When Donald Trump needed to value his Trump Tower apartment for homeowner’s insurance in 2010, he personally showed an appraiser around the unit for 15 minutes but ushered him out before the expert could take any measurements. Trump’s company then declared that the 11,000-square-foot unit measured 30,000 square feet, nearly three times its actual size.
A few years later, expert appraisers told Trump his 70-story office building at 40 Wall Street in Manhattan, steps from the New York Stock Exchange, was worth $260 million. But Trump soon claimed in financial documents that it was worth nearly $530 million, more than doubling its value.
In 2018, while he was president, Trump’s company cited a seasoned New York valuation expert to claim in its financial statements that Niketown, a luxury retail store adjoining Manhattan’s Trump Tower that has since closed, was worth $445 million. The expert later told investigators he’d provided no such input and Trump’s process to arrive at the figure didn’t “make any sense.”
Those details are drawn from thousands of pages of court documents prepared by New York Attorney General Letitia James as evidence in the fraud case she has filed against Trump. The documents show how accounting, banking and real estate experts repeatedly informed Trump how much his properties and businesses were really worth. But over and over again, the documents reveal that Trump, his adult sons and top executives allegedly ignored or sidelined those experts, exchanging their figures for numbers from another source: Trump’s own intuition. [Continue reading…]