Trump’s Unreal Estate

Trump is batting 0.000 in post-presidential lawsuits, including his three most-recent civil lawsuits; two with sexual abuse victim E. Jean Carrol who won a collective judgement of $88.3 million and one brought by NY Attorney General Letitia James who sued him and his two sons for years of fraud in their business dealings with lenders. Trump was ordered to pay a whopping $450 million.

In NY, the loser in a civil lawsuit has the right to appeal but must first put the judgement in escrow to ensure that the prevailing party gets paid in the event you lose the appeal. This can be done with cash although it’s more typically done with an appeal bond secured through a surety company. Typically the appellate pays 20% of the judgement in cash and the surety company fronts the other 80%.

Trump has so far only posted an appeal bond for his first loss in the Carroll case. What’s remarkable about it is that he did it personally with $5 million in cash. Trump’s business history has always been OPM, Other People’s Money. He rarely invests his own money in his own projects. Could it be that his long history of screwing banks and investors has left him with no surety bond company willing to work with a guy who’s also heading into rough legal territory with a likelihood that he could be in prison before his appeal is heard? And could it also be that this self-promoted multi-billionaire isn’t even a billionaire? has 30 days to comply with the judgement in the NY case. Trump’s lawyers requested an extension but it was rejected by Judge Arthur Engoron as being without argument and therefore without merit. He then tried to bargain with an offer of $100M and an IOU for the rest as if the court was a flea market. That will also fail and not just because a Trump IOU is more worthless than his NFTs.

Trump has until March 25, 2024 to come up with $450 million for the NY case plus $86,000/day interest. Then James said that she plans to start collecting with a hint that the she might start with the Trump Building at 40 Wall Street in lower Manhattan.

Some may remember Trump’s statement only days after 9/11 when he bragged that his 40 Wall Street was now the tallest building in downtown Manhattan. Besides the incredible tone-deafness of this comment with smoke still rising from Ground Zero, it wasn’t even true. 70 Pine Street just a block away is and was 25 feet taller.

But the lie didn’t stop there. It was a lie wrapped in a falsehood wrapped in a boast. It turned out that he didn’t even own 40 Wall. Trump bought the ground lease for the building in 1995, however the building at 40 Wall Street has been owned since 1982 by the German Walter J. Hinneberg Family.

The NYC real estate magazine Curbed did a deep drive on what Trump actually owns in NYC now and it’s an eye popper. (It’s a pay site but you can use your browser’s File->New Private/Incognito Window to read it). Contrary to Eric “My daddy…” Trump’s ludicrous assertions that his father built the NYC skyline, Trump actually doesn’t own a single building in NYC and hasn’t for many years.  He owns a couple of ground leases, a handful of unsold condo apartments and the public retail areas of Trump Tower and Trump Hotel. That’s it. He owns none of the buildings with his name on them.

In other words, Letitia James is likely going to need to liquidate more than his NYC holdings to recover the fine in the NYC fraud case.



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