NY AG expands civil investigation of Trump Organization

“In an effort to determine whether certain assessments prepared by Cushman were fraudulent or misleading, and whether Cushman himself engaged in fraudulent or deceptive practices in issuing the assessments, (the Attorney General’s office) issued a summons to Cushman. Series issued. Includes the most recent summonses issued in September 2021 and February 2022,” James’s office wrote.

According to the court filing, Cushman has objected to the summons, citing client confidentiality and harassment, among other things.

“Any suggestion that Cushman & Wakefield has not responded in good faith to the Attorney General’s investigation is fundamentally untrue,” a company spokesperson said. “The attorney general’s filing does not accurately portray Cushman and Wakefield’s responses to prior summons and inquiries. We stand behind our assessors and our work.”

James’ office previously alleged that the company’s financial statements contained multiple misstatements. The findings are part of its ongoing civil investigation into the Trump Organization and whether it has deceived borrowers, lenders and tax officials who relied on those statements.
The latest filing comes as James’ office has increased pressure for the subpoena to comply as it approaches the end of the April deadline when a tolling agreement with the Trump Organization expires. It has sought statements with Trump, Donald Trump Jr and Ivanka Trump and a document moved to hold the former president in contempt of civil for failing to comply with the summons.

Trump has called the investigation a politically motivated witch hunt.

According to court filings, Cushman is a well-known appraiser for the Trump Organization, assisting it in appraising several properties, including the Trump National Golf Club in Seven Springs, Los Angeles, and the family complex known as 40 Wall Street. The civil subpoenas are seeking Cushman’s work documents related to those assets and others, payment information to the Trump Organization and a decision to stop working for Trump in January 2021. In addition, officials are seeking information about a Cushman appraiser who went to work. Trump Organization.

Lawyers for the attorney general’s office said Cushman failed to comply with a summons sent in February and that it recently stopped producing documents regarding the September summons. In addition, the attorney general’s office said Cushman instructed four of his employees not to answer questions during the statements, citing privileges.

Cushman regularly provided the Trump Organization with real estate data that the Attorney General’s office said was ultimately used in preparing financial statements. There were “hundreds” of instances when that data, according to the attorney general’s office, was cited “as support for inflated valuations” included in Trump’s financial statements.

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The attorney general’s office noted that Cushman had prepared valuations for 40 Wall Street and was included in two different commercial mortgage-backed securities that differed significantly from earlier valuations. The rest of the information about those loans was edited out in the court filings.

Investigators said they are trying to find out what was requested by Trump, “whether the appraisers were pushed in any way by the client, and whether Cushman’s substantial business with the Trump Organization has led to any affected the assessment or other assessment-related information prepared in any way, or compromised Cushman’s impartiality.”

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