Cushman must play ball in Trump property probe: judge

CRE giant questioned about its appraisals on 40 Wall, others

New York /
Apr.April 26, 2022 01:30 PM
Former president Donald Trump, Cushman & Wakefield's Brett White and Attorney General Letitia James with 40 Wall Street (Getty, Cushman & Wakefield, ChrisRuvolo Public domain via Wikimedia Commons, iStock)

Former president Donald Trump, Cushman & Wakefield’s Brett White and Attorney General Letitia James with 40 Wall Street (Getty, Cushman & Wakefield, ChrisRuvolo Public domain via Wikimedia Commons, iStock)

UPDATE: April 27, 11:55 a.m. ET: Letitia James has got Cushman & Wakefield in a corner.

The New York Attorney General announced Monday that a court ruled the commercial real estate giant needs to comply with her office’s investigation into Donald Trump and the Trump Organization. The decision comes weeks after James went to state court to compel Cushman to comply with her subpoenas for her civil inquiry.

Cushman will have until May 27 to turn over documents to James’ office. In a statement to CNBC, the company acknowledged the ruling, while claiming suggestions the company hasn’t responded in good faith to the investigation is “fundamentally untrue.”

“Once again, Cushman & Wakefield affirms that we stand behind our appraisals and appraiser,” the company added.

The judge’s decision was the second made in James’ favor to start the week. Earlier on Monday, Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron held the former president in contempt for failing to comply with another subpoena from James. Trump has been ordered to pay $10,000 per day in penalties until he turns over the requested documents.

A lawyer for Trump plans on appealing the judge’s ruling.

James said Cushman appraised several Trump properties in the past, including 40 Wall Street in Manhattan and the Seven Springs estate in Westchester County. Both properties are part of James’ civil probe into whether the Trump Organization misstated real estate values for tax benefits or more favorable loan terms.

Earlier this year, she claimed investigators “uncovered significant evidence” suggesting misleading or fraudulent asset valuations were used to woo lenders, insurers and the IRS.

At 40 Wall, for instance, James alleged that when Trump sought to refinance the property in 2015, his statement of financial condition estimated a $735 million valuation of the property, but one lender valued it at only $257 million.

Trump and the Trump Organization continue to battle against the allegations in the civil probe, as well as an ongoing criminal investigation being led by the Manhattan DA.

UPDATE: This story has been updated to reflect Cushman’s role in James’ investigation.





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