Donald Trump stands accused of widespread financial fraud — inflating his assets by billions of dollars — in a lawsuit brought against the former president, his children, and his company by state Attorney General Tish James.
Here’s how brazen it was, according to James: Trump claimed that his own triplex apartment, where he lives at Trump Tower, was 30,000 square feet. Actually, it was 11,000 square feet. He claimed it was worth $327 million, three times what it was actually worth. “To this date no apartment in New York City has ever sold for close to that amount,” James said.
That’s just one amongmore than 200 examples of false valuations found on official documents. Trump claimed as his own millions in cash held by the real estate developer Vornado, where he had a minority stake, the AG alleges. He inflated the value of his Mar-a-Lago estate to nearly ten times his actual worth. He jacked up his own net worth in a failed bid to buy the Buffalo Bills.
James asserts that the point of all this lying wasn’t just to burnish Trump’s public image by making him look billions of dollars richer than he actually is — though that’s certainly part of it. According to the suit, Trump profited from the fraud to the tune of $250 million, the same amount James is asking a court to force him to pay up. She is also seeking to bar him and his family members from ever running a business in New York again, and keep them from doing any real estate transactions or getting loans for five years — effectively spelling the end of his business empire.
A long war of words between the state’s top lawyer and the ex-president came to a head as James brought the suit, and it continues. Trump again lashed out at James as “racist” — a claim deployed against a Black prosecutor without evidence or much explanation — and “a fraud” and a “failed A.G.” James dismissed the attacks as “name calling.” Now a judge will determine who gets the last word.
WHERE’S KATHY? Joining President Joe Biden and Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierlusi for a Hurricane Fiona briefing and delivering virtual remarks at the New York State Democratic Party reorganization meeting.
WHERE’S ERIC? Delivering remarks at the Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises Procurement Fair, joining the Hurricane Fiona briefing, co-hosting a reception for the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly and receiving a leadership award at the 20th annual Tuesday’s Children Gala.
A peek inside the Trump real estate in Tish James’ bombshell lawsuit, by POLITICO’s Janaki Chadha and Sally Goldenberg: Triple-counting the square footage of a Manhattan penthouse. Claiming his name alone added 30 percent to the value of a Florida golf club. Valuing a property based on homes that could not be developed. These are among the tricks former President Donald Trump allegedly used to inflate the value of his real estate holdings and obtain hundreds millions of dollars in financial benefits over more than a decade, according to a suit from New York Attorney General Tish James on Wednesday.
5 juiciest takeaways from the Tish James lawsuit against Donald Trump, by POLITICO’s Josh Gerstein and Kyle Cheney: A three-and-a-half year investigation into Donald Trump’s business practices leapt into the headlines Wednesday as New York Attorney General Tish James announced a lawsuit accusing Trump of an “astounding” range of fraud in his real estate empire. One break for Trump: It was only a civil suit and not criminal. However, James is seeking draconian penalties: a five-year ban on Trump buying commercial real estate in New York or applying for loans, and a permanent ban on Trump and his three eldest children being in the leadership of any New York business for the rest of their lives. The case also seeks to force Trump, his kids and business to surrender $250 million she said was obtained through flagrant deceit that extended over a decade.
“Former Trump Adviser Was Not Agent for Emirates, Lawyer Tells Jury,” by The New York Times’ Rebecca David-O’Brien: “A lawyer for Thomas J. Barrack Jr., an informal adviser to former president Donald J. Trump, told jurors Wednesday that accusations that his client was an illegal foreign agent were ‘nothing short of ridiculous’ — and that prosecutors had inflated ‘inconsequential acts’ into a supposed plot in which Mr. Barrack agreed to betray his country. ‘He did things because he wanted to,’ the lawyer, Michael Schachter, said on the first day of Mr. Barrack’s trial in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn on charges that he acted secretly at the direction of the United Arab Emirates. ‘The idea that Tom Barrack was controlled by anybody is nonsense.’”
Adams admin’s departures set off succession battles, by POLITICO’s Sally Goldenberg: Just nine months into his first year in office, Mayor Eric Adams is facing several high-level departures in the upper ranks of his administration — a personnel shakeup that’s touched off behind-the-scenes machinations as people jockey for the coveted roles. The maneuvering is also exposing back-biting and disorganization in the mayor’s intergovernmental affairs division — a situation described by 11 people who work in or with City Hall. The long-running discord complicated the mayor’s budget negotiations with city and state lawmakers this year. Among those being considered to replace chief of staff Frank Carone, who is leaving his post by year’s end, is Camille Joseph Varlack — a partner and COO of boutique law firm Bradford Edwards & Varlack LLP who has done work for the city Department of Education and in state government, according to her online biography.
“Even as more weapons are seized, stabbings soar at New York City jails,” by WNYC’s Matt Katz: “Correction officers confiscated about 5,000 weapons in city jails in fiscal year 2022 — that’s one weapon for every person incarcerated there on any given day, new city data shows. But seizing those weapons has not helped keep people safe, as the number of stabbings and slashings nearly doubled from 2021 and increased fourfold from just four years earlier. In fact, the rate of people seriously injured by other people in custody ballooned 45% from 2021 to 2022. The rate was nine times higher in 2022 than 2018.”
“The NYPD Now Decides What Homeless Encampments Get Swept,” by City Limits’ David Brand
“City Workers’ Union Taken Over by National Parent After Audit Finds Improprieties,” by The City’s Reuven Blau and Claudia Irizarry Aponte: “The union local representing New York City’s public sector clerical workers was placed under administratorship by its international union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), over allegations of financial mismanagement, THE CITY has learned. Local 1549 of District Council 37 announced the local’s day-to-day operations are under the control of the international union ‘effective immediately’ following an audit that revealed ‘serious deficiencies and numerous violations of AFSCME’s Financial Standards Code,’ according to a letter addressed to rank-and-file members dated Sept. 19.”
“Viral Video of Horse Collapse Reignites Debate: Do Carriages Belong?” by The New York Times’ Sarah Maslin Nir: “Horrified onlookers gathered last month around a fallen carriage horse where it had collapsed on a street in Midtown Manhattan. As the horse’s driver frantically tried to rouse it — and police officers sprayed it with hoses to cool it down — the crowd captured the moment with cellphones. Video of the horse, thin and prone on the pavement, has now reignited calls from residents, celebrities and politicians to ban the horse-drawn carriage industry which has existed in New York City for more than 150 years. The Manhattan district attorney is investigating the incident, and a bill before the City Council would replace the carriages with electric versions. Eighty miles north and a world away from Manhattan, the fallen horse, named Ryder, is recuperating at a grassy farm, with a little goat for company. It is a quiet retirement for an animal who may have set in motion the end of a way of life for scores of drivers or — depending on whom you ask — the liberation of nearly 200 of his equine peers.”
Hochul, Zeldin narrow down campaign messages as Election Day looms, by POLITICO’s Anna Gronewold: Gov. Kathy Hochul holds a strong upper hand and warchest that exceeds Rep. Lee Zeldin’s cash by seven to one in her quest to become the first woman elected governor of New York. But as she campaigns, political observers say Hochul would do well to serve another purpose: selling herself. … “She’s tough as nails and smart as hell about politics,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a longtime Democratic strategist who is not currently working for any campaign. He believes there is little question Hochul will win, but the question for her will be: “Where does she win it? If she doesn’t win in a particular way, she loses her ability to govern in a strong capacity and the Legislature could take advantage of it.”
— Hochul accepted an invitation to debate Zeldin on Oct. 25 at Pace University in an event hosted by Spectrum News NY1. “Governor Hochul looks forward to highlighting the clear contrast between her strong record of delivering results and Lee Zeldin’s extreme agenda,” her campaign spokesman Jerrel Harvey said in a statement. The campaign did not promise any additional debates, but “will announce additional public forums and speaking engagements that the governor will participate in ahead of November,” according to the release.
Hochul announces large scale renewable solicitation, by POLITICO’s Marie J. French: Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday a months-delayed procurement for 2,000 megawatts of new onshore, large-scale renewable energy projects to keep the state on track for its 70 percent renewable electricity by 2030 mandate. Hochul announced the latest solicitation administered by NYSERDA at a Climate Week event in Manhattan. “This is going to be another massive job creator,” Hochul said. “This is what gets me fired up as well as we transition from those old smokestack jobs to the clean energy revolution — with many of the same workers.”
— Farms and forest landowners in New York are getting $60 million in federal funding for practices to combat climate change.
“New York Businesses Say Cash Advance Firms Sent Threats and Looted Bank Accounts,” by THE CITY’s George Joseph and Ben Brachfeld: “Girard’s case is one of hundreds churning through New York’s courts thanks to a state law that puts businesses here on an unequal footing with those of others across the country. In 2019, Albany lawmakers banned the use of confessions of judgments in New York courts for out-of-state businesses after a Bloomberg series exposed how they enabled merchant cash advance companies to obtain judgments against borrowers thousands of miles away of failing to make their payments with little to no evidence. But the reform did not stop companies from filing confessions against New York-based businesses like Girard’s.”
#UpstateAmerica: Two septuagenarians took a pass on retirement and opened a Guilderland winery instead.
— Mayor Eric Adams is sounding increasingly critical of congestion pricing.
— Federal labor regulators accused Amazon of singling out union supporters for discipline.
— A detainee who jumped from the city’s jail barge has died.
— Judges in the city are rarely setting bail under $1,000 under the state’s bail reform laws.
— Brooklyn Democratic party chair Rodneyse Bichotte is running for reelection to the post amid a slew of internal controversies.
— Former Gov. Andrew Cuomoignored an invitation to testify at a congressional hearing on coronavirus deaths at nursing homes.
— The MTA picked architects for a $7 billion Penn Station renovation.
— Sex cult NXIVM leader Keith Ranieresays he was punched in prison by another convicted sex trafficker.
— Pawling Town Supervisor James Schmittposted racist memes featuring gorillas on his Facebook page the year before he was elected.
— Leaves in the Adirondacksare up to 40 percent transitioned to rhubarb, cerise, maize, saffron, russet, and tangerine.
— New York health officials launched a website with audio resources for people struggling with long Covid-19.
— SUNY campusesare using $24 million in federal funding to expand mental health and wellness programs.
— Adams said he is open to the possibility of moving Madison Square Garden.
— A Brooklyn man was sentenced to 30 years in prison for stabbing a police officer in the neck and shooting two other cops during George Floyd protests.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Jeffrey Goldberg … CNN’s Gloria Borger (7-0) and Jamie Crawford … Ex-Im Bank Chair Reta Jo Lewis … Sandra Smith of Fox News … Edelman’s Kelsey Cohen … TJ Ducklo … Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. … Amy Chozick … Stephanie Murray … Caroline Pope … Jerald Watson … Helena Zay … Toafa Cattell … Chris Carlson … Meta’s Dara Levy
MAKING MOVES — New York political consultants Amelia Adams and Yvette Buckner, who worked together on the “21 in ’21” campaign to expand female representation in the City Council, have launched consulting firm Adams Buckner Advisors. The company, which focuses on legislative, budgetary and land use issues in New York, also brought on a political operative for the national principal’s union, Gabriel Gallucci, as its managing partner. Adams worked as a top adviser to Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and Buckner, most recently in the private sector, worked for former City Comptroller Bill Thompson. …
…Dipal Shah will be the new chief external affairs officer at Planned Parenthood of Greater New York and executive director of PPGNY Action Fund. He was formerly chief of staff and external affairs at the Center for Court Innovation. …
MEDIAWATCH – Kimberly Chow Sullivan is now senior counsel at CBS News and Stations. She most recently was assistant general counsel at NPR.
WEEKEND WEDDING — Assemblymember Kenny Burgos on Sunday married Emeri Rodriguez at the Queens Botanical Garden. The couple met in high school and have been dating since college.
IN MEMORIAM — “Allan M. Siegal, Influential Watchdog Inside The Times, Dies at 82: As a top editor who was both feared and revered at the newspaper for decades, he left a deep imprint as its arbiter of language, taste, tone and ethics,” by Todd S. Purdum in the NYT
— “John Train, Paris Review Co-Founder and Cold War Operative, Dies at 94: His career, ranging from literature to finance to war, and from France to Afghanistan, seemed to cover every interest and issue of his exalted social class,” by NYT’s Alex Traub
“Three in Five NYCHA Buildings Have Open Doors or Busted Locks,” by The City’s Stephon Johnson: “The review by the Comptroller’s Audit Bureau of 262 New York City Housing Authority developments between Aug. 3 and Sept. 8 and obtained first by THE CITY found that almost three in five buildings, 57.9%, were unsecured — with entry doors that were open, locks that were broken, or both — nearly three times the 23.5% of buildings that were unsecured in 2018. In all, 66% of doors in Brooklyn were unsecured, 63.5% of those in The Bronx, and more than 35% of those in Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island.”
“City Planning Commission approves controversial $2 billion Innovation QNS project in Astoria,” by QNS’ Bill Parry: “The City Planning Commission gave the green light for the massive $2 billion Innovation QNS project in Astoria on Wednesday, Sept. 21. Commissioners voted 10-3 to approve the proposal which would bring 2,800 apartments, 700 of them permanently affordable, as well as space for the arts, community facility space, offices, public green space and more to Astoria.”
“Shelter providers, housing advocates urge mayor remove barriers to housing amid longer shelter stays,” by Gothamist’s Chau Lam: “Homeless families and individuals are staying in city shelters longer – an average of two-and-a-half years, according to new data recently released by the mayor’s office. Meanwhile, the city’s production of affordable housing plunged 45% during the last fiscal year from June 2021 to July 2022, according to the annual Mayor’s Management Report. Housing advocates warn that the combination of the two could be troublesome for the city.”