use Manhattan building 40 Wall Street, Seven Springs Estate in Westchester County, the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago and the Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles.

The state is seeking clarification about inconsistent valuations of these properties by President Donald Trump’s business, depending on what furthered its interests.

The Times reported that the Seven Springs Estate was valued by the company at $291 million in 2012, but by 2018 Trump reported the 212-acre property was worth at most $50 million. Between those years, Trump’s development plans were blocked and the firm claimed a $21 million tax break for land conservation. A similar tax break was claimed at the Trump golf club in Los Angeles.

At issue for the Chicago property is $100 million worth of debt that was forgiven by the property’s lender, Fortress Credit Corporation, which would typically be reported as income. New York’s top law enforcement official is seeking clarification about how the Trump Organization recorded that forgiven debt.

It is unclear what investigators are looking for at 40 Wall Street, but the Times highlighted a discrepancy between Trump’s $527 million valuation of the building in 2012. That same year experts told the Wall Street Journal it was worth at least $400 million.

Trump bought the ground lease for Manhattan property for $1 million in 1995. In 2010, it received a $160 million loan from Capital Loan for which Trump personally guaranteed $20 million, Crain’s reported.

James’s office said the property’s finances were “significant” to its investigation.

Her probe began in 2019 after the president’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen testified before Congress that Trump and his company falsely represented the value of its real estate assets.

The investigation examines whether civil laws were broken and whether the business could be sued for restitution or fined if wrongdoing is discovered. If the probe uncovers evidence of potential criminal acts it could turn its findings over to another law enforcement agency.

Eric Trump has derided the investigation as “the highest level of prosecutorial misconduct.” The executive and son of the president claims the probe is politically motivated. James tweeted about her filing just as the Republican National Convention got underway.

“For months, the Trump Organization has failed to fully comply with our subpoenas in this investigation,” she wrote. [NYT] — Erin Hudson


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