Trump started “Trump Organization II” on same day as fraud lawsuit to dodge accountability: NY AG

Letitia James concerned Trump may try to transfer assets ahead of possible punishment in $250 million fraud case

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published October 14, 2022 9:19AM (EDT)

Donald Trump and Letitia James (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Donald Trump and Letitia James (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

New York Attorney General Letitia James accused former President Donald Trump of forming a new company called "Trump Organization II" in a possible bid to dodge accountability in a lawsuit she brought against him, his company and his family.

James last month filed a lawsuit accusing Trump, three of his adult children and the Trump Organization of a decade-long fraud scheme. The lawsuit alleges more than 200 instances of fraud intended to gain favorable loan terms or reduce tax liabilities and seeks $250 million in penalties and a ban on Trump and his adult children from running any company in the state, among other penalties.

James in a court filing on Thursday revealed that the Trump Organization registered a new company called "Trump Organization II LLC" in Delaware on the same day that she filed the lawsuit.

"Beyond just the continuation of its prior fraud, the Trump Organization now appears to be taking steps to restructure its business to avoid existing responsibilities under New York law," the filing said.

The filing said that Trump's lawyers initially "offered no assurances" that assets would not be transferred to the new company to avoid potential liability in New York. Ahead of the filing, the AG's office said, "counsel did offer to provide assurances and advance notice to address what were described as 'purported concerns,' but again offered no concrete mechanism to either effectuate or enforce that offer."

James asked the court to bar the Trump Organization from transferring any assets and appoint a special monitor to ensure compliance. The filing also asks that the special monitor review "any new financial disclosures made to banks and insurers to ensure they are not fraudulent," James said on Twitter.

The filing requested to serve notice to Trump and his son Eric Trump electronically because "both defendants and their counsels have refused to accept service of the complaints for almost a month."

"Since we filed this sweeping lawsuit last month, Donald Trump and the Trump Organization have continued those same fraudulent practices and taken measures to evade responsibility," James said in a news release. "Today, we are seeking an immediate stop to these actions because Mr. Trump should not get to play by different rules."

Want a daily wrap-up of all the news and commentary Salon has to offer? Subscribe to our morning newsletter, Crash Course.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing and accused James of political motives and "racism." Trump attorney Alina Habba on Thursday called James' filing "simply another stunt."

"We have repeatedly provided assurance, in writing, that the Trump Organization has no intention of doing anything improper," Habba said in a statement to CNN.

Habba claimed that the filing was a "thinly-veiled attempt" to keep the case before state Justice Arthur Engoron, who has overseen matters related to James' probe and previously fined Trump $110,000 for refusing to sit for a deposition. Habba filed a pending request that the case be overseen by another judge.

James in her lawsuit accused Trump of lying to lending firms and insurers by overstating the value of his assets by billions while deflating the value of those same assets to lower his tax liability. James said she referred her findings to federal prosecutors and the IRS to review for potential federal crimes.

Thursday's filing said that James' three-year investigation has amassed enough evidence to succeed in the lawsuit.

"The evidence of the Trump Organization's fraud in deriving and presenting the asset valuations reflected in the Statements over the course of a decade-plus," the filing said, "is overwhelming."

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

MORE FROM Igor Derysh

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Aggregate Donald Trump Letitia James Politics Trump Organization