Commercial real estate services giant Cushman and Wakefield Wednesday challenged a judge’s order to comply with subpoenas issued by the New York Attorney General’s Office seeking documents related to his appraisals of the former president’s properties Donald Trumpthe company.
Cushman & Wakefield argued that compliance with the citation for tens of thousands of pages of documents would compromise the confidential information of nearly 1,000 of its clients who have no ties to the Trump Organization, or properties that have been examined by Attorney General Letitia. James in his civilian investigation of Trump.
Cushman also filed an affidavit from an independent valuation consultant in court which wrote that documents requested by James’s office “will not provide a reliable basis for valuation or critical appraisals” of Trump properties that are already in the possession of the AG. .
“As we file this appeal out of an obligation to protect our clients’ privacy and preserve the integrity of our client relationships, we wish to continue working with the Attorney General’s Office and hope for a swift and successful conclusion of the investigation,” the company said in a statement.
And the company said, “Cushman’s appraisers have done nothing wrong and Cushman is behind his appraisers and their valuations.”
James is investigating the Trump Organization for claims that the company has illegally manipulated declared valuations of real estate assets to obtain more favorable financial terms in loans, insurance policies and taxes related to those properties.
Last month, the AG’s office said that Cushman had refused to comply with subpoenas for information pertaining to his valuations of three Trump-owned properties – Seven Springs Estate, Trump National Golf Club, Los Angeles and 40. Wall Street – “and information on Cushman’s broader trade relations with the Trump Organization.”
James’s office said evidence shows that the Trump Organization has submitted “fraudulent or misleading information assessments of retention easements to the Internal Revenue Service” relating to the first two of those properties.
And the bureau said Cushman had issued three valuations to Capital One Bank relating to 40 Wall Street in Manhattan that valued that property between $ 200 million and $ 220 million from 2010 to 2012, before issuing a valuation to Ladder Capital Finance. LLC in 2015 which valued the same building at $ 550 million.
The latter valuation was used by the Trump Organization to secure a loan from Ladder Capital, which employs the son of Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of the Trump company.
On April 25, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron ordered Cushman to comply with James’s subpoenas and allowed them until the end of May to deliver the documents.
The order came just hours after Engoron detained Trump personally in contempt of court for failing to comply with another subpoena from James for corporate documents he believed was in his possession.
Engoron on Wednesday overturned that contemptuous finding on the condition that Trump pay James a $ 110,000 fine and provide more information on the searches for documents that trump affirmations he does not have.
Cushman on Wednesday asked Engoron to reconsider his decision to confirm direct subpoenas to the company. Engoron quickly rejected that request, calling it “without merit” and “simply a rehash of issues appropriately decided by this court in a prior opinion”.
Cushman said in court documents related to his appeal Wednesday that his lawyers met virtually last September with officials from James’s office to offer company-prepared assessments for the Trump Organization on Seven Springs, Trump National Golf Club-Los Angeles and 40 Wall Street. In January, Cushman agreed to “confer” with James’s office “to address the issues raised by [the attorney general’s team] during the September meeting.
Cushman also said the Attorney General’s office confirmed in writing that Cushman’s presentation of the Trump-related materials “constituted confidential discussions of the transaction.”
The company said James’s office “broke promises made to Cushman, “ when he asked Engoron to support Cushman’s subpoenas for other documents, including information obtained by Cushman at the January meeting.
“Cushman was promised and expected” that the material would be treated confidentially, the company said in a statement.
A spokesperson for James said in a statement to CNBC: “The court has clearly ruled that Cushman and Wakefield must comply with our subpoenas and provide information relevant to our investigation of Donald Trump and the Trump Organization, and have summarily rejected the they try today to ask for the re-examination of these sentences “.
“Although they have the right to appeal, we have the right to continue this investigation and seek answers,” the spokesman said.