Trump’s Three Children Set to Testify in His NY Fraud Trial

user avatar Author: Editors Desk Source: Bloomberg
November 1, 2023 at 07:01
Donald Jr., Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump testifying in coming days
Donald Trump Jr., left, Ivanka Trump, center, and Eric Trump.Photographer: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
Donald Trump Jr., left, Ivanka Trump, center, and Eric Trump.Photographer: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Three of Donald Trump’s children who helped run his sprawling real estate company for years will testify over the next week in their father’s civil fraud trial — a rare look at the fiercely loyal siblings under oath.

Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, who are also defendants in the suit brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James, are set to testify Wednesday and Thursday. Ivanka Trump, who won dismissal from the suit by an appeals court, will take the stand Nov. 8 after being subpoenaed by state. Trump himself will testify Monday.

James alleges all three Trump children were central figures in a scheme to inflate the former president’s assets by as much as $3.6 billion a year to get better terms on loans and insurance policies. The alleged deception helped Trump reap $250 million in “illegal profits” from 2011 to 2021, according to the state.

The siblings are expected to be questioned for hours about what role they played, if any, in the preparation of Trump’s annual statements of financial condition — the documents at the center of the case.

The judge overseeing the trial has already held Trump and his sons liable for fraud. The trial will resolve the remaining claims as well as penalties, including whether to permanently ban the Trumps from serving as directors or officers of any New York-based company.

Here’s what they may be asked about under oath.

Donald Trump Jr.

Trump’s eldest son oversees an extensive real estate portfolio and serves as the sole Trustee of the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust. According to the complaint, he is “involved in all aspects of the company’s property development, from deal evaluation, analysis and pre-development planning to construction, branding, marketing, operations, sales and leasing.” He may be asked about:

  • His role in calculating the value of Trump Park Avenue, which the state alleges was inflated by hundreds of millions of dollars in part by ignoring the fact that many units were rent stabilized. Donald Trump Jr. was aware of the rent stabilization, testifying in his deposition that such tenants were the “the bane of [his] existence for quite some time,” according to the suit.
  • The decision to include as cash or cash equivalents in Trump’s financial statement the former president’s Vornado Partnership Interests, when he only had a 30% minority stake in the partnership and knew he couldn’t access the cash at any time.
  • The inflated valuation of Trump’s three-story Trump Tower penthouse, known as Triplex apartment. The suit says Donald Trump Jr. was made aware by Forbes magazine in March 2017 that his father had falsely claimed the apartment was nearly three times its actual size in the 2016 statement of financial condition, which valued it at $327 million. Donald Trump Jr. nevertheless represented to Trump’s accounting firm Mazars in 2017 that the annual statement of financial condition was accurate and sent it to Deutsche Bank.

Eric Trump

Eric Trump took over the running of Trump Organization along with his older brother in 2017, after their father was elected president. New York alleges Trump’s second son was a “chief decision maker” from 2016 through 2021, responsible for new project acquisition, development and construction. The state also says he “actively spearheaded” the growth of Trump Golf, including the addition of 13 golf properties since 2006. He may be asked about:

  • His role in allegedly inflating asset values on financial statements for the Trump property known as Seven Springs in Westchester County. The state says he claimed the company had approval to build seven mansions for $35 million a piece that were “ready to sell,” even though such developments were prohibited by local officials and none were ever built.
  • His role in appraisals, which he denied during his May 7 deposition. “I pour concrete. I operate properties. I don’t focus on appraisals between a law firm and Cushman.” His claims were undercut by David McArdle, a senior managing director at Cushman & Wakefield, who spent most of his testimony in the trial last week reviewing numerous emails Eric Trump exchanged with him and a lawyer discussing the valuation of Seven Springs.

Ivanka Trump

Trump’s eldest daughter was executive vice president for development and acquisitions of the Trump Organization until 2017. Her responsibilities included securing leases and financing, including by negotiating with the US government to secure the lease for the Old Post Office site that became Trump’s luxury hotel in Washington, DC. According to the complaint, she “directed all areas of the company’s real estate and hotel management platforms.” She may be asked about:

  • What, if anything, she knew about the alleged exaggerations on her father’s annual statements of financial condition when she submitted the documents to Deutsche Bank to secure loans, including in 2011 when the lender helped Trump buy the Doral golf club.
  • What she knew about the valuation of Trump Park Avenue, where she rented a penthouse apartment starting in 2011. Her father’s annual statement of financial condition valued the unit at $20.8 million despite Ivanka Trump having been granted an option to purchase it for $8.5 million, according to the suit. The option was never disclosed, the state claims.

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