Trump Org forms Delaware company, and AG suspects asset shelter
Letitia James’ office seeks injunction to keep firm’s money in New York
By: Keith Larsen
Tish James and Donald Trump (Illustration by The Real Deal; Getty)
Days before New York’s attorney general filed a lawsuit accusing the Trump Organization of fraud, the firm incorporated a new company.
The entity, Trump Organization II, was similar in name to former President Donald Trump’s family business, but had one key difference: Trump Organization II was registered in Delaware, not New York.
Now Attorney General Letitia James’ office is raising concerns that the entity was created so the Trumps could move holdings out-of-state, safe from any judgment won by New York. The creation of the Delaware entity was revealed in a motion filed by attorneys for James’ office Thursday seeking an injunction to prevent the Trump Organization from transferring assets.
In court filings, lawyers for the attorney general claim the Trump Organization has refused to provide assurances that it will not seek to shift assets elsewhere to avoid legal accountability.
“Since we filed this sweeping lawsuit last month, Donald Trump and the Trump Organization have continued those same fraudulent practices and taken measures to evade responsibility,” James said in a statement.
James’ office wants the court to install a monitor to oversee the Trump Organization’s statements to lenders or insurers — the source of the fraud alleged by the lawsuit — until the case goes to trial.
The attorney general filed the civil suit against Donald Trump, the Trump Organization and three of the former president’s adult children in late September. James alleges Trump and his organization inflated property values to secure more favorable loans or larger tax deductions.
The lawsuit alleges more than 200 instances of fraud over a 10-year period, including inflated property values at 40 Wall Street and Trump Tower.
The Trump Organization did not return a request for comment.
In a statement to the New York Times, Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba said the motion was filed as a way to keep the case in front of judge Arthur Engoron, who had overseen previous issues between Trump’s lawyers and James’s office.
“We have repeatedly provided assurance, in writing, that the Trump Organization has no intention of doing anything improper,” Habba told the Times.