New York is investigating whether President
New York Attorney General
The investigation is looking into transactions involving a neo-Gothic Trump skyscraper in Manhattan called
Cohen triggered the probe after he handed Congress a series of Trump financial records from 2011 to 2013, New York said in a filing in state court in Manhattan. The investigation is looking into whether Trump inflated the value of assets to secure favorable terms for loans and insurance, as well as whether he devalued other assets to avoid taxes, according to the filing.
The suit also names a Trump lawyer, tax attorney
James “has not concluded its investigation and has not reached a determination regarding whether the facts identified to date establish violations of any applicable laws,” her office said in one of the court filings.
“As the motion papers clearly state, the NYAG has made no determination that anything was improper or that any action is forthcoming,” Garten said. “We will respond to this motion as appropriate.”
The White House didn’t comment.
The dispute comes as Trump is fighting subpoenas for his tax records and financial documents in a separate grand jury investigation led by the Manhattan district attorney.
In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Trump’s claim to be immune from state investigations while in office. A judge last week threw out the president’s lawsuit to block the subpoenas on the grounds that they were too broad. District Attorney
When Eric Trump backed out of his scheduled July 22 deposition with two days notice, his lawyers implied that the reason for doing so was that the questioning of Weisselberg went beyond the scope of a civil investigation, James said in the filing.
The Trump Organization has also refused to hand over documents to establish whether the forgiveness of “large portions of debt” related to Trump’s Chicago skyscraper around 2010 was ever recognized as income for tax purposes, according to the filing.
New York had earlier backed off its demand for such documents after the company said Weisselberg would testify under oath that the forgiveness was recognized, the filings says. But he ultimately testified he “had no first-hand knowledge of this fact,” the filing states, prompting James to renew the demand for the documents.
“The Trump Organization has declined to do so, and has failed entirely to present any argument why it should not,” the attorney general’s office said in the court filing.
The Trump Organization refinanced the $160 million loan on 40 Wall Street in 2015, according to the filing. “Information regarding the Trump Organization’s reporting of the value of 40 Wall Street is significant to the Attorney General’s investigation,” the state’s filing said, though the next sentence, which may explain the relevance, is redacted.
Another area of focus is Seven Springs LLC, part of the Trump Organization. The company acquired the property in Westchester County in 1995 for $7.5 million, according to the AG’s filing. Trump tried to develop it as a golf course or subdivide it for residences between 1996 and 2014, the state said, though the efforts “failed or ceased.”
Trump then granted a so-called conservation easement on Seven Springs to take an income tax deduction based on the property’s lost development value, James’s office said. In 2016, Trump had the property valued by
New York also issued multiple subpoenas to Cushman & Wakefield, the appraisal firm Trump Organization used for several projects, including to determine the value of the conservation easement for Seven Springs for tax purposes, according to the filing. The Trump Organization initially objected on privilege grounds, but reversed course when James threatened to sue to enforce the subpoenas in December, the filing says.
Eric Trump is president of Seven Springs LLC, according to the filing.
“Eric Trump’s categorical refusal to appear is unlawful, and he should be compelled to testify,” James said in the court filing.
(Updates with queries about loan forgiveness on Chicago hotel, 40 Wall Street refinancing.)
--With assistance from
To contact the reporter on this story:
To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Peter Jeffrey, Steve Stroth
© 2020 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.