Properties at centre of lawsuit

NEW YORK - From his skyscrapers to golf resorts, Mr Donald Trump allegedly manipulated the value of a range of assets that inflated his net worth for years. Here are some of the biggest distortions alleged by Attorney-General Letitia James.


According to Ms James' lawsuit, the Trump Organisation inflated the value of its Fifth Avenue headquarters in New York from 2011 to 2019. For most of those years, Mr Trump's financial team allegedly manipulated an accepted formula for property valuations by inflating the property's net income and using an unusually low capitalisation rate.


The 86ha property outside Manhattan, which Mr Trump purchased in 1995 for US$7.5 million, was, in a 2000 appraisal, estimated at the "as is" value of US$25 million for residential development. From 2011 to 2021, its valuations catapulted, ranging from US$261 million to US$291 million based on the sale of luxury homes net of cost.


This asset relates to two long-term ground leases held by the Trump Organisation since 1995 that comprise retail space previously occupied by Nike.

Mr Trump's 2011 financial statement valued the company's interest in the property at US$263.7 million, based on what the company expected to get from rental activities. But "that representation regarding how the value of Niketown was computed was false and misleading", Ms James said.


The property is included as an asset in Mr Trump's statement of financial condition from 2011 to 2021, with values ranging from almost US$91 million to US$350 million. His 2012 statement allegedly valued rent-stabilised apartments in the building as if they were unrestricted, leading to a nearly US$50 million valuation for those units. An appraisal that properly accounted for those units' status valued them at a total of just US$750,000.


Bank-ordered appraisals for the commercial property in this iconic 1930 Lower Manhattan skyscraper calculated its value at US$200 million in August 2010 and US$220 million in November 2012. But Mr Trump's 2011 financial statement allegedly listed the tower at US$525 million in 2011 and US$531 million in 2013.


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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2022, with the headline Properties at centre of lawsuit. Subscribe