In a sweeping ruling on Tuesday that hinders former President Donald Trump’s ability to do business in the state of New York, a Democrat judge relied on an appraisal of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home that valued the sprawling 17-acre Florida compound at a small fraction of what it’s worth compared to neighboring Palm Beach properties.
Arthur F. Engoron, a justice of the New York County Supreme Court for civil cases in the 1st Judicial District, used the suspiciously low figure to conclude that Trump’s substantially higher self-reported appraisal was a fraudulent inflation of the property’s value.
Engoron’s ruling is the latest development in a civil case brought by New York Democrat Attorney General Letitia James last year which alleged Trump, his kids, and the Trump Organization “grossly” inflated their assets in financial statements by billions of dollars.
James claimed Mar-a-Lago was worth closer to $75 million, rather than the $739 million Trump disclosed.
Engoron, however, further devalued Mar-a-Lago by using the Palm Beach County Assessor’s appraisal, which nailed the property value between $18 million and $27.6 million from 2011-2021. Because Trump granted an easement to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2002 limiting his ability to use the historic property as anything but a social club, his tax rate was significantly lowered.
Far smaller and less lavish properties in the coveted oceanfront area of Palm Beach, however, regularly sell for much higher than the assessor’s appraisal estimate. Rush Limbaugh’s Palm Beach complex on 2.7 acres — one-sixth the size of Trump’s compound — sold this year for $155 million even though the local appraiser reportedly claimed it was worth $51 million.
Even corporate media like Forbes, which issued its own $160 million estimation of the 58-bedroom Mar-A-Lago in 2018, values the Trump property well above what Engoron claimed.
That didn’t matter to Engoron who wrote that financial statements detailing the subjective worth of Trump Organization assets like Trump’s Westchester County golf club, his New York penthouse, and Mar-A-Lago “clearly contain fraudulent valuations that defendants used in business.”
Instead of waiting for a jury to decide Trump’s guilt or innocence, Engoron unilaterally deemed the Republican business owner guilty of overvaluing his real estate empire’s wealth to get better loan and insurance agreements.
To punish Trump for these alleged exaggerations, Engoron granted James’ demands that the Republican’s business certificates in the state of New York be canceled. Within 10 days of his Tuesday order, Engoron expects the “dissolution of the canceled LLCs.” His decision to greenlight an effective takeover of Trump’s businesses has been called a “corporate death penalty” and will hamper Trump’s ability to do business in the Empire State. The former president could also likely lose control of many of his iconic properties including Trump Tower.
Trump rejected the ruling as a “terrible reminder that the Radical Left Democrats will stop at nothing in trying to prevent me, and the American people, from winning the 2024 Presidential Election.”
“The widespread, radical attack against me, my family, and my supporters has now devolved to new, un-American depths, at the hands of a DERANGED New York State Judge, doing the bidding of a completely biased and corrupt ‘Prosecutor,’ Letitia James, who ran for office based on a ‘GET TRUMP’ platform, before even knowing anything about me,” Trump wrote in a statement posted to Truth Social.
To punish Trump’s lawyers, Engoron fined them $7,500 each for repeating “arguments he had previously rejected” against the court’s warning.
“That sum was more than what Ms. James was seeking when she asked the judge to penalize them,” The New York Times noted.
Despite this reprimand, Trump hinted that his lawyers plan to appeal the ruling.
“This is Democrat Political Lawfare, and a Witch Hunt at a level never seen before,” Trump added. “It is an attempt to badly injure the opposing Party’s Leading, by far, Political Candidate. Nothing like this has ever happened in our Country before. My Civil Rights have been violated, and some Appellate Court, whether Federal or State, must reverse this horrible, un-American decision. If they can do this to me, they can do this to YOU!”
The attorneys will also likely ask for an emergency stay of the upcoming trial which will address “anything presented in the parties moving papers that this Court has not ruled upon in this Decision and Order.”
Democrats’ attempts to twist the legal system to hamper Trump’s 2024 chances are not working in their favor. A new poll from ABC News and The Washington Post found that Trump has a 10-point lead over President Joe Biden. A Harvard-Harris poll published in June determined that 56 percent of Americans believe the Trump indictments as “interference by the Department of Justice in the 2024 election” instead of a “fair application of the law.”