Cushman pushes back on subpoena in Trump property probe

CRE giant claims order threatens clients’ privacy

Donald Trump, Brett White, and Letitia James with 40 Wall Street (Getty, Cushman & Wakefield, 40 Wall Street, iStock)
Donald Trump, Brett White, and Letitia James with 40 Wall Street (Getty, Cushman & Wakefield, 40 Wall Street, iStock)

Cushman & Wakefield is resisting an order to comply with an investigation into Donald Trump and the Trump Organization.

The commercial real estate giant filed an appeal Wednesday, seeking to overturn a judge’s decision to uphold a subpoena in the probe by New York Attorney General Letitia James. As part of the civil inquiry, James is seeking information about Cushman’s appraisals of several Trump properties, including 40 Wall Street.

In its appeal, Cushman argued it has been cooperating with the investigation for two years and the subpoena threatens the privacy of clients who have no involvement in the probe.

“The Attorney General has now ordered us to turn over tens of thousands of pages of documents related to our work with nearly 1,000 clients that have no connection whatsoever to the Trump Organization,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.

The AG’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

After the subpoena was upheld, Cushman was given until May 27 to turn over documents to James’ office. James has said the company appraised several Trump properties, relevant for a probe into whether the Trump Organization misstated real estate values for tax benefits or favorable loan terms.

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The Manhattan judge in the case last month accused Cushman of inconsistencies in “adhering to its internal quality control practices when conducting appraisals on behalf of the Trump Organization,” the Daily Beast reported.

A company spokesperson said the Daily Beast story was “filled with inaccuracies” and it stands behind its appraisers and appraisals.

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

One property highlighted in James’ allegations of inflated values is 40 Wall Street. James alleged when Trump sought to refinance the property in 2015, a statement of financial condition estimated a $735 million valuation, despite one lender valuing it at only $257 million.

The former president and the Trump Organization have denied the allegations in the civil probe, as well as those from an ongoing criminal investigation being led by the Manhattan district attorney’s office.