New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Wednesday that the state is suing former president Donald Trump and the Trump Organization for fraud, alleging that they enriched themselves through “numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentations.”
Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, Eric Trump, former Trump Organization executives Allen Weisselberg and Jeffrey McConney, and the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust are also named as defendants.
The civil complaint alleges that the defendants falsified business records, issued false financial statements, committed insurance fraud, and engaged in a conspiracy to commit these violations, James said at a news conference on Wednesday.
“Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization repeatedly and persistently manipulated the value of assets to induce banks to lend money to the Trump Organization on more favorable terms than would otherwise have been available to the company, to pay lower taxes, to satisfy continuing loan agreements, and to induce insurance companies to provide insurance coverage for higher limits and at lower premiums,” James said.
The New York attorney general is seeking relief to the tune of at least $250 million that the defendants allegedly obtained through fraud. Her office is also asking that Trump and his children be permanently barred from serving as an officer or director in a corporation registered in New York, for Trump and the Trump Organization to be prohibited from entering into any real estate acquisitions in New York for five years, as well as for the organization’s corporate certificate to be canceled.
Trump has repeatedly denied allegations of financial fraud, and the Trump Organization denied any wrongdoing. The former president and his family members have dismissed the allegations as politically motivated; as James announced the lawsuit at the news conference on Wednesday, Donald Jr. tweeted, “The bullshit Dem witch-hunt continues!”
“I give no credence to those names that he’s referred to me,” James said when asked about the tweet by a reporter. “Mr. Trump, the Trump Organization, as well as his family, will still have to deal with this complaint. … They will still have to respond to the allegations.”
Trump himself posted a statement on Truth Social on Wednesday afternoon, saying James was “fighting for very powerful and well represented banks and insurance companies, who were fully paid, made a lot of money, and never had a complaint about me.”
This complaint is a culmination of the New York attorney general’s multiyear investigation into the Trump Organization. Earlier this month, the New York Times reported that James, who is running for reelection this fall, rejected a settlement offer from Trump’s lawyers to resolve the probe.
James’s investigation into the former president’s company has been focused on whether the Trump Organization committed financial fraud and misled investors and tax authorities by purposefully manipulating the value of real estate holdings and assets in order to obtain large loans and reduce tax bills.
In a court filing published in January, she wrote that the Trump Organization’s financial statements “misstated objective facts, like the size of Mr. Trump’s Trump Tower Penthouse.”
The document added that the organization also miscategorized assets, failed to use fundamental techniques of valuation, and failed to advise that certain valuation amounts were inflated. “It appears that the valuations in the statements were generally inflated as part of a pattern to suggest that Mr. Trump’s net worth was higher than it otherwise would have appeared,” it reads.
Over the summer, Trump himself testified before a grand jury, but he refused to answer many questions, invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination over and over again during the four-hour deposition.
In addition to this investigation, the Trump Organization is set to go on trial in October for criminal tax charges in Manhattan. Trump is not accused of wrongdoing in the tax case, but financial penalties to the company are possible depending on the outcome. Over the summer, longtime Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg pleaded guilty to fraud and tax evasion charges.
On top of this, the former president’s actions continue to be scrutinized as part of three different criminal investigations. Trump is currently being investigated by authorities in Georgia for potential criminal election interference, and at the federal level, he is being investigated for mishandling classified documents under the Presidential Records Act. The House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol is also examining the role that the former president played in the riot and his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.