Both Manhattan and New York state’s top prosecutors are ramping up their investigations into former President Donald Trump’s business.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office is looking into Trump’s real estate company for possible criminal insurance and tax fraud and has increased its interviews with witnesses, Reuters reported. It has also hired forensic accountants, according to four people familiar with the probe who spoke with the publication.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Letitia James is looking into whether Trump falsely increased property values and at the end of January, a New York State Supreme Court judge ordered the Trump Organization hand over documents related to that probe.
Manhattan DA Cy Vance is looking to get eight years of Trump’s tax records along with other financial information. Trump’s attorneys have tried to prevent the release of those records, arguing political harassment, and have appealed Vance’s request to the U.S. Supreme Court. Trump has requested a stay of the Supreme Court proceedings, but the court has yet to act on the request.
The investigations may be moving ahead, but both face an uphill battle. Experts told Retuers that it could be difficult to show that property valuations were fraudulent. Many of these appraisals are performed by outside experts, and valuations can vary.
Both the DA and AG are looking at Trump’s Seven Springs property in upstate New York as part of their probes. They’re looking into how the real estate firm assessed the value of the 212-acre estate. Trump bought the property in 1995, and his firm has claimed that it is used as a family retreat. Since 2015, it has also been used as a lucrative tax break after the former president signed a conservation easement to not develop on the property.
[Reuters] — Keith Larsen