Politics

New York Attorney General Subpoenas Banks Involved in Trump Organization Projects

Published on March 12, 2019 by Athena Pallas

Late last night New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office issued subpoenas to two different banks involved in projects with the Trump Organization, seeking records including loan applications, lines of credit, and mortgages. New York continues to lead the way in investigations of President Trump – this latest development appears to have been motivated by the congressional testimony of former Trump lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen, who testified that Trump had repeatedly misstated the value of his assets to suit his purposes, overstating his net worth when it would help him get a loan or get a higher spot on the Forbes list of the wealthiest people, for instance, and understating the value of his real estate when it would help him get lower property taxes.

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The two banks subpoenaed are Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank. The records from Germany-based Deutsche Bank are related to Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., Trump National Doral in South Florida, Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, as well as Donald Trump’s failed attempt to buy the Buffalo Bills NFL team in 2014. New Jersey-based Investors Bank was subpoenaed for records related to the Trump Park Avenue project. This investigation by Attorney General James’ office is a civil, rather than criminal, matter, much like the suit led by her predecessor Barbara Underwood that let to the closure of Donald Trump’s charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, amid allegations of self-dealing, which Underwood described as part of a “shocking pattern of illegality”. James took office in January, after pledging to “use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well”, according to The Hill. According to NBC News:

New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank late Monday night as part of an inquiry into a set of major Trump Organization projects and Donald Trump’s effort to purchase the NFL’s Buffalo Bills in 2014, a source familiar with the investigation told NBC News…Deutsche Bank has already found itself under the scrutiny of congressional investigators for its relationship with the president. For years, the Germany-based bank was one of the only major financial institutions to do business with Trump. Last year, the bank was examined by New York banking regulators, who ultimately did not take action. The latest inquiry into the president’s business dealings came as a result of congressional testimony provided by Michael Cohen, the president’s former longtime attorney. Late last month, Cohen testified under oath to the House Oversight Committee that Trump inflated the worth of his assets in financial statements and provided Congress with copies of statements he said were sent to Deutsche Bank.

James is also continuing several other investigations of Trump and his businesses and is pressing the suit that led to the closure of the Trump Foundation – that suit seeks $2.8 million in restitution, penalties, and the barring of Donald Trump and his three oldest children from being on the board of any other New York charity. The Trump Foundation’s remaining assets will be disbursed under state supervision.

Featured image by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons.