Judge bars Trump Organization from transferring assets and appoints independent monitor for company

The ruling means Mr Trump and his companies will have to provide the court-appointed monitor with 30 days prior notice before ‘any planned or anticipated restructuring of the Trump Organization’

Andrew Feinberg
Washington, DC
Thursday 03 November 2022 21:11 GMT
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The New York State judge overseeing Attorney General Letitia James’ fraud lawsuit against former president Donald Trump, his family, and his eponymous real estate and licensing company has issued an order barring the transfer of any of the ex-president’s or his company’s assets without notifying the court and the attorney general’s office.

New York County Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron on Thursday also granted Ms James’ request for an independent monitor to oversee compliance with his order, to be chosen from a list of recommendations made by Ms James and the Trump Organization.

The judge said a preliminary injunction is warranted “to ensure that defendants do not dissipate their assets or transfer them out of this jurisdiction”.

“OAG seeks to enjoin defendants from transferring any material asset to a non-party affiliate or otherwise disposing of material assets absent approval of this Court. In the event that defendants believe they have a legitimate reason to do so, they may apply to this Court for permission,” he wrote.

“In the absence of an injunction, and given defendants' demonstrated propensity to engage in persistent fraud, failure to grant such an injunction could result in extreme prejudice to the people of New York. Further, the relief sought is appropriately tailored to curbing unlawful conduct and ensuring that funds are available for potential disgorgement at the conclusion of this case”.

The ruling means Mr Trump and his companies will have to provide the court-appointed monitor with 30 days prior notice before “any planned or anticipated restructuring of the Trump Organization, its subsidiaries, and all other affiliates, or of any plans for disposing or refinancing of significant Trump Organization assets, or disposing significant liquidity”.

Mr Trump and his co-defendants were also ordered to provide the monitor with a “full and accurate description of the structure and liquid and illiquid holdings and assets of the Trump Organization, its subsidiaries, and all other affiliates” within the next two weeks.

In his 11-page opinion and order, Mr Engoron wrote that the naming of such a monitor was “the most prudent and narrowly-tailored mechanism” to prevent any “further fraud or illegality” while Ms James lawsuit is pending, particularly given what he described as “given the persistent misrepresentations throughout every one of Mr. Trump's [Statements of Financial Condition] between 2011 and 2021”.

In September, Ms James filed the $250m lawsuit against Mr Trump, his three eldest adult children and a host of companies, organisations and persons associated with his eponymous real estate and licensing business, following a three-year civil investigation into allegations of fraud.

The New York attorney general alleged the former president and his business empire falsely inflated the value of his net worth by billions of dollars in an effort to gain tax benefits and other benefits from insurers and financial institutions.

In a statement, Ms James said the judge’s decision will “ensure that Donald Trump and his companies cannot continue the extensive fraud that we uncovered and will require the appointment of an independent monitor to oversee compliance at the Trump Organization”.

“No number of lawsuits, delay tactics, or threats will stop our pursuit of justice,” she added.

The court victory for the attorney general comes just a day after Mr Trump claimed to have filed a lawsuit against her to prevent her from obtaining information about the revocable trust that holds most of his assets and accused her of pursuing a “relentless, pernicious, public, and unapologetic crusade” against him.

“Crooked and highly partisan James now thinks it is the business of the State of New York to go after my revocable trust and pry into my private estate plan, only to look for ways to recklessly injure me, my family, my businesses, and my tens of millions of supporters,” he said in a statement released by his political action committee.

Legal experts have said the lawsuit, which was filed in a Florida state court, is frivolous and will most likely be dismissed.

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