New York AG seeks $370 million fine from Donald Trump, lifetime real estate ban

New York Attorney General Letitia James asked a Manhattan judge on Friday for a bigger $370 million penalty and harsh sanctions against former President Donald Trump and his real-estate business.

In a court filing that followed a tumultuous civil fraud trial in New York City that began in October, James asked Judge Arthur Engoron for a larger fine than initially proposed, a statewide permanent ban for Trump from the commercial real-estate industry, and an at least five-year industry ban for Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr.

James claimed that Trump and his top executives “reaped hundreds of millions of dollars in ill-gotten gains through their unlawful conduct,” in Friday’s filing.

The attorney general’s office previously wanted Trump fined $250 million, among other sanctions.

Engoron ruled before the trial that Trump and some other defendants had engaged in fraud. The purpose of the trial is to determine the punishments, along with six additional claims by James, including conspiracy, insurance fraud and falsifying business records.

Trump has denied the allegations, and called the case against him “baseless.”

If James’s case is proven, it would be a stunning reversal of fortune for Trump in New York, his hometown until recently, which was the jumping-off point for the expansion of his father’s less glamorous apartment business, Trump’s rise as a TV personality and his political career.

Trump is currently the overwhelming favorite to win the Republican nomination for another run at the White House, according to national polls.

On Friday, James, a Democrat, repeated an earlier claim that Trump and other high-level executives at the Trump Organization committed “persistent” and “repeated” business fraud by inflating the former president’s personal wealth over roughly the past decade, including while Trump served as president.

The Trump Organization didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The civil fraud case seeks to show that the value of many of Trump’s prized real estate buildings were inflated between 2011 and 2021, resulting in more favorable terms on real-estate loans than otherwise would have been available.

Property valuations under scrutiny in the case included those on 40 Wall Street, the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago and the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., which was sold at an estimated profit of $100 million in May 2022.

See: Donald Trump tightens grip on landmark Manhattan skyscraper at center of New York court case

Last year, Mazars, the Trump Organization’s longstanding accounting firm, quit, saying its financials from 2011 to 2020 should no longer be relied upon.

The next major step in the case is closing arguments, which are scheduled for Jan. 11.

Also read: Trump’s businesses got $7.8 million from 20 countries when he was president: report

—Mike Murphy contributed

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