Judge orders Cushman & Wakefield to comply with Trump subpoenas

Anti-Trump protesters gather outside the New York County Supreme Court in New York, United States, April 25, 2022.

David Dee Delgado | Reuters

A New York judge on Monday ordered commercial real estate services giant Cushman & Wakefield to comply with subpoenas regarding its appraisals of several Trump Organization properties that are under civil investigation by the attorney general’s office. of New York, said a spokesperson for that office.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron’s order came hours after the same judge found former President Donald Trump in contempt of court for failing to comply with another subpoena issued. by Attorney General Letitia James seeking commercial records as part of her investigation.

The judge, a Democrat who was elected to the bench in 2015, said Trump should pay $10,000 a day in penalties for each day he did not turn over the documents. Trump’s lawyer said she would appeal the decision.

“For the second time today, a judge has made it clear that no one is above the law,” James said in a statement. “Cushman & Wakefield’s work for Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization is clearly relevant to our investigation, and we are pleased that it has now been upheld by the court. Our investigation will continue undeterred.”

James’ investigation focuses on allegations that the Trump Organization misreported the true values ​​of several real estate assets when applying for loans and insurance coverage, and on tax filings, in an attempt to obtain more favorable financial conditions.

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James’ office said Monday that Engoron had given Cushman & Wakefield, which had refused to comply with the request for documents, until May 27 to deliver the documents in accordance with its subpoenas.

“Cushman & Wakefield’s work for the Trump Organization is important to our ongoing investigation into Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization’s financial practices,” James said earlier this month.

Cushman & Wakefield did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the Engoron order.

On April 8, the Attorney General filed a motion seeking to compel Cushman & Wakefield to comply with subpoenas related to his work for the Trump Organization.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally to boost Ohio’s Republican candidates ahead of their May 3 primary elections, at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, Ohio, U.S. April 23 2022.

Gaelen Morse | Reuters

His office said the company “refused to comply with subpoenas seeking information related to its valuations of three specific properties owned by Trump – the Seven Springs Estate, Trump National Golf Club, Los Angeles and 40 Wall.” Street – and information about Cushman’s biggest business. relationship with the Trump Organization,” according to A press release.

James’ office also said that with respect to the Seven Springs Estate in Westchester County, NY, and the Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles, “evidence indicates that the Trump Organization submitted appraisals that were fraudulent or misleading conservation easements to the Internal Revenue Service”.

“These appraisals were used to obtain tax deductions and involved appraisals issued by Cushman,” the statement said.

The press release also noted that “Cushman released multiple appraisals of 40 Wall Street in Midtown Manhattan,” including three appraisals issued to “Capital One Bank between 2010 and 2012, assessing the Trump Organization’s interest in in the property between $200 and $220 million.”

Allen Weisselberg (C), former chief financial officer of the Donald Trumps company, arrives to attend the criminal case hearing at Lower Manhattan Criminal Court in New York on July 1, 2021.

Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images

“In 2015, this same Cushman team prepared another valuation of the property for Ladder Capital Finance LLC, this time valuing the building at $550 million,” James’ office said at the time. This assessment was used by the Trump Organization to obtain a loan. »

Jack Weisselberg, the son of Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, works at Ladder Capital. Last year, Allen Weisselberg and the Trump Organization were indicted on criminal charges accusing them of a scheme that, since 2005, sought to avoid taxes on the compensation of the chief financial officer and other executives of the Trump Organization.

Allen Weisselberg and the Trump Organization have pleaded not guilty in the criminal case, which is being prosecuted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

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