If you don’t have time to read through state Attorney General Letitia James’ recent filing to the Supreme Court of New York State on her investigation into former President Donald J. Trump’s real estate practices (and alleged shenanigans), you’re in luck: journalist Vicky Ward has broken all down for you.
In her latest Substack post, the “The Liar’s Ball” author questions whether or not Trump crossed the line when he allegedly exaggerated claims about the worth of his properties to help get loans, insurance coverage and tax deductions approved.
Civil charges against the Trump Organization are yet to be filed, and a spokesperson for the company told her the claims James has made are baseless. The company sued the Attorney General on Jan. 17, seeking a court order to halt the long-running investigation.
And in her analysis, Ward, who has been writing about the world of real estate for more than a decade, wonders if Trump was simply playing the game like others in the business have been doing forever.
In the world of real estate, she writes, “exaggerating your net worth is completely commonplace, particularly when seeking funding or marketing. (It’s also commonplace for real estate developers to sing a different song to the IRS. Typically, their accountants write complex disclamatory cover letters explaining the discrepancies. We don’t know what Trump’s said.)”
As part of her reporting, she says she reached out to a number of bigtime developers to get their thoughts on the recently filed paperwork, and found most thought it not particularly interesting or surprising, even if some said he might have gone too far.
Still, Ward notes that the banks and financial institutions that are dealing with Trump are playing the same game.
The bankers she spoke with, she writes, were well aware of Trump’s fanciful financial statements, noting that they were “comical” and “absurd” and ultimately ended up going in the garbage — even as they loaned Trump millions, and still made money on those loans.
Ward has a history of tangling with Trump. When she painted a not-so-flattering picture of The Donald in “The Liar’s Ball,” he responded on Twitter “Just finished reading a poorly written & very boring book on the General Motors Building by Vicky Ward. Waste of time”
Well, we think this post is worth a read.
[Substack] — Vince DiMiceli