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Ivanka’s apartment and Eric’s 500 pleas of the fifth: Inside Letitia James’ damning Trump report

New York’s attorney general said her office had uncovered ‘significant evidence’ of fraud, writes Eric Garcia

Saturday 22 January 2022 13:11 GMT
(Getty Images)

New York State Attorney GeneralLetitia James said in a statement that she had found “significant evidence” that former president Donald Trump and his organisation, along with his children, “falsely and fraudulently valued multiple assets” and manipulated their values in to financial institutions for economic benefit.

Eric Trump reportedly invoked his Fifth Amendment rights five hundred times when investigators from the New York Attorney General’s Office interviewed him in October 2020.

Below are five of the biggest allegations

Eric Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment rights 500 times

The report detailed that when Eric Trump, the former president’s second son and his youngest from his first marriage to Ivana Trump, was examined, he only delivered extended prepared remarks objecting to the investigation and invoking the amendment to the US Constitution that defends against self-incrimination.

Eric Trump says he's getting slammed with subpoenas

“Eric Trump then invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in response to more than 500 questions over six hours,” a supplemental verified petition from the attorney general’s office said.

At the same time, legal counsel for his brother Donald Trump Jr and sister Ivanka Trump participated in the examination.

Taking the fifth once earned the disapproval of his father, who famously said at a 2016 rally in Iowa: “You see the mob takes the fifth. If you’re innocent, why are you taking the fifth amendment?”

Trump overvalued the size and cost of his apartment

In one part of the supplemental verified petition, the attorney general’s office alleged that the valuations of Mr Trump’s triplex apartment in Trump Tower in New York was based on the assertion that it was 30,000 square feet in size and that former Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Alan Weisselberg participated in the 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,” the petition reads.

The petition detailed Mr Trump’s 2015 financial statement which valued his apartment as being worth $327m based on it being 30,000 square feet of space multiplied by a certain price per square foot.

But then in 2017, Mr Trump’s financial statement gave another valuation, this time saying the apartment was worth $116.8m.

The Trump Organization never collected golf club initiation fees

The office of the attorney general alleged that one way Mr Trump’s company inflated his assets was through his golf clubs, particularly Trump National Golf Club Westchester known as Briarcliff. The supplemental petition found that the organisation’s statement of financial condition did not list an individual value of the Westchester club but was grouped together with other properties.

“The result is that a recipient of the financial statement receives a bottom-line figure for all items in that category together — but cannot identify the value assigned to any particular club in that category,” he said.

The attorney general’s office said that in 2011, supporting data documented that the Westchester club was worth $68,703,300, which was broken down into three components.

“First was the value of the initiation fee for 67 unsold memberships totaling $12,775,00,” the report alleged. But while the supporting data spreadsheets said that the club was receiving $150,000 per membership, the Trump Organisation got that value by computing a value with 47 of 67 unsold memberships that were priced higher than that amount, in some cases, “in many instances by $100,000 each.”

Ivanka Trump’s $25 million apartment was offered for far less

The report details that Ivanka Trump, the president’s elder daughter who worked in the administration, rented an apartment at the Trump property on Park Avenue.

“Ms Trump’s rental agreement included an option to purchase the unit for $8,500,000,” the supplemental petition read. But 2011 and 2012 statements of financial condition listed the value of the apartment at $20,820,000, which it said was, “approximately two and a half times as much as the option price, with no disclosure of the existence of the option.”

“For the 2013 Statement of Financial Condition, the unit was valued at $25,000,000 — more than three times the option price, again, with no disclosure of the existence of the option,” the petition alleged.

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