A New York state judge has ruled that Donald Trump, his sons, and his business organization are responsible for a “persistent and repeated fraud” involving inflating the value of properties in Manhattan and Florida, as well as golf courses in the US and Scotland. The judge issued sanctions against Trump’s lawyers and suspended the Trump Organization’s business licenses in New York. The case, brought by New York attorney-general Letitia James, is set to go to trial, where a jury will determine further damages and liability for issuing false financial statements and insurance fraud. Trump responded to the ruling by stating that it is a reminder of the Democrats’ attempts to prevent him from winning office again.
The lawsuit, originally filed in 2020, alleges that Trump and his businesses fraudulently inflated the value of assets by over $2 billion in order to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in loans on favorable terms. The attorney-general is seeking $250 million in damages and aims to bar the defendants from holding corporate positions in the state in the future. This ruling deals a blow to Trump’s business empire, adding to the legal troubles he faces as he prepares to potentially run for president again in the next election. The 77-year-old already faces four separate criminal indictments for charges including the retention of classified documents and attempting to subvert the result of the 2020 election.
In his decision, the judge agreed with the attorney-general’s office that assets such as a Park Avenue skyscraper and a Wall Street property were unlawfully inflated. He further ordered the dissolution of several of Trump’s New York businesses, accusing them of spreading false information. Trump’s lawyers, including former solicitor general Christopher Kise, were fined $7,500 each. The judge also dismissed arguments that the banks involved were not defrauded since the loans were fully repaid, stating that the lenders could have made even more profit if the true value of Trump’s collateral had been disclosed.