Judge grants independent monitor to oversee Trump Organization, in major victory for NY AG

A New York judge approved a preliminary injunction and an independent monitor to oversee the Trump Organization in an order that follows several hours of oral argument on Thursday.

The judge chastised Trump’s defense team for failing to submit “one iota of evidence” that would refute the New York attorney general’s claims of “complete display of persistent fraud” within the Trump organization.

In deciding to appoint a Comptroller to oversee parts of former President Donald Trump’s business and grant a preliminary injunction to stop what the Attorney General’s Office described as “ongoing fraudulent activity”, Judge Arthur Engoron ruled. said Trump had a “demonstrated propensity” to engage in fraud. , specifically calling out the overvaluation of Trump’s New York apartment.

Until he moved to Florida, Trump lived in an 11,000 square foot triplex in Trump Tower. Between 2012 and 2016, Trump represented the size of the apartment at 30,000 square feet and valued it at $327 million.

Former Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg testified that the appraisal “overestimated the value of the apartment by plus or minus $200 million,” according to the attorney general’s office.

In this September 21, 2022 file photo, New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks during a press conference regarding former US President Donald Trump and his family’s financial fraud case in New York.

Yuki Iwamura/AFP via Getty Images, FILE

“To the extent that defendants assert that the overstatement of approximately $200 million was unintentional but an unwitting error, such an argument is irrelevant under Executive Law 63(12),” wrote Engoron.

Trump’s lawyer denounced the judge’s decision.

“This unprecedented order effectively takes control of the financial affairs of a highly successful private empire based on nothing more than a gross exaggeration of the standard valuation differences common in complex commercial real estate finance transactions,” said Trump’s attorney, Christopher Kise, in a statement to ABC News. .

“The New York Attorney General has pushed the limits of his authority to set a very dangerous precedent,” he said.

Preliminary injunction prevents Trump from moving assets, so they are available in New York if the state prevails in his $250 million civil lawsuit against the former president and his family.

“In the absence of an injunction and given the defendants’ demonstrated propensity to engage in persistent fraud, failure to grant such an injunction could result in extreme harm to the people of New York,” the statement said. Ordinance of Engoron. “The relief sought is appropriately tailored to curb unlawful behavior and ensure funds are available for potential restitution at the end of this matter.”

As for the independent monitor, the judge said the monitor’s function will be “tightly tailored” to ensure there is no fraud or illegality within the Trump Organization.

The monitor will be chosen later this month after both parties submit candidates. The monitor will oversee the company’s preparation of statements of Trump’s financial condition and ensure that accurate information is provided to lenders and third parties.

During oral argument, Kise said this type of relief should make every commercial real estate developer concerned about what he said was the court’s improper injection into private commercial matters.

On Wednesday, Trump asked a Florida court to protect his revocable trust from New York Attorney General Letitia James.

When he became president, Trump placed his property of the Trump Organization in the revocable trust he is now trying to shield from the attorney general’s lawsuit.

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