New York state Attorney General Letitia James (D) has rejected a settlement offer from Donald Trump’s legal team amid her ongoing civil investigation of financial practices at the Trump family business. James’s rejection brings the matter closer to a potential lawsuit and trial.
The investigation is civil rather than criminal in nature, so potential criminal charges aren’t looming. At trial, the Trump company could end up with an array of penalties, including fines, if James proves any claims of fraud she may bring. The investigation James is leading focuses on issues including the valuations of various Trump company properties — valuations that evidence indicates were misleadingly formulated, setting up the ex-president’s business for obtaining unearned financial benefits like tax breaks and favorable loan terms. According to sources for The New York Times, James is also considering naming one of the former president’s adult children in litigation. She already heard from Eric, Don Jr., and Ivanka, although Eric invoked his Constitutional right against self-incrimination over 500 times. Donald Jr. and Ivanka were more forthcoming, according to available information. Trump himself also sat for testimony, however — and he also invoked the Fifth Amendment hundreds of times.
Per info reported in the Times, there’s simply “no indication that a settlement will materialize anytime soon.” Besides financial penalties, other potential consequences for the Trump company if James is successful at a possible trial include limits on operations in New York, although she already indicated she is inclined against seeking the company’s compete dissolution in court. Specifically, the Times notes forcing the Trump company to give up some of its real estate holdings could be among the outcomes at trial, although it’s unclear whether the attorney general will seek that consequence. An array of specific Trump properties already figured in stated concerns about the Trump company’s valuations of its assets. Conservation easements at a southern California Trump golf course and a property north of New York City were pinned at higher-than-appropriate values to tax authorities, letting the Trump company get an unearned break on their taxes, per evidence James previously outlined.
“As outlined in a January 2022 filing by OAG, evidence indicates that the Trump Organization submitted fraudulent or misleading valuations of conservation easements to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), specifically related to Seven Springs (in Westchester County, NY) and Trump National Golf Club, Los Angeles (in Los Angeles County, CA). Those valuations were used to obtain tax deductions,” a release said. (OAG refers to James’s office.) Separately, Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, whose office is leading a criminal investigation that culminated in part with charges against the longtime chief financial officer at the Trump Organization and the company, recently indicated his probe into Trump continues. Bragg’s team said the investigation was still moving forward in a release summarizing recent developments on the occasion of a guilty plea in the Manhattan probe from Allen Weisselberg, the longtime executive. Weisselberg admitted to 15 felonies involving a range of financial misconduct centered on obscuring high-dollar benefits.