Judge orders Cushman & Wakefield to comply with Trump’s subpoenas

Anti-Trump protesters gather outside New York County Supreme Court in New York City, USA, on April 25, 2022.

David Dee Delgado | Reuters

A New York judge on Monday ordered commercial real estate services giant Cushman & Wakefield to comply with lawsuits over its appraisals of several Trump Organization properties, which are being investigated in a civil investigation by the New York Attorney General’s Office, a spokesman for the office said.

The order from Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron came hours after the same judge held former President Donald Trump in contempt of court for failing to comply with another subpoena issued by Attorney General Letitia James to seek business documents as part of his investigation.

The judge, a Democrat elected to the bench in 2015, said Trump would have to pay $ 10,000 a day in fines for each day he failed to hand over the documents. Trump’s lawyer said she would appeal this decision.

“For the second time today, a judge has made it clear that no one is above the law,” James said in a statement. “Cushman & Wakefield’s work for Donald J. Trump and the Trump organization is clearly relevant to our investigation, and we are pleased that it has now been confirmed by the court. Our investigation will continue without deterrence.”

James’ study focuses on allegations that the Trump organization erred in the true value of multiple real estate assets when it applied for loans and insurance coverage and in tax-related applications in an attempt to obtain more favorable economic terms.

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James’ office said Monday that Engoron had given Cushman & Wakefield, which had refused to comply with the document requirement until May 27, to hand over the documents in accordance with her subpoenas.

“Cushman & Wakefield’s work for the Trump organization is essential to our ongoing investigation into Donald J. Trump and the Trump organization’s economic practices,” James said earlier this month.

Cushman & Wakefield did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Engoron’s order.

On April 8, the Attorney General filed a motion to compel Cushman & Wakefield to comply with subpoenas related to their work for the Trump organization.

Former United States President Donald Trump is speaking at a rally to strengthen Ohio Republican candidates ahead of their May 3 primary election at the county’s Fairgrounds in Delaware, Ohio, USA on April 23, 2022.

Gaelen Morse | Reuters

Her office said the company “has refused to comply with subpoenas for information related to its assessments of three specific Trump-owned properties – Seven Springs Estate, Trump National Golf Club, Los Angeles and 40 Wall Street – and information about Cushman’s larger business relative to The Trump organization, “according to a press release.

James’ office also said that with respect to the Seven Springs Estate in Westchester County, New York and the Trump National Golf Club in LA, “evidence suggests that the Trump organization submitted fraudulent or misleading valuations of conservation easements to the Internal Revenue Service.”

“These valuations were used to obtain tax deductions and involved assessments issued by Cushman,” the statement said.

The news release also noted that “Cushman issued several ratings of 40 Wall Street in downtown Manhattan,” including three ratings issued to “Capital One Bank between 2010 and 2012, and valued the Trump organization’s interest in the property between $ 200 million and $ 220 million.”

Allen Weisselberg (C) former US President Donald Trump’s CFO arrives to attend the criminal court hearing at the Criminal Court in Lower Manhattan, New York on July 1, 2021.

Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images

“In 2015, the same Cushman team prepared another appraisal of the property for Ladder Capital Finance LLC, this time, and valued the building at $ 550 million,” James’s office said at the time. That assessment was used by the Trump organization to secure a loan. “

Jack Weisselberg, son of Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg, works at Ladder Capital. Allen Weisselberg and the Trump organization were indicted last year on criminal charges, accusing them of a scheme that since 2005 had sought to avoid tax on compensation to the CFO and other leaders of the Trump organization.

Allen Weisselberg and the Trump organization have pleaded not guilty to the criminal case, which is being prosecuted by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

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