We should be clear that Trump’s real etsate-related fraud is not marginal:
A year offering no shortage of bad news for Donald Trump outdid itself Tuesday afternoon, with New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron ruling that the former president’s namesake business, the Trump Organization, had repeatedly and fraudulently inflated the value of its real estate properties.
There is undeniably some subjectivity here, with appraised values varying over time and by appraiser. What the judge delineated, though, was a wide divergence between what the Trump Organization had been told by objective reviewers a property was worth and how the property was valued in financial documents.
At times, the valuations were explicitly based on false data, the judge noted, as in the case of Trump’s apartment in Manhattan’s Trump Tower: It was presented as extending over 30,000 square feet when, in reality, the space was only about a third of that size. Applying a price-per-square-foot to that exaggerated size meant a huge, inaccurate increase in presented value.
The most contentious valuation was that applied to Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s home in Florida. It was presented as being worth as much as $612 million in Trump’s financial documents, despite restrictions on how the property could be used. An outside appraisal put the value closer to $28 million.
Trump’s son Eric was incensed, taking to social media Tuesday to claim that the judge was biased against his father and that, actually, Mar-a-Lago was “speculated to be worth well over a billion dollars.” And here, again, we see the gap between what you can say for political or engagement purposes and what you can drop in front of a potential business partner.
And mini-Trump’s lies notwithstanding, it wasn’t the judge responsible for the valuation of Trump’s tacky golf resort:
The Judge isn’t a property assessor; he didn’t “rule” that was the value. He quoted the official appraisal (ranging $18-27 million from 2011-2022) by Florida officials. So Eric’s suggesting they’ve been massively underpaying property taxes. I’m sure that will interest the state. https://t.co/YlQZsJNwKC— Julian Sanchez (@normative) September 27, 2023
But this isn’t a problem, because he is willing to use these properties for money laundering/bribe purposes!
NY judge in ruling on Trump organization fraud case:
"He [Trump] also seems to imply that the numbers cannot be inflated because he could find a 'buyer from Saudi Arabia' to pay any price he suggests." pic.twitter.com/x44imKe3ME— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) September 26, 2023
Hunter Biden’s laptop something something.