On Wednesday, September 21, 2022, New York’s Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against former President Donald Trump and his company because of business fraud involving properties in Manhattan, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. James said Trump “falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars.”
Three of Trump’s adult children, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric Trump, were also named as defendants, along with two longtime company executives, Allen Weisselberg and Jeffrey McConney.
James' investigation uncovered potential criminal violations, including falsifying business records, issuing false financial statements, insurance fraud, conspiracy, and bank fraud. Her office is referring those findings to federal prosecutors and the Internal Revenue Service.
The case showed up on a court docket Wednesday morning. That was also the day details of the lawsuit were announced at a news conference. The lawsuit filed in state court in New York is the result of the three-year civil investigation of Trump and the Trump Organization.
In the more than 200-page lawsuit, Attorney General Letitia James alleges the fraud involves all areas of the Trump businesses, including properties and golf courses. It shows that Trump Organization deceived lenders, insurers, and tax authorities by inflating the value of his properties using misleading appraisals.
The lawsuit alleges Trump and the other defendants were involved in fraud lasting more than a decade. The case includes deals Trump made to enrich himself as a real estate developer, as a reality television host on The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice, and later as President of the United States.
What Letitia James is seeking
The 63-year-old New York Attorney General seeks to remove the Trumps from the businesses involved in the alleged fraud. She wants an independent monitor appointed for no less than five years to oversee the Trump Organization’s compliance, financial reporting, valuations, and disclosures to lenders, insurers, and tax authorities.
Additionally, the attorney general is seeking the following things:
- to replace the current trustees of Trump’s revocable trust with independent trustees
- to bar Trump and the Trump Organization from entering into commercial real estate acquisitions for five years
- to keep Trump and the Trump Organization from obtaining loans from banks in New York for five years
- to permanently bar Trump and three of his adult children from serving as an officer or director in any New York corporation or similar business entity registered and/or licensed in New York State
Attorney General James said at the news conference on Wednesday:
"This conduct cannot be brushed aside and dismissed as some sort of good-faith mistake. This investigation revealed that Donald Trump engaged in years of illegal conduct to inflate his net worth, to deceive banks and the people of the great state of New York. Claiming you have money that you do not have does not amount to the art of the deal. It’s the art of the steal.”