New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron ruled Tuesday that former President Donald Trump, his two adult sons and two other Trump Organization executives committed repeated and persistent fraud by grossly inflating the value of Trump properties, allowing them to obtain dishonestly favorable terms on loans and insurance.
Engoron ordered that many of Trump's New York business licenses be revoked and the companies that own or control of some of his signature properties be placed in receivership and dissolved. If the ruling, in a civil lawsuit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, isn't overturned on appeal, The New York Times reported, it could shut down several Trump business entities in New York, "effectively crushing the company."
The summary judgment means that in an upcoming trial, James won't have to prove that Trump is liable for fraud. Among the "fantasy world" valuations Engoron flagged was Trump's 2,300% markup of Mar-a-Lago.
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With the fraud verdict settled, most of the non-jury trial will concern the damages Trump and his co-defendants will have to pay. James is asking for at least $250 million in penalties and a lifetime ban on the Trumps serving as officers or directors in any New York company.
Tuesday's ruling is "essentially the equivalent of the corporate death penalty for the Trump Organization in New York state," conservative anti-Trump lawyer George Conway told CNN. "No matter what he finds in the damages phase of this trial, the Trump Organization is out of business."
Trump's lawyers, whom Endgoron fined $7,500 apiece for repeating "frivolous" arguments the judge had already rejected, slammed the ruling and vowed to appeal.
Engoron's order specifically affects two properties: 40 Wall Street in lower Manhattan and the Seven Springs estate north of the city. Under receivership, The Associated Press explained, "Trump would lose his authority over whom to hire or fire, whom to rent office space to, and other key decisions."
"However, the full breadth of his ruling remains unclear," CNN added. "Questions remain as to how the receiver would dissolve the properties, if the ruling would impact properties located outside of New York state, including Mar-a-Lago, and if the Trumps could transfer the New York-based assets into a new company located out of state."
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