New York’s attorney general is done messing around with the Trumps

A new court filing from Letitia James's office requests testimony from Don Jr. and Ivanka, as well as the former president.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 01: A man impersonating former president Donald Trump pretends he is behin...
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images News/Getty Images

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a new, significant escalation of her ongoing investigation into the alleged widespread criminality permeating former President Donald Trump’s eponymous company, claiming in a press release this week to have uncovered “significant evidence that suggests Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization falsely and fraudulently valued multiple assets and misrepresented those values to financial institutions for economic benefit.”

James’s announcement was published alongside a newly filed court memorandum seeking to compel testimony from the former president, as well as both Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, for whom James issued subpoenas in early December. In the memo, she cites a number of different methods Trump allegedly used to inflate, distort, and obfuscate his properties true values, in order to fraudulently maximize his income while minimizing his expenses. Among those tactics utilized, James claimed Trump’s company:

Misstated objective facts, like the size of Mr. Trump’s Trump Tower penthouse;
Miscategorized assets outside Mr. Trump’s or the Trump Organization’s control as “cash,” thereby overstating his liquidity;
Misstated the process by which Mr. Trump or his associates reached valuations, including deviations from generally accepted accounting principles in ways that the statements did not disclose;
Failed to use fundamental techniques of valuation, like discounting future revenues and expenses to their present value, or choosing as “comparables” only similar properties in order to impute valuations from public sales data;
Misstated the purported involvement of “outside professionals” in reaching the valuations; and
Failed to advise that certain valuation amounts were inflated by an undisclosed amount for brand value.

As James’s office notes in a supplemental filing, Trump’s apparent scheme to inflate his worth was brazen to the point of ridiculousness, including nearly tripling the actual size of the penthouse suite in the former president’s self-titled golden tower (emphasis mine):

With respect to Mr. Trump’s triplex apartment in Trump Tower, [James’s office] has discovered that the valuations of this asset [...] were based on the assertion that the triplex apartment was 30,000 square feet in size. Evidence indicates that Mr. [Allen] Weisselberg and Mr. [Jeff] McConney both participated in such valuations. [...] Further, there is evidence that documents demonstrating that the actual size of Mr. Trump’s triplex apartment was only 10,996 square feet (namely the condominium offering plan and associated amendments for Trump Tower) were easily accessible inside the Trump Organization, were signed by Mr. Trump, and were sent to Mr. Weisselberg in 2012.

Trump has repeatedly complained about James’s investigation — part of a synergetic effort between her office and the Manhattan district attorney’s office — calling it “corrupt” and a “witch hunt” while suing to block the probe.

“The Trumps must comply with our lawful subpoenas for documents and testimony because no one in this country can pick and choose if and how the law applies to them,” James said in her release, seemingly in direct response to Trump’s effort to scuttle the inquiry. “We will not be deterred in our efforts to continue this investigation and ensure that no one is above the law.”