Donald Trump and his family business have been accused of dramatically overvaluing the former president’s slew of prized assets — including golf courses, hotels and homes — as part of an alleged fraud scheme.
New York Attorney General Letitia James leveled the accusations against Trump in a civil lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday.
The alleged scheme, in part, was intended to boost Trump’s billionaire image and the value of his properties across the world in a bid to deceive banks into giving him favorable loan terms, James said. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.
Here are some of the properties that Trump is accused of inflating, according to the lawsuit:
Trump Tower Triplex
Trump allegedly grossly exaggerated the size of his triplex penthouse in Manhattan’s Trump Tower — resulting in a 400% price increase from 2011 to 2015, the lawsuit claims.
He had claimed in statements of financial condition that the apartment was 30,000 square feet, when it was actually just under 11,000 square feet, according to the suit.
As a result, the apartment was valued in 2015 at $327 million — or $29,738 per square foot. A jump from an apparent value of $80 million in 2011, the lawsuit states.
“That price was absurd given the fact that at that point only one apartment in New York City had ever sold for even $100 million, at a price per square foot of less than $10,000, and that sale was in a newly built, ultra-tall tower,” James said.
“In 30 year-old Trump Tower, the record sale at that time was a mere $16.5 million at a price of less than $4,500 per square foot.”
Trump Park Avenue
The value of Trump’s Lennox Hill building fluctuated between $90.9 million and $350 million from 2011 through 2021, the suit says.
Unsold residential units that were owned by Trump or the Trump Organization accounted for 95% of the total value of the property some years.
The value of those unsold units was also significantly higher than internal valuations used for the real estate company’s business planning — and didn’t factor in that many were rent stabilized, the suit said.
For example, a bank-ordered appraisal in 2010 valued 12 rent-controlled units at a total of $750,000. But 2011 and 2012 statements of financial condition had those rent-stabilized apartments valued at nearly $50 million total.
“The Trump Organization was well aware of the rent-stabilized nature of many units at the property, as any landlord would be,” the lawsuit says.
“The result was a classic “two sets of books” situation: one internal set of records reached one conclusion regarding market value, but the figure presented on Mr. Trump’s Statement was considerably higher.”
Trump’s sprawling estate in Palm Beach, Florida made annual revenues of less than $25 million and should have been valued at $75 million, James says.
Yet, Trump’s company said the private club was worth $739 million, according to the suit.
Mar-a-Lago was valued on the “false premise” that it was unrestricted property and could be developed and sold for residential use — but Trump himself signed deeds donating his residential development rights, which limited the use of the property to a social club, James says.
The value of three of his clubs — Mar-a-Lago, Trump Aberdeen and Trump National Golf Club — was also listed as one figure on statements of financial condition, which James says was intentional so as not to discern the value of each.
“That practice by design allowed Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization to conceal significant swings in the value attributed to individual clubs and changes to the individual methods employed to arrive at those values,” the suit says.
“Those fluctuations were necessary to perpetuate the scheme of inflating Mr. Trump’s net worth during the period 2011 to 2021.”
Trump’s golf course in Aberdeen, Scotland, was valued at $327 million in a 2014 statement of financial condition.
The valuation was based on the Trump Organization’s assertion that 2,500 homes could be developed on the land — when they’d actually only be given zoning approval for less than 1,500 cottages and apartments, according to the suit.
Those 2,500 apartments accounted for 80% — or $267 million — of the total valuation, the suit says.
Trump National Golf Club
Trump bought his golf course in Jupiter, Florida for $5 million back in Dec. 2021 — and a year later valued it at $62 million, the suit says.
Between 2013 and 2020, the suit alleges that all the assets attributed with the Jupiter golf course were inflated using several deceptive methods.
“Mr. Trump claimed to have paid $46 million for the club, consisting of $5 million in cash he actually paid and $41 million in assumed membership liabilities,” James said.
Additionally, the organization said on statements from 2011-2014 that the property was worth 30% more because it was a Trump brand company.
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