Judge shoots down banks' attempts to hide Trump business deals from the public: report

NY judge rules that key details related to NY Attorney General Letitia James' lawsuit will be made public

By Tatyana Tandanpolie

Staff Writer

Published August 30, 2023 10:28AM (EDT)

Donald Trump surrounded by piles and piles of documents (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
Donald Trump surrounded by piles and piles of documents (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

Banks and insurance companies hoping to conceal their business dealings with former President Donald Trump were smacked down Tuesday, after a judge decided against sealing records in the New York Attorney General's case against the billionaire, The Daily Beast reports. Aside from personal information like certain employees' addresses or bank account numbers, Judge Arthur Engoron ruled that the public has a right to the documents and communications that detail the way those firms were unknowingly wrapped up in the Trump Organization's alleged scheme to inflate assets.  

"Here, the non-parties have failed to demonstrate a compelling interest in favor of wholesale sealing that outweighs the public's right to access and the presumption in favor of open judicial proceedings," he wrote Tuesday afternoon. Zurich American Insurance Company, WSFS Bank, Ladder Capital and other firms asked the presiding judge earlier this month to seal the documents outlining their communications with the Trump Organization as they evaluated its assets. "One employee who has already been publicly linked to the Seven Springs loan receives unwanted media inquiries every time the case appears in the news, which he finds 'disruptive and distressing,'" lawyers for WSFS complained.

Many of those records, however, buttress Attorney General Letitia James' $250 million lawsuit against Trump and his family-turned-executives, alleging they inflated the value of property to get better bank loans and policies. James countered those firms' requests, citing the need for the public to have access to court battles and legal precedent that "neither the potential for embarrassment or damage to reputation, nor the general desire for privacy, constitutes good cause to seal court records." Trump's civil trial in New York City, where his personal finances will be under heavy examination, is set to begin on Oct. 2.