Updated Aug 31, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Trump inflated his net worth by billions since 2011, N.Y. AG says

Former President Trump in Atlanta, Georgia, on Aug. 14.

Former President Trump in Atlanta, Georgia, on Aug. 14. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Former President Trump and people working for him allegedly fraudulently inflated his net worth by between $812 million to $2.2 billion from 2011 to 2021, New York's attorney general said in unsealed court filings on Wednesday.

Why it matters: James' office has made fraud claims against Trump before, but the filings included new estimates of the total amount that Trump and the other defendants in the civil case misvalued some assets, as well as his overall net worth.

  • The defendants in the suit include Trump, his two elder sons, Don. Jr and Eric Trump, and his business, the Trump Organization.
  • Ivanka Trump, who was originally included in James' suit, was dismissed from it by an appeals court in June.

Driving the news: The allegations emerged in filings requesting a state judge to make a partial summary judgment in the civil case ahead of the trial that's scheduled to begin on Oct. 2.

  • "Based on undisputed evidence, no trial is required for the Court to determine that Defendants presented grossly and materially inflated asset values … repeatedly in business transactions to defraud banks and insurers," the filing states.
  • The filing does not make a request on other allegations in the case, such as accusations of issuing false financial statements and falsifying records, which would be heard at trial.

The other side: Attorneys for Trump and the other defendants filed their own motion, seeking to dismiss the case, per Reuters.

What they're saying: Trump denies any wrongdoing and in his April deposition told James she should "drop" her lawsuit and said his presidential commitments meant his was no longer the ultimate decision-making authority for the Trump Organization, per a transcript of his testimony that was unsealed Wednesday.

  • "My son Eric is much more involved with it than I am," he said. "I think you would have a nuclear war, if I weren't elected."

Between the lines: Many of the overvalued assets were properties Trump owns, the values of which were "grossly inflated," the documents allege.

  • These included the former president's triplex apartment at Trump Tower, his Mar-a-Lago resort and his golf course in Aberdeen, Scotland.
  • Defendants presented grossly and materially inflated asset values in annual financial statements, which were used to defraud banks and insurers and obtain more favorable loan or insurance terms, the filing said.

By the numbers: In one miscalculation, New York officials alleged that the Triplex's value was determined by falsely inflating its size to 30,000 square feet, when in reality it's actually nearly 11,000 square feet.

  • "As a result of this error alone, the value of the Triplex reflected on each [statement of financial condition] from 2012 through 2016 was inflated by roughly $100-$200 million," the filing reads.

The big picture: The court filings were part of the New York state attorney general's office's request for the court to answer whether Trump's financial statements were fraudulent and if the defendants repeatedly used them in business transactions.

  • New York's fraud case is just one of many legal quandaries facing Trump, who has made them a centerpiece of his 2024 presidential campaign, Axios' Erin Doherty reports.

Read the filing, via DocumentCloud:

Go deeper: The legal woes surrounding Trump and his indictment

Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details from the filing, on attorneys' motion for the defendants and the release of the transcript of former President Trump's testimony.

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