The New York attorney general claims that her investigators found evidence that Trump’s former company used “fraudulent and misleading” valuations of golf clubs, skyscrapers and other property to obtain loans and tax benefits.
Lawyers for Attorney General Letitia Jam told a judge late Tuesday that they are still deciding whether to file a lawsuit, but that they should allow investigators to question Mr. Trump’s two oldest children under oath in the civil investigation.
The Trump Organization released a statement Wednesday calling this civil investigation “baseless” as well as politically motivated.
The court documents provide the most comprehensive accounting of the long-running investigation by the attorney general into claims that Mr. Trump’s company overestimated the value or misrepresented the land’s worth in order to reduce its tax burden. The Trump Organization claimed that it had exaggerated the land donation value in New York and California in paperwork submitted to IRS in order to justify tax deductions of several million dollars.
When giving estimates of Mr. Trump’s wealth, the company misreported the size of his Manhattan penthouse, saying it was nearly three times its actual size – a difference in value of about $200 million, Ms. James’ office said, citing deposition testimony from Mr. Trump’s longtime financial chief Allen Weisselberg, who was charged last year with tax fraud in a parallel criminal investigation.
The court papers stated that James’ office had detailed its findings in a court motion to force Donald Trump Jr., his daughter Ivanka, and Mr. Trump Jr. to submit to subpoenas for their testimony.
Investigators, the court papers said, had “developed significant additional evidence indicating that the Trump Organization used fraudulent or misleading asset valuations to obtain a host of economic benefits, including loans, insurance coverage, and tax deductions.”
In its statement, the Trump Organization said “the only one misleading the public is Letitia James.”
“She defrauded New Yorkers by basing her entire candidacy on a promise to get Trump at all costs without having seen a shred of evidence and in violation of every conceivable ethical rule,” they wrote. “Three years later she is now faced with the stark reality that she has no case.”
Donald Trump Jr. said on Twitter that the investigation “is nothing more than political retribution from her on behalf of the entire Dem Party. She should be disbarred!”
The disclosure comes as Mr. Trump has been laying the groundwork for a potential comeback campaign for president in 2024. He held his first rally of the new year last weekend in Arizona, where he slammed the “monsters that are using law enforcement for political retribution at the local, state, and federal level” and aired an anti-James video that highlighted her past anti-Trump statements.
Mr. Trump’s legal team tried to block the subpoenas and asked a federal court to stop Ms. James from being investigated. The lawsuit is still pending. His lawyers claim that Ms. James is trying to improperly obtain testimony for her civil investigation that could be used in a parallel criminal probe overseen by Alvin Bragg In a statement Tuesday night, Ms. James’s office stated that the evidence so far supports her investigation and should not be impeded.
“For more than two years, the Trump Organization has used delay tactics and litigation in an attempt to t