New York AG asks judge to force Cushman & Wakefield to comply with subpoenas in Trump civil case

Letitia James says the Trump Organization inflated the value of real estate.

April 8, 2022, 10:23 PM

The New York Attorney General's Office asked a judge Friday to force Cushman & Wakefield to comply with subpoenas issued in connection with the civil investigation of former President Donald Trump.

The motion to compel followed two subpoenas, one issued this past February and another in September of last year, that sought documents and records associated with several Trump properties: 40 Wall Street, a skyscraper in Manhattan; Seven Springs, an estate in Westchester, New York; and Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles.

Cushman & Wakefield handled the appraisals of those properties, which have come under civil investigation by the attorney general's office over possible manipulation as the Trump Organization sought tax breaks and favorable lending terms.

Trump and The Trump Organization have denied any wrongdoing. ABC News has reached out to both for comment on the attorney general's new request.

Cushman & Wakefield, which has not been accused of any wrongdoing, complied with a subpoena issued early in the investigation, but said the two more recent ones were overly broad and amounted to harassment of the company.

"Cushman & Wakefield's work for the Trump Organization is significant to our ongoing investigation into Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization's financial practices," Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement. "There should be no doubt that information about Cushman's appraisal work for the Trump Organization is relevant to our efforts and that Cushman — like any other party — cannot defy a lawful subpoena because no one is above the law."

In a statement to ABC News, Cushman & Wakefield wrote, "Any suggestion that Cushman & Wakefield has not responded in good faith to the Attorney General’s investigation is fundamentally untrue. The Attorney General’s filings do not accurately depict Cushman & Wakefield’s responses to prior subpoenas and inquiries. We stand behind our appraisers and our work."

PHOTO: In this Jan. 24, 2021, file photo, a pedestrian walks past the Trump Building in New York.
In this Jan. 24, 2021, file photo, a pedestrian walks past the Trump Building in New York.
Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE

The commercial brokerage, which also handled office leasing at several Trump properties, cut ties with Trump after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, saying in a statement at the time, "Cushman & Wakefield has made the decision to no longer do business with The Trump Organization."

The Trump Organization purchased Seven Springs, the 212-acre property in Mount Kisco, New York, in 1995, hoping to develop a golf course and, when that was rejected, luxury homes.

In 2004, the Trump Organization valued the property at $80 million; in 2007 they valued it at $200 million; and by 2012, they valued it at $291 million, based on the contention the property was zoned for nine homes worth a supposed $161 million of profit, the attorney general's office said.

Two separate professional appraisers valued the lots that were supposedly going to be developed at fractions of the prices used in the Trump Statement of Financial Condition, the attorney general's office said.

PHOTO: New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks at a news conference at union 1199 SEIU headquarters on March 21, 2022, in New York City.
New York Attorney General Letitia James speaks at a news conference at union 1199 SEIU headquarters on March 21, 2022, in New York City.
Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images, FILE

The attorney general's office has also raised questions about the true value of the Trump leasehold interest in 40 Wall Street. Outside appraisals conducted by Cushman & Wakefield in 2010-2012 for Capital One, which held a $160 million mortgage on the building, valued the Trump Organization's interest in the property between $200 million and $220 million.

During the same period, according to the attorney general's office, Trump's financial statements represented that 40 Wall Street had a valuation of $601.8 million in 2010, $524.7 million in 2011, $527.2 million in 2012 and $530.7 million in 2013. Those values were between two and three times as much as recorded in the three consecutive appraisals.

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