Speed Reads

Size Matters

Trump told banks his 11,000-square-foot Trump Tower triplex was triple that size, New York AG says

New York Attorney General Letitia James took legal action Tuesday night to compel former President Donald Trump and two of his children, Donald Jr. and Ivanka, to appear for sworn testimony as part of her office's ongoing civil investigation of the Trump Organization's financial dealings. James had subpoenaed Trump in December and Don Jr. and Ivanka earlier in January, and Tuesday's motion was in opposition to attempts by the Trumps to quash those subpoenas

"Thus far in our investigation, we have uncovered significant evidence that suggests Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization falsely and fraudulently valued multiple assets and misrepresented those values to financial institutions for economic benefit," James said in a statement. "The Trumps must comply with our lawful subpoenas for documents and testimony because no one in this country can pick and choose if and how the law applies to them."

The office of the attorney general's (OAG) new filings includes several news fraud allegations, including that Ivanka Trump held an option to purchase an apartment in the wildly overvalued Trump Park Avenue building for $8.5 million, though Trump's financial statements valued it as high as $25 million. 

And Trump claimed on multiple financial statements that his gilded Trump Tower triplex, assessed at $127 million, was valued at $327 million, "based on the apartment having 30,000 square feet of space multiplied by a certain price per square foot," the attorney general's office said. "However, the actual size of Mr. Trump's triplex apartment was 10,996 square feet, and documents confirming that fact were signed by Mr. Trump himself in 2012," the report states. "In testimony to OAG, Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg admitted that the value of Mr. Trump's apartment was overstated by 'give or take' $200 million." 

"As the papers filed today make clear," each of the three Trumps "was directly involved in one or more transactions under review," James' press release says. "While OAG has not yet reached a final decision regarding whether this evidence merits legal action, the grounds for pursuing the investigation are self-evident." 

The chances that James eventually pursues legal action are "pretty high," a source familiar with the investigation tells Rolling Stone. "The key thing here is this new information demonstrates that Trump and his family are personally implicated in this fraud." Trump and his lawyers have previously called the attorney general's investigation politically motivated persecution.