Attorney General Tish James asked a state court Thursday to freeze the Trump Organization’s New York assets and install an independent monitor in her civil suit targeting the former president and his real estate business.
James alleged last month a years-long scheme to fraudulently overvalue the Trump Organization’s portfolio by billions of dollars. And on Thursday, she warned the state Supreme Court that Trump might be shifting his holdings outside of New York — and the reach of its courts.
“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,” she said in a statement. “Today, we are seeking an immediate stop to these actions because Mr. Trump should not get to play by different rules.”
The allegations are the latest new strand in Trump’s expanding web of legal woes, which stretches nationwide as he tangles with lawsuits and probes related to classified presidential documents in Florida, the ramifications of the Jan. 6 riots in Washington and fallout from his election denial in several states. It also ratchets up an long-running battle between New York’s top lawyer and the ex-president.
In the new court papers, James says Trump incorporated a new “Trump Organization LLC” in Delaware on Sept. 15, then registered the company with New York as “Trump Organization II LLC” on the day her lawsuit was filed on Sept. 21.
James’ suit seeks monetary penalties up to $250 million and an order blocking Trump from real estate transactions in New York for five years — moves that could doom his unraveling empire. But she now says his lawyers won’t assure her that Trump’s not moving assets out of state in advance.
Trump attorney Alina Habba called James’ filing “a thinly-veiled attempt” at keeping the case in front of Justice Arthur Engoron — who previously held Trump in contempt for not complying with an attorney general probe — and out of the state court’s commercial division.
“We have repeatedly provided assurance, in writing, that the Trump Organization has no intention of doing anything improper. This is simply another stunt which Ms. James hopes will aid her failing political campaign,” Habba said in a statement, repeating a common line of attack against James, who is fundraising off her legal fights.
James wants the court to prohibit the Trump Organization from transferring material assets to anyone not a party to her lawsuit, or otherwise disposing of property without the court’s blessing.
She also wants an independent monitor to oversee the company’s forthcoming 2022 financial statements and to ensure he does not employ the same accounting tricks alleged in her complaint last month. For instance, James contended that Trump continues to count $93 million held in a Vornado partnership as his own cash, even though he shouldn’t.
James is asking for an October 2023 trial date.