Trump assets: New York attorney general takes initial step to prepare for asset seizure
Trump assets: New York attorney general takes initial step to prepare for asset seizure


The New York attorney general’s office has filed lawsuits in Westchester County, the first indication that the state is preparing to try to seize Donald Trump’s golf course and private estate north of Manhattan, known as Seven Springs.

State attorneys entered the judgments at the Westchester County Clerk’s Office on March 6, just one week after Judge Arthur Engoron formally made his $464 million judgment against Trump, his sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump and the Trump Organization.

The ruling against Trump, and the difficulty the former president is having securing bail while he appeals the conviction, hits directly at Trump’s image as a billionaire as he tries to raise more money for both his legal bills and a third bid for the White House .

Entering a judgment would be the first step a creditor would take to try to recover their property. If the asset is to be seized, additional steps will follow, such as placing an asset lien or moving foreclosure, or taking other court action.

The court order has already taken effect in New York City, where Trump’s properties are located, including Trump Tower, his Trump Tower penthouse, 40 Wall Street, his hotel near Central Park and numerous apartment buildings.

Court rulings have not been entered in Florida counties, including Miami or Palm Beach, where Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property and the Trump National Doral Golf Club and Resort are located, or Cook County, Illinois, where Trump’s hotel in Chicago is located. according to a tape review Thursday by CNN.

Trump now has four days to comply with the sentence or get an appeals court to allow him to post a smaller amount or delay posting the payment until after the appeal.

In a new Truth Social on Thursday, Trump said bringing in the money was “VERY EXPENSIVE” and said there was “no way the bond companies could do that much.”

Johnny Milano/The Washington Post/Getty Images

This September 2020 file photo shows Donald Trump’s Seven Springs estate in Mount Kisco, Westchester County, New York.

The asset seizure process will not be quick or easy. Trump has structured his business by creating limited liability companies for nearly every property or asset — more than 300 in total — that are ultimately controlled by his trust.

“They are complexly organized and he is not on paper the owner and therefore a judgment against him would not be directly enforceable against certain properties. Resolving this will not be easy and it will not be quick,” said Nikos Passas, a professor of criminology and criminal justice at Northeastern University.

“Meanwhile, it can also obtain bank levies and go after bank assets. It can impose liens on properties. There are all kinds of things she can do in an effort to collect,” Passas said.

“All of this completely undermines the brand that he used for the most part to make any kind of money around the world, not just in the United States,” Passas said. “Ultimately, I think this could mean the end of Trump’s business in New York and not only that — it could create problems in other jurisdictions as well.”

Separately, Trump’s lawyers on Thursday rejected several suggestions made by the New York attorney general’s office about how he could post bail.

That includes the idea that Trump could get several insurers to underwrite the bonds, the court ruling said — saying it would still require Trump to post half a billion dollars in cash or stock — money he doesn’t have.

Trump’s legal team argued in the filing that the New York attorney general’s office should not be able to challenge their claims.

If a settlement is not followed, New York Attorney General Letitia James said she would take steps to seize assets.

The attorney general’s office said Wednesday that it is common for large companies to post billion-dollar bonds and suggested that Trump should have posted real estate in court.

“The proposal is both impractical and unfair. The attorney general did not cite New York case law to support this contention. In any event, from a risk perspective, the Attorney General’s proposal for a “court-appointed officer” to “hold real estate” is functionally equivalent to what the Supreme Court has already imposed by requiring a court-appointed monitor to oversee the defendants’ business operations,” Trump’s lawyers wrote.

Trump’s lawyers also said that if they were forced to sell properties in a fire sale, it would cause irreparable harm because they would not be able to get the property back later if they won part of the appeal.

“By requiring commitment of the full amount of the judgment to appeal, the Attorney General and the Supreme Court seek to impose a manifestly unreasonable, unjust, and unconstitutional (under the Federal and New York State Constitution) bond condition,” they wrote.

On Thursday, Engoron expanded the watchdog’s role overseeing the Trump Organization to include broader oversight of the internal financial practices of Trump’s real estate businesses.

Engoron also ordered the Trump Organization to provide the monitor with detailed information about its efforts to obtain bonds to cover convictions.

“The Trump Organization will inform the Observer in advance of all efforts to secure surety bonds, including any requested or required financial disclosures, any information provided in response to such requests, any statements made by the Trump Organization in connection with the securing of such bonds , any personal guarantees made by any of the defendants, and all obligations of the Trump Organization required by the guarantee,” the judge ordered.

Engoron laid out a timeline of certain steps Trump must take within the next month, including giving the monitor, retired Judge Barbara Jones, full access to day-to-day financial operations.

In two months, the judge said, the monitor was ordered to submit a report “outlining her assessment of the Trump Organization’s internal controls and recommending appropriate internal controls for the Trump Organization.”

He also warned Trump that he could order them to implement the watchdog’s recommendations.

Engoron also authorized the monitor to have copies of the Trump Organization’s monthly bank and brokerage statements, to be notified in advance of any transfers over $5 million, to receive information about the creation or termination of business entities and to be informed in advance of any debt financing.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

CNN’s Kate Sullivan contributed to this report.

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