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Former President Donald Trump and his adult children have been sued by New York Attorney General Letitia James for allegedly dramatically overstating the former president’s net worth – with his real estate portfolio allegedly playing a key role.
The lawsuit was announced by James Monday in Manhattan after a year-long investigation by her office into the Trump Organization. While other defendants are named in the civil suit, his children being sued include Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, and Ivanka Trump.
“For too long, powerful, wealthy people in this country have acted as if the rules don’t apply to them. Donald Trump is among the most egregious examples of this wrongdoing,” James said in a statement.
James claims the program was designed to boost Trump’s image as a successful billionaire around the world and to help convince banks to give him easy lending terms. Trump has called the suit “another witch hunt.”
Here’s a look at five of the properties Trump has been accused of overvaluing:
The Upper East Side building’s value fluctuated between $90.9 million and $350 million between 2011 and 2021, according to the lawsuit.
Unsold condos make up the lion’s share of real estate value. The lawsuit alleges that the Trump Organization publicly reported condo values, which were much higher than the internal figures used in the discussion, which also failed to take into account that many of the units were rent stabilized.
A 2010 independent bank appraisal valued the 12 rent-stabilized units at a total of $750,000, according to the lawsuit. However, statements by the real estate company in 2011 and 2012 valued the units at the market price of nearly $50 million.
The lawsuit accuses Trump of using objectively incorrect numbers to determine the value of that property. It cites the example of Trump’s own triplex apartment in Trump Tower, which was estimated at 30,000 square feet, when in fact it was only 10,996 square feet, the lawsuit alleges.
As a result, the apartment was valued at $327 million, or $29,738 per square foot, in 2015.
“This price was absurd given the fact that at that time only one apartment in New York City had ever sold for even $100 million, at a price per square foot of less than $10,000, and that sale took place in a newly constructed, ultra-high building instead of a tower,” says a press release from the AG office.
In 2015, the most expensive apartment ever sold in Trump Tower cost $16.5 million at $4,500 per square foot.
Trump’s beach resort, which has become his primary residence after the presidency, had annual sales of $25 million and should have been valued at $75 million, James said.
Instead, the company said the club was valued at $739 million, according to the lawsuit.
The valuation was based on the premise that the property was unrestricted and could be developed for any purpose — although in reality Trump himself signed a deed donating his housing rights and limiting use of the land to that of a social club.
The value of all three of Trump’s clubs — Mar-a-Lago, Trump Aberdeen and Trump National Golf Club — were also listed as a combined number in the financial statements, which the lawsuit says was intended to disguise the individual worth of each Association.
Trump Aberdeen in Aberdeen, Scotland was valued at $327 million in a 2014 financial report based on claims that 2,500 homes could be developed on his land.
In fact, according to the lawsuit, the Trump Organization only had planning permission for 1,500 cottages and apartments, many of which could legally only be used for short-term rentals.
According to the AG, these 2,500 accounted for 80 percent of the overall rating.
Trump bought this golf club in Jupiter, Florida for $5 million. Less than a year later, in 2013, he valued the same property at a premium of 1,100 percent to $62 million, the lawsuit alleges.
The lawsuit details the multiple avenues the company allegedly took to increase the club’s value, including Trump’s claim that he paid $46 million for the club by paying $41 million in assumed membership liabilities added the $5 million actually paid and overstated the club’s value by adding 30 percent to its value because it was a Trump-branded club.