Former President Donald Trump responded to a New York judge’s ruling that he and his company had used fraudulent methods to value his properties for years. Trump focused specifically on the section of the ruling that valued his Mar-a-Lago estate at $18 million, stating that it could be worth 100 times that amount. However, the judge had cited valuations by the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser, which stated that the property was worth between $18 million and $28 million. In fact, in 2020, Trump’s own company agreed with the appraiser’s valuation of $27 million. The judge’s ruling is part of a larger $250 million civil lawsuit filed by the New York Attorney General, which alleges fraud and misrepresentation by Trump and his company.
Mar-a-Lago and other Trump properties are at the center of the civil lawsuit, with allegations of overvaluing the properties by hundreds of millions of dollars to secure bank loans. The judge’s ruling establishes liability for fraud, and the trial will now focus on other allegations in the lawsuit. The original petition challenging Mar-a-Lago’s valuation does not specify whether the club was considered too high or too low in value. Property owners typically contest valuations that they perceive as too high to avoid higher property taxes. Mar-a-Lago’s valuation as a private club is determined through the income approach method used by the county appraiser. Despite Trump’s claims of the property being worth significantly more, experts suggest that deed restrictions can impact a property’s value negatively.
The discrepancy between Trump’s claimed value for Mar-a-Lago and the appraised value has raised eyebrows. Real estate experts usually expect a smaller difference between valuations provided by informed parties. They also highlight the importance of conducting a market analysis rather than relying solely on county appraisals. Factors such as uniqueness and long-term ownership by the current owner can contribute to a large gap between the actual value and the county’s appraisal. While Trump remains adamant about the value of his properties, the judge’s ruling and the ongoing civil lawsuit paint a different picture, alleging fraudulent practices and misrepresentation of his worth.