In a shock decision, a New York judge found former President Donald Trump guilty of fraud, casting shadows over the future of his business ventures. Unless the ruling is overturned on appeal, the Trump Organization would lose its business licenses in New York, barring Trump, now 77, from any commercial endeavors in the state until the decision’s effects are reversed.
Trump is also now at risk of losing control of his various New York properties, including his longtime residence at Trump Tower. According to Yahoo Finance:
Here are some of the properties cited in Engoron’s order:
Trump Tower “Triplex”
The judge said Trump engaged in fraud by repeatedly claiming that his 10,996 square foot penthouse apartment in Manhattan was nearly three times bigger than that in reality, even after the Trump Organization was put on notice by a magazine reporter that the value was inflated. Trump’s annual statements of financial condition used the false square footage to inflate his net worth by as much as $207 million. In 2012, when Trump valued the penthouse at a “staggering” $180 million, no apartment sold in New York City had “ever approached” that price, the judge said.
“A discrepancy of this order of magnitude, by a real estate developer sizing up his own living space of decades, can only be considered fraud,” Engoron said.
Diving into the heart of the matter, the Manhattan court found that Trump lied about his financial stature to gain better bank deals, which ultimately lead him to become famous and even more wealthy.
Here’s what legal experts are saying about the ruling:
“The decision today is a final decision that fraud is proven. The judge made this decision on the basis of Trump’s own documents. The evidence is Trump’s own documentation. These are indisputable facts — the case is based entirely on the documents his lenders and his insurance companies produced.” – Andrew P. Napolitano, a former New Jersey Superior Court judge.
“It’s a devastating ruling. If the decision is upheld, they have to liquidate the LLCs which actually hold the enormous bulk of the assets.” – Bill Black, scholar at the University of Minnesota Law School.
Looking ahead to 2024, this development could be a stumbling block for the GOP front-runner’s presidential aspirations. Not only is there a potential $250 million penalty championed by NY Attorney General Letitia James looming over his head, but Trump’s liquidity – or lack thereof – is also under scrutiny.
Insiders hint that the mogul might have to liquidate some assets to settle the hefty legal bill. Interestingly, they speculate it’s Trump’s pride, rather than his pocketbook, that might take the brunt of the hit.