New York state sues Trump and family members over widespread fraud
Donald Trump, his family business, and three of his adult children were sued on Wednesday by New York's attorney general, who accused them of overvaluing the former U.S. president's assets and net worth through a decade of lies to banks and insurers.
Attorney General Letitia James filed her civil lawsuit in a New York state court in Manhattan, accusing the Trump Organization of "numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation" in preparing financial statements from 2011 to 2021.
She also said Trump, who has long used his net worth to burnish his image and fame as a successful businessman and politician, inflated his wealth by billions of dollars to help his company obtain favorable financial terms on transactions, including lower interest rates and cheaper insurance coverage.
The 214-page complaint also names Trump's adult children Donald Trump Jr, Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump as defendants, as well as longtime company executives including former Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg.
The lawsuit adds to the many legal problems Trump faces.
These include a criminal probe in Georgia over his efforts to undo the 2020 presidential election, and a federal investigation into his handling of presidential records, prompting an FBI search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate on Aug. 8.
The Trump Organization manages hotels, golf courses and other real estate around the world, and had been under investigation by James for more than three years.
James, a Democrat, said the values of 23 assets had been "grossly and fraudulently inflated," and her office uncovered more than 200 examples of misleading asset valuations.
Those assets included marquee properties such as Mar-a-Lago in Florida and Trump's penthouse apartment atop Manhattan's Trump Tower, James said. The lawsuit seeks to recoup at least $250 million of alleged improper gains.
"Claiming that you have money that you do not have does not amount to the 'art of the deal,' it's the art of the steal," James told a news conference, alluding to Donald Trump's 1987 memoir. She called the "pattern of fraud and deception" used by Trump and the Trump Organization "astounding."
Trump, in a statement posted on Truth Social, called the lawsuit "Another Witch Hunt by a racist Attorney General" who was pursuing the case for political gain.
James is Black and running for reelection in November. Trump has not announced whether he will run for president in 2024, but would likely be a Republican frontrunner.