New York judge appoints monitor to oversee Trump Organization’s finances



CNN

A New York state judge on Thursday imposed a monitor over the Trump Organization’s finances after the New York attorney general’s office requested additional oversight to stop a decades-long fraud by former President Donald Trump and three of his senior executives. kids.

Judge Arthur Engoron wrote in an 11-page opinion that “Mr. Trump’s misrepresentations are persistent. [financial statements] From 2011 to 2021, the Court finds that the appointment of an independent monitor is the most prudent and disproportionate mechanism to ensure that there is no further fraud or illegality.’

Engoron said the Trump Organization will seek court approval before selling any assets, “primarily to prevent the defendants from liquidating or transferring their assets outside this jurisdiction.”

The judge added that Trump is prohibited from selling or transferring assets listed in his 2021 financial statement without giving the judge and the attorney general’s office 14 days notice. Also, the defendants must give the monitor at least 30 days notice before starting the restructuring of the company.

New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a $250 million lawsuit in September against Trump, his three eldest children and the Trump Organization, alleging decades-long fraud.

Engoron’s motion on Thursday was in response to a request from James’ office that the assets could be moved out of state.

“Today’s decision will ensure that Donald Trump and his companies cannot continue with the widespread fraud we found and will require the appointment of an independent monitor to oversee compliance at the Trump Organization,” James said in a statement. “No lawsuits, delaying tactics or threats will stop our pursuit of justice.”

James’ lawsuit alleges that the Trump entities defrauded insurers and lenders by providing false financial statements when procuring loans and policies, specifically in deals with massive commercial players like Deutsche Bank and accounting firm Mazars. Trumps says the investigation is politically motivated and denies any wrongdoing.

Defense attorney for Trump Org. argued in court Thursday that it’s common for lenders and developers to do their own appraisals and to put different valuations on a property in a business deal.

Chris Kise argued that there is no public interest in high-profile private deals between “corporate titans versus corporate titans,” both of whom have the means and resources to research asset valuations as a matter of routine practice before issuing loans and insurance policies.

“The 800-pound gorilla in this case is at what point reasonable disagreement becomes fraud,” Engoron said in court.

Kevin Wallace of the attorney general’s office said in court Thursday in the first hearing in this case since the lawsuit was filed that the office does not want to interfere with the day-to-day operations of the Trump Org. but Trump wants to know what companies are telling banks and insurers about their financial health.

Kise told the judge that Trump Org. He would be open to working out a stipulation of compliance with the attorney general based on a court order. “We are not afraid of the case. We are not going anywhere,” he said.

Kise also noted that only two Trump buildings in Manhattan are within the court’s jurisdiction, Trump Tower and 40 Wall Street, and that they are worth more than $250 million to take as collateral.

Trump Org. the prosecutor called it “a bill of contention” during the hearing of the attorney general’s case, arguing that the appointment of a monitor of a private business “borders on the nationalization of a private company.”

“Every business in New York state should be very, very concerned right now,” Kise said, arguing that a designated monitor for a private business would set a dangerous precedent.

Wallace told the court, “I do not represent corporate titans,” but sued the Trump conglomerate to ensure “an honest and fair business environment in New York State.”

Calling themselves cynical, the Trump Org. The lawyer had timed the hearing days before voters went to the polls for James’ re-election bid.

Kise also said he hoped the ruling would not be used by James at a campaign event later in the day.

“This shouldn’t be about political theater,” Kise said before announcing the verdict.

Engoron gives both sides until November 15 to measure the potential monitors recommended by both sides.

Separately, Trump filed a lawsuit in Florida state court Wednesday afternoon seeking to block the trust that owns the James Trump Organization from obtaining records. The civil suit was filed hours after a New York judge denied an effort to move the case against James to another division of New York court.

This story has been updated with additional details.