Real estate firm held in defiance by New York judge in Trump probe
A A New York judge has held a commercial real estate firm that appraised several Trump Organization properties in contempt for failing to turn over documents related to a civil investigation into former President Donald Trump’s business practices.
Cushman & Wakefield failed to comply with subpoenas issued by New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office and will be fined $10,000 a day until it produces the requested documents, starting Thursday .
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“Cushman & Wakefield have only themselves to blame if they chose to cavalierly deal with impending delays,” Judge Arthur Engoron wrote in a contempt order filed Tuesday.
Engoron acknowledged that subpoenas issued by the attorney general’s office required an “enormous” amount of documentation, although he said an earlier court ruling allowed “subpoenas of this magnitude”.
James defended the latest decision as a victory, saying Cushman & Wakefield’s work for Trump and his organization was “clearly relevant” to the investigation.
“No person or company, no matter how powerful, is above the law,” James said in a statement obtained by the Washington Examiner.
The Attorney General’s Office served Cushman & Wakefield in September 2021 and February 2022. The real estate company only partially responded to subpoenas before informing the Attorney General’s Office that it would not be providing the remaining records in March , Engoron said.
After a series of court appeals, the company was ordered to fully comply with the subpoenas on June 27. The daily fine if the company does not comply must be paid to the Attorney General’s office.
The subpoenaed documents are part of a lengthy civilian investigation by James into the Trump Organization’s business practices. James said in earlier documents that the investigation uncovered evidence that the Trump Organization improperly manipulated its asset valuations for tax and business purposes.
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Trump called the investigation a “witch hunt”, denying any wrongdoing.
The Washington Examiner contacted an attorney representing Cushman & Wakefield for comment.