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NY AG:Trump Co. Misled Banks, Officials01/19 06:19

   The New York attorney general's office late Tuesday told a court its 
investigators had uncovered evidence that former President Donald Trump's 
company used "fraudulent or misleading" asset valuations to get loans and tax 
benefits.

   NEW YORK (AP) -- The New York attorney general's office late Tuesday told a 
court its investigators had uncovered evidence that former President Donald 
Trump's company used "fraudulent or misleading" asset valuations to get loans 
and tax benefits.

   The court filing said state authorities haven't yet decided whether to bring 
a civil lawsuit in connection with the allegations, but that investigators need 
to question Trump and his two eldest children as part of the probe.

   Trump and his lawyers say the investigation is politically motivated.

   In the court documents, Attorney General Letitia James' office gave its most 
detailed accounting yet of a long-running investigation of allegations that 
Trump's company exaggerated the value of assets to get favorable loan terms, or 
misstated what land was worth to slash its tax burden.

   The Trump Organization, it said, had overstated the value of land donations 
made in New York and California on paperwork submitted to the IRS to justify 
several million dollars in tax deductions.

   The company misreported the size of Trump's Manhattan penthouse, saying it 
was nearly three times its actual size -- a difference in value of about $200 
million, James' office said, citing deposition testimony from Trump's longtime 
financial chief Allen Weisselberg, who was charged last year with tax fraud in 
a parallel criminal investigation.

   James' office detailed its findings in a court motion seeking to force 
Trump, his daughter Ivanka Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr. to comply with 
subpoenas seeking 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."

   Messages seeking comment were left with lawyers for the Trumps.

   Trump's legal team has sought to block the subpoenas, calling them "an 
unprecedented and unconstitutional maneuver." They say James is improperly 
attempting to obtain testimony that could be used in the parallel criminal 
investigation, being overseen by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

   Trump sued James in federal court last month, seeking to put an end to her 
investigation. In the suit, his lawyers claimed the attorney general, a 
Democrat, had violated the Republican's constitutional rights in a 
"thinly-veiled effort to publicly malign Trump and his associates."

   In the past, the Republican ex-president has decried James' investigation 
and Bragg's probe as part of a "witch hunt."

   In a statement late Tuesday, James office said that it hasn't decided 
whether to pursue legal action, but said the evidence gathered so far shows the 
investigation should proceed unimpeded.

   "For more than two years, the Trump Organization has used delay tactics and 
litigation in an attempt to thwart a legitimate investigation into its 
financial dealings," James said. "Thus far in our investigation, we have 
uncovered significant evidence that suggests Donald J. Trump and the Trump 
Organization falsely and fraudulently valued multiple assets and misrepresented 
those values to financial institutions for economic benefit."

   Although James' civil investigation is separate from the criminal 
investigation, her office has been involved in both, dispatching several 
lawyers to work side-by-side with prosecutors from the Manhattan D.A.'s office.

   James' office said that under state law, it could seek "a broad range of 
remedies" against companies found to have committed commercial fraud, 
"including revoking a license to conduct business within the state, moving to 
have an officer or director removed from board of directors, and restitution 
and disgorgement of ill-gotten gains."

   In the court papers, James' office said evidence shows that Trump's company:

   -- Listed his Seven Springs estate north of New York City as being worth 
$291 million, based on the dubious assumption that it could reap $161 million 
from building nine luxury homes.

   -- Added a "brand premium" of 15% to 30% to the value of some properties 
because they carried the Trump name, despite financial statements explicitly 
stating they didn't incorporate brand value.

   -- Inflated the value of a suburban New York golf club by millions of 
dollars by counting fees for memberships that weren't sold or were never paid.

   -- Valued a Park Avenue condominium tower at $350 million, based on proceeds 
it could reap from unsold units, even though many of those apartments were 
likely to sell for less because they were covered by rent stabilization laws.

   -- Valued an apartment being rented to Ivanka Trump at as high as $25 
million, even though she had an option to buy it for $8.5 million.

   -- Said in documents that its stake in an office building, 40 Wall Street, 
was worth $525 million to $602 million -- between two to three times the 
estimate reached by appraisers working for the lender Capital One.

   One judge has previously sided with James on an earlier request to question 
another Trump son, Trump Organization executive Eric Trump, who ultimately sat 
for a deposition but declined to answer some questions.

   Last year, the Manhattan district attorney brought tax fraud charges against 
the Trump Organization and Weisselberg, its longtime chief financial officer.

   Weisselberg pleaded not guilty to charges alleging he and the company evaded 
taxes on lucrative fringe benefits paid to executives.

   Both investigations are at least partly related to allegations made in news 
reports and by Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, that Trump had a 
history of misrepresenting the value of assets.

   The disclosures about the attorney general's investigation came the same day 
as Trump ally Rudy Giuliani and other members of the legal team that had sought 
to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election were subpoenaed by a 
House committee investigating the U.S. Capitol insurrection.

 
 
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