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Friday, 03/01/2024 1:12:08 AM

Friday, March 01, 2024 1:12:08 AM

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AG Says Trump Is Sneaking Assets to Florida.

Donald Trump is already trying to dodge the colossal $464 million bank fraud judgment, with the former president attempting on Wednesday to appeal the decision without forking over the cash required to challenge the ruling.

But as Trump’s lawyers claim he doesn’t have the money to appeal without selling a building, the New York Attorney General claimed Trump is quietly moving his assets to Florida.

On Wednesday, the top-line news out of Trump’s bank fraud case was that the former president’s lawyers pulled a classic Trumpian business move—trying to avoid the required step of fronting nearly half a billion dollars to stop the AG from seizing the former president’s assets. Instead, his lawyers offered to cut a cheaper deal with an appellate court, proposing to put up $100 million instead.

It’s a hurried attempt to avoid doing what Trump considers the unthinkable: accepting defeat and selling a prized possession in a rush.

“In the absence of a stay on the terms herein outlined, properties would likely need to be sold to raise capital under exigent circumstances, and there would be no way to recover any property sold following a successful appeal and no means to recover the resulting financial losses from the Attorney General,” Trump’s lawyers wrote on Wednesday.

But when the AG raised objections in court documents to the proposal to put up a reduced amount of collateral, Letitia James drew attention to another matter entirely: Trump appears to be trying to move assets out of her reach.

Dennis Fan, a senior assistant solicitor general at the AG’s office, alerted appellate judges at the state’s First Judicial Department that Trump has sneakily relocated business entities from New York to Florida.

“There is substantial risk that defendants will attempt to evade enforcement of the judgment (or make enforcement more difficult) following appeal,” Fan wrote, noting that “after the court issued its February 16 order, defendants announced for the first time that various Trump Organization entities operating in New York are allegedly now located in Florida.”

“As the court recognized earlier in this case, there is unfortunately a distinct need to ‘ensure that defendants do not dissipate their assets or transfer them out of this jurisdiction,’” he continued.

The real estate tycoon operates nearly 500 business entities in a dizzying array of shell companies that own his vast portfolio of buildings, golf courses, and name-brand products.

At least two of those companies that are on the hook for the half-billion dollar fraud judgment—DJT Holdings LLC and DJT Holdings Managing Member LLC—have officially moved south to the Sunshine State. The updated addresses for these shell companies were included in a Feb. 21 letter from Clifford S. Robert, the defense lawyer representing the two Trump sons who partook in the fraud, Don Jr. and Eric Trump, to New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur F. Engoron—the judge who issued the gargantuan order punishing Trump and his top lieutenants for lying to banks.

Robert’s letter notified the judge of what he deemed “errors” in the AG’s court filings, claiming that “several of the addresses for the defendants in the proposed judgment are incorrect.”

However, the AG’s investigators are casting this move as a backdoor disclosure—one that follows with the Trumps’ persistent dishonesty about their business practices. The AG’s office mentioned the latest twist as yet another example of how the Trumps have resisted following the rules, even while the Trump Organization has spent the past year under the scrutiny of a former federal judge that Engoron appointed to monitor the company’s finances to keep it from shifting assets in anticipation of a trial that could empty its bank accounts.

“Even with the independent monitor that they now tout, defendants have already during this action surreptitiously transferred $40 million from their accounts without disclosing the transfer to the monitor, in violation of the supreme court’s orders,” Fan noted.

Government documents show that both of those “DJT” business entities once called New York home. DJT Holdings LLC, for example, listed New York as its place of business on a 2020 tax filing known as a form 1065, which deals with partnership income. Meanwhile, DJT Holdings Managing Member LLC listed New York on its form 1120-s corporate income tax return in 2020.

More recently, Trump specifically noted that both of those business entities had bank account assets and were located in New York on his April 2023 federal government disclosure forms, which he had to submit as a presidential candidate. However, a subsequent update in August didn't list addresses for either of them.

It’s unclear when they would have updated their addresses, but any relocation since 2023 would have taken place after the AG sued the Trumps.

Still, the Trumps’ legal defense team tried to dispel any notion that the family has plans to take off and run—framing that as a preposterous idea, given that the company is currently being monitored by the former federal judge, Barbara Jones.

“There is no discernable risk under the circumstances that appellants will divert assets or take any other steps that would prevent the Attorney General from collecting on any judgment affirmed,” they wrote.

The AG’s office, however, is using this new revelation to make its broader point: that Trump shouldn’t be allowed to avoid paying the $464 million he currently owes—or hit pause on her enforcement of the judgment without fronting a surety bond worth nearly 120 percent of that total while the case makes its way through the higher courts.

Alina Habba, the former president’s personal lawyer, joined Robert in a court filing with the appellate court on Wednesday, complaining about the “staggering” judgment and the whopping $550 million bond they’d be required to pay. They say Judge Engoron’s decision to bar the Trumps from borrowing from any banks regulated in New York make it all the more difficult to find a lender willing to put up the funds required to stay enforcement of the judgment—hence their attempts to cut some sort of deal.

“The exorbitant and punitive amount of the judgment coupled with an unlawful and unconstitutional blanket prohibition on lending transactions would make it impossible to secure and post a complete bond. Appellants nonetheless plan to secure and post a bond in the amount of $100 million,” Habba and Robert wrote.

But the AG doesn’t want the appellate court to give the Trumps a break, saying that would merely make it harder to seize properties down the road.

“Even now, in claiming urgency, defendants have made no efforts to be forthcoming with this court about their specific efforts to obtain a bond, such that this court could properly assess their motion. Absent a full bond or deposit, OAG would be highly prejudiced and forced to expend substantial resources to execute the judgment on defendants’ real property and other assets,” Fan wrote.

This is like Fraud to transfer assets out to avoid their seizure plus avoid detention from the monitor, Barbara Jones.

Trump is a Fraudster plain & simple.
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