A New York state judge on Thursday order an independent auditor to oversee the Trump Organization’s financial statements after allegations that the company has grossly overestimated its assets.
Judge Arthur Engoron has signed a preliminary injunction that also prevents former President Donald Trump’s company from transferring assets without court approval. In his ruling, the judge said the company must also notify the monitor of all its holdings and assets and give 30 days’ notice of any restructuring of the company and any proposed “disposal or refinancing of material assets of the Trump organization.
Given “the defendants’ propensity to engage in persistent fraud, failure to grant such an injunction could result in extreme harm to the people of New York,” the judge wrote.
Engoron’s decision has arrived a civil suit filed against the company by the New York Attorney General’s Office alleging that the Trump Organization had inflated its value in the financial statements of banks and insurers by billions of dollars. The judge’s ruling cited numerous instances of the company’s alleged fraud in the attorney general’s trial, which he described as “more than sufficient to demonstrate OAG’s likelihood of success on the merits.”
During a hearing earlier today in Lower Manhattan State Supreme Court, Trump attorney Chris Kise argued that the move was unnecessary and could hamper the operations of the company.
“It’s really about taking control of a successful business,” Kise said of the monitor’s request.
Kevin Wallace, a lawyer with the attorney general’s office, said: ‘Our goal is not to impact the day-to-day operations’ of the company, but to ‘monitor’.
He said the office was trying to protect itself against “ongoing fraudulent or deceptive activity” and that “the Trump Organization has a consistent record of failing to comply with court orders. It shouldn’t be on the court or the prosecutor general to watch their shoulder.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James asked the judge to take action last month, citing actions taken by the company around the time it filed a $250 million lawsuit against Trump, his three oldest children and the Trump Organization alleging fraudulent business practices in September.
The motion for preliminary injunction said officials from the Trump Organization set up a new company with the same name in Delaware six days before James’ office filed the complaint. The company then filed paperwork to register Trump Organization II LLC in New York on September 21, the same day the civil suit was filed.
James welcomed the judge’s decision in a statement, saying it “will ensure that Donald Trump and his companies cannot prosecute the vast fraud we have uncovered.”
“No amount of lawsuits, delay tactics or threats will stop our pursuit of justice,” she added.
In a highly unusual move on Wednesday night, Trump complaint lodged against James in Florida seeking a court order to prevent him from obtaining financial information involving his trust in Florida, which the attorney general’s office says holds the entities that make up the Trump Organization.
“President Trump is appearing in this court to be protected from James’ continued abuse and his efforts to interfere with, control, access, and publicly expose the terms of his revocable trust in Florida,” the lawsuit argues, saying James’ investigation James on him is a political vendetta.
In a letter to Engoron On Thursday morning, James’ office said the trust documents “relate to the ownership and control of company assets.” The letter said the lawsuit was evidence that Trump was trying to “frustrate” their investigation by hiding documents they should have access to, and said it underscored their need for immediate legal action.
Kise told NBC News that James went too far in the New York case and argued that the institutions the company allegedly misled are sophisticated banks and insurers that have their own accounting procedures.
“The attorney general should not be in charge of policing private transactions between sophisticated commercial parties,” Kise said.
The former president criticized the judge in the case, who found Trump in contempt of court earlier this year for dragging his feet with subpoenas from the attorney general’s office. This temporarily resulted in a fine of $10,000 a day until Engoron found Trump. compliance.
Trump blasted Engoron in a social media post last week, calling him “vicious, biased and mean.”
The hearing took place as the company faces a criminal trial about a block from the audience hall of Engoron. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office accused the company of participating in a 15-year scheme to cheat on taxes by paying certain officials off the books.
In opening statements earlier this week, a company lawyer suggested the scheme was the work of former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, who pleaded guilty and is due to testify against his former employer after the takeover. trial next week.