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Trump tried to move assets to Florida, NY officials complain in fraud-judgment filing

Laura Italiano   

Trump tried to move assets to Florida, NY officials complain in fraud-judgment filing
  • Trump has promised not to sneak assets out of NY as he appeals his massive civil fraud judgment.
  • But officials say he recently tried to change the addresses for major assets from NY to Florida.

Donald Trump tried — but failed — to switch the addresses of key assets from Trump Tower in New York to Florida, officials with the state attorney general's office said in their latest civil fraud case filing.

Days after losing the 11-week fraud trial, Trump's lawyers "announced for the first time that various entity defendants operating in New York are allegedly now located on a golf club in Florida," state officials complained in the new filing.

The attempted "relocation" effort proves that Trump cannot be believed when he promises his assets would never be "secreted" out of New York, lawyers for state Attorney General Letitia James said.

"Defendants attempted that relocation even as they claim to this Court that those assets 'cannot be summarily disposed of or secreted out of the jurisdiction,'" the attorney general's lawyers wrote, quoting Trump's own past assurances in their new filing, which totals 132 pages.

The filing asks a Manhattan-based appellate court to order Trump to post an appeal bond for the entirety of what he owes New York in fraud penalties.

Under last month's verdict, Trump now owes the state more than $456 million in fraud penalties, a number that rises by $1 million in additional interest every nine days.

Trump has asked the appellate court to let him post a bond covering only a fraction of that massive sum; he promises to pay the full amount later, if he loses on appeal.

State officials now counter that unless he's forced to set the money aside now, in the form of a "full bond," there is "significant risk" that Trump would try to evade paying down the road.

"Absent a full bond or deposit, OAG would be highly prejudiced and likely forced to expend substantial public resources to execute the judgment if it is affirmed on appeal," James' lawyers wrote, using the acronym for Office of Attorney General.

The appellate court may not rule on Trump's request for permission to post a lower bond for several weeks. Given the court's March 18 deadline for written arguments, a decision may come in the midst of Trump's felony hush-money trial, set to begin in Manhattan on March 25 and span some six weeks.

And there could be wider ramifications if state officials continue to find ongoing financial misconduct.

Trump's New York civil trial judge and lawyers for the attorney general's office have said repeatedly that Trump seemingly could not stop committing fraud, even during a four-year state investigation and a resulting lawsuit and trial that revealed a decade of fraudulent financial filings.

If court-imposed monitoring continues to uncover ongoing misconduct, Trump risks additional penalties, including "the restructuring and potential dissolution" of his properties, state Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron warned in his February 15 verdict.

"Corrected" addresses

It was on February 21, five days after the verdict, that Trump's lawyers revealed what they called the "corrected" addresses for six Trump assets that were named as defendants in James' lawsuit.

"Several of the addresses for the Defendants in the proposed Judgment are incorrect," defense lawyer Clifford S. Robert wrote in the letter to Engoron.

One such defendant is The Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust — an umbrella trust that owns 100% of Trump's business empire, also known as the Trump Organization.

The last known business address for this New York-registered trust is Trump Tower in Manhattan, James has said. But the defense lawyer's February 21 letter to Engoron claimed the trust's actual address is 1100 South Ocean Boulevard in West Palm Beach — meaning Mar-a-Lago.

Trump's lawyers also tried to "correct" the addresses for a pair of Trump Organization holding companies that were also defendants in the case.

Like the Trust, the holding companies use Trump Tower as their business address, James has said — despite Trump claiming in the February letter that their "proper" address is the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida.

Similarly, the February letter gave Jupiter golf club addresses for Trump's Miami golf course and for the Trump Old Post Office LLC. This LLC owned the former president's luxury hotel in Washington, DC. These two properties are headquartered at Trump Tower, the AG has said.

Finally, Trump's lawyers claimed the "proper address" for Trump Tower in Chicago — another defendant in the fraud case — is Trump's Jupiter, Florida golf course, rather than Trump Tower in New York.

In his final judgment, dated February 22, the judge uses the Manhattan Trump Tower address for all six of these defendants — not the Florida addresses Trump claimed.

Trump has said in appellate filings that he would have to sell property at a loss in order to post a bond approaching a half-billion dollars. He recently posted a $92 million appeal bond to cover the defamation award he owes writer E. Jean Carroll.

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