August 17, 2022

HELD ACCOUNTABLE: Trump appraisers Cushman & Wakefield cited for contempt in NY civil case

CONTEMPT: Trump's protectors are feeling the heat in the NY Attorney General's probe

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A Manhattan judge has held the real estate firm handling appraisals for Donald Trump’s properties in contempt of court. Starting July 7th, Cushman & Wakefield PLC will be fined $10,000 every day until it complies with subpoenas issued by the New York State Attorney General’s office in its investigation of Donald Trump. After Cushman & Wakefield failed to comply in September 2021 and again in February 2022, Justice Arthur Engoron granted Attorney General Letitia James’ request to force Cushman’s cooperation this past April.

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On Friday, Attorney General James asked the judge for an “enforcement” action, according to Business Insider.  Judge Engoron agreed, writing in his order that the company had “only itself to blame if it chose to treat the looming deadlines cavalierly.” He went on to say:

“As an initial matter, this Court is incredulous as to why Cushman & Wakefield would wait until two days after the Court-ordered deadline had passed to initiate the process of asking for yet another extension. Cushman & Wakefield’s failure to seek an extension in a timely manner is fatal to its motion because Cushman & Wakefield fails to identify any good cause for filing its motion after its time had already lapsed.”

A spokesman for Cushman & Wakefield claims that the company has turned over “hundreds of thousands” of documents and nearly 700 appraisals. In an email to Reuters, the spokesperson said that “Cushman disagrees with any suggestion that the firm has not exercised diligence and good faith in complying with the Court’s order and we will be appealing this decision.”

For over three years, James has led the investigation into whether Trump manipulated real estate valuations for financial gain and whether Cushman & Wakefield participated in the fraudulent miscalculations as the appraiser on record for Trump’s Westchester County Seven Springs property and for 40 Wall Street in Manhattan.

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The latest court ruling is another win for James and another loss for Trump. His suit against the New York Attorney General was dismissed, and Trump, Ivanka, and Don Jr. have been ordered to testify in James’s probe.

After three and a half long years, it looks like Attorney General Letitia James’ hard work – and patience – is about to pay off.

You can read Judge Engoron’s order here.

Original reporting by Laura Italiano at Business Insider.

Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick

Ty Ross

News journalist for Washington Press and Occupy Democrats.

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