Trump’s golf club in Jupiter named in business fraud lawsuit
Multiple properties are named in a new 222-page lawsuit against former President Donald Trump and his company, alleging wide-scale business fraud.
New York Attorney General Letitia James said Wednesday that the lawsuit comes following a three-year investigation involving interviews with more than 65 witnesses and a review of millions of pages of documents produced by defendants and others.
James, a Democrat, said Trump "grossly inflated" his personal net worth by billions of dollars.
Among the multiple assets named in the complaint include Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, which is named 11 times in the complaint. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate on Palm Beach was also named 53 times in the complain
READ: NY attorney general sues Donald Trump and his company
The lawsuit said that the former president and his organization inappropriately valued his Jupiter property after he purchased it in 2012.
"For the period 2013 to 2020, Mr. Trump's golf course in Jupiter, Florida, was valued using a fixed-asset approach even though that was not an acceptable method for valuing an operating golf course," the lawsuit said. "The bulk of the value in that fixed-asset approach was based on the use of an inflated purchase price from the purported assumption of "refundable" membership liabilities."
James said the Trump Organization, through the entity Jupiter Golf Club LLC, purchased Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter for $5 million in cash in November 2012.
"Less than a year later, Mr. Trump valued the same property at $62 million on the 2013 Statement of Financial Condition," according to the lawsuit. "That inflation represented a markup of 1,100%. Indeed, for every year from 2013 to 2020, virtually all of the value attributed to Jupiter was fraudulently overstated due to several deceptive methods and assumptions."
James said the Trump Organization overstated the value of his Jupiter golf club by employing the "fixed-assets scheme" and so-called "brand premium scheme."
The suit claims that the Trump Organization assumed liability for the refundable membership deposits of the club's members, which had a face value of $41 million. Trump treated that $41 million as if it was debt that it purchased with the club, James said.
The lawsuit called it a "membership deposit scheme."
The terms of the "refundable" membership agreements provided that only members who remain in good standing for 30 years are eligible to obtain a full refund of their membership deposits. So, these refunds would not need to be paid out for decades in the future, if at all.
By adding the "Trump brand" the value of the property was inflated an additional 30% from 2011 through 2014 and 15% from 2015 through 2020, the suit said. However, statements by the organization did not acknowledge that any of the valuations included a brand premium.
The former president posted on his social media platform, Truth Social, that James should direct her attention to fighting violent crime in New York, calling her a "failed A.G."
The Trump Organization released the following statement regarding the lawsuit:
"Today's filing represents the culmination of nearly three years of persistent, targeted, unethical political harassment by the New York State Attorney General, Letitia James.
While the job of the Attorney General is to protect the interests of the public, today's filing, for the first time in the history of the Attorney General's office, seeks to protect the interests of large, sophisticated Wall Street banks.
However, not only was no bank harmed—actually, they profited handsomely — to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars in interest and fees — and never once took issue with any of the loans in question – all of which are either current or have been paid off (in many cases early).
All the while New York continues to decline, with rising violent crime rates the likes of which have not been seen in decades. In New York City alone, overall crime is up by an alarming 30% from last year – highlighted by a 40.6% increase in grand larceny, a 37.2% increase in robbery and a 25.6% rise in burglary.
Despite this disturbing trend, Attorney General James has decidedly put her own political ambitions ahead of the safety of New Yorkers, by choosing to undermine her oath and turn a blind eye to her ethical obligations by making the primary focus of her tenure as attorney general going after President Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization.
What an abhorrent abuse of power, waste of valuable resources and tens of millions of taxpayer dollars. As we all know, today's filing has nothing to with the facts or the law.
Instead, it is about politics, pure and simple. Indeed, targeting Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization is exactly what Attorney General James said she would do while running for office. Promising to "definitely sue him" and be "a real pain in the ass," she recklessly exclaimed that "the days of Donald Trump are coming to an end."
Of course, at the time she made these and other statements, Letitia James had not even been elected, had no knowledge of the facts and had not a shred of evidence to support her contentions.
Three years later, with election day less than 50 days away, Attorney General James, who is down in the polls, is at it again — filing this lawsuit at the eleventh hour in a desperate attempt to pander to voters.
An attorney general is supposed to be fair, impartial and unbiased — not weaponize their office to pursue a political vendetta or target their political opponents.
Today's filing by Attorney General James sets a dangerous precedent — not just in New York, but for our entire nation. The good people of New York should be disgusted."
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