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New York Attorney General Letitia James revealed how Donald Trump allegedly got to play by different rules than ordinary people. But he had help.
In her press conference announcing a lawsuit against former President Trump, the Trump Organization, executives of the business and three out of four of Trump’s adult children, New York Attorney General Letitia James poetically characterized the massive allegations of fraud as telling “a tale of two justice systems. One for everyday working people and one for the elite, rich and powerful.” On the surface this may seem like the standard statement of a crusading prosecutor seeking to bring down an allegedly corrupt businessman, but it resonates more deeply than that and asks the troubling question of who really helped Trump perpetrate such alleged fraud?
The lawsuit, which requires 220-pages to detail the full alleged scheme, describes the fraud as “staggering,” with assets being over-valued by billions of dollars. For example, Trump’s current residence at Mar-a-Lago was claimed to be worth $739 million dollars but James’ lawsuit alleges the true worth was only $75 million. A group of rent-stabilized apartments were valued at almost $50 million dollars even though an outside expert had considered them to be only worth $750,000. Even the easily measurable square footage of Trump’s penthouse apartment was claimed to be 30,000 square feet when it supposedly measures only 10,000 square feet.
This enormous amount of financial detail that supports the lawsuit was obtained through years of hard-fought legal battles with Trump’s lawyers in New York state trial and appellate courts that included Trump being held in contempt for failing to turn over documents as well as the real estate firm of Cushman Wakefield being held in contempt before it turned over documents.
Cushman Wakefield appraised several of the Trump properties at issue in the lawsuit, including 40 Wall Street in Manhattan, Seven Springs Estate in Westchester County, N.Y., and the Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles.
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