Cushman & Wakefield squirms out of Trump sanctions

Real estate services firm negotiates deal to avoid $10K daily fine

From left: Letitia James, C&W's Brett White, and Donald Trump
From left: Letitia James, C&W's Brett White, and Donald Trump (Getty, iStock)

A Manhattan judge has let Cushman & Wakefield off the hook — for now — after the firm was held in contempt of court last week for failing to provide some documents relating to its years of business with the Trump Organization.

As part of a three-year investigation into the former president’s real estate holdings, the state attorney general’s office has subpoenaed Cushman & Wakefield several times since 2019, requesting massive amounts of information.

New York Attorney General Letitia James is investigating three Trump properties: Seven Springs Estate in Westchester County, Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles and 40 Wall Street in Manhattan. Investigators are looking for evidence that the former president’s company illegally inflated the buildings’ value.

The inquiry places Cushman & Wakefield in the crosshairs. The major commercial real estate services firm served as the Trump Organization’s appraiser for those buildings since at least 2010, court documents show.

Cushman & Wakefield has fulfilled two of the subpoenas, but has not delivered documents requested by the third and fourth, dated Sept. 30 and Feb. 16, respectively.

Among other requests, investigators asked for all documents and communications relating to Cushman & Wakefield’s work with and about the Trump Organization and its namesake, Donald J. Trump.

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Citing the immense volume of records requested, Cushman & Wakefield asked for — and received — numerous extensions. The most recent deadline to turn over the documents was June 29.

“CWI [Cushman & Wakefield, Inc.] did not anticipate the extent of the remaining logistical and technical challenges,” wrote the firm in its motion to extend the deadline on June 29. “It is now clear that these challenges are insurmountable” within the time frame, the firm said.

After the firm missed its deadline, Justice Arthor Engoron handed down a notice of contempt on July 5, along with a $10,000-a-day fine.

But Judge Lizbeth González and Cushman & Wakefield reached an agreement on Friday, giving the firm extensions on various segments of the subpoenas and wiping out the fine.

If Cushman & Wakefield fails to comply with the new terms, the daily fine will be applied retroactively from June 7. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The statute of limitations is approaching, so the attorney general must act quickly to sue the Trump Organization if she finds evidence of fraud.

Depositions with Trump and his family members-slash-business heirs Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr. are expected to take place in the coming week.