Father and son real estate grifters demonstrate how they lost their NY fraud case in real-time

Originally published at: Father and son real estate grifters demonstrate how they lost their NY fraud case in real-time | Boing Boing


Summary Judgment is a pretty drastic move and tough to pull off in Supreme Court-New York County (a trial court, not the high court). Many judges reject them out of hand finding “triable issues of fact”.

But defendants here really pissed off the judge with frivolous delaying tactics, repeating rejected arguments and wildly unprofessional behavior in Court (never ever ever try to interrupt a judge when they are speaking)


If they publicly claim that Mar-a-Lago is worth $1 billion or $2 billion, what’s the property tax in Florida on a $1 billion piece of property? How much did Trump claim it was worth when he filed his taxes with the Florida Department of Revenue? He sure as hell didn’t claim he owed taxes on $1 billion!

According to H&R Block the average real property tax in Florida is 0.98%. At that rate, a $1 billion property would cost $9.8 million a year. Clap if you think Trump paid that. crickets chirping Yeah, me neither.

0.98% of $24 million (Zillow’s estimate) is $235,200.
0.98% of $18 million (judge’s estimate) is $176,400.


Both of them children, terrified that everyone will know they’re not as rich as they brag they are.

And never ever ever present the appearance that you’re wasting the judge’s time. These things will not help you win.


To be fair, Don Jr.'s number is probably going to be high (heh) because he’s factoring in all the coke he’s spilled in the carpets.


We’re not really using Zillow for anything other than entertainment, are we?


Well, clearly, $2 billion is actually much, much too low! It’s the most valuable property on Earth! Do the Taj Mahal, Buckingham Palace, or Villa Leopoldo house the orange-flecked god-emperor? No! Mar-a-Lago is the most impossibly valuable building in human history!

(Actually looked up the most valuable properties on the planet, and Buckingham Palace is at the top at $1.3 billion. Imagine even pretending a trash house like MAL is anywhere close to that.)


But as a listed property, you could never properly renovate. That’ll turn off potential buyers. /s


Zillow does include the taxes on a property, which are a matter of public record.

2022: Mar-a-Lago was assessed at $30,360,000 and the taxes on the property were $547,242.


“… while the Trump Family is working with 40x as a starting point.”

I assume this is an upcharge for the truly epic fumigation, disinfection, and general hosing-out they know would be required.


The pile of sage you would have to burn requires EPA involvement, it is a teardown that will also require decades of hazardous materials cleanup.


To me, the really amazing thing in all this is that (part of) Trump’s defense against fraud charges was to point out that real estate is a great vehicle for bribery, saying that since he became president, the value of his properties increased greatly, and “the Saudis” in particular would pay anything he asked…

It’s like he’s unable to conceive of anything outside of the framework of his usual business dealings, and bribery is just some perk of the position of president. (Though he’s bribed enough politicians that I could also see how he’d think it’s no big deal.)


As well as hiring workers with the security clearance for anything they find in the basement.


“…No trial. No jury…”

Don’t worry. There are other charges in that same case that are going to a trial today.


So now we know his exit plan.


“Here are the keys, Muhammad, and you’ll find that if you visit my ex-wife’s grave, the documents are all in order. I’ll deliver the rest when my jet lands in…(redacted).”


Just imagine how much ketchup you’d have to scrub off the walls before you could even start.

The Trump model seems to be to undervalue the property for tax purposes and overvalue it when getting loans. This is not actually a winning strategy. You can lie to the IRS or you can lie to the banks, but you can’t do both (my partner’s landlord got a year in prison for, among other things, doing exactly that).

It might be fitting if the tax authorities accepted the higher estimates, while the banks took the lower value – as opposed to the other way around, which is what the Trumps would like.

Also, saying “Foreign interests are willing to pay me many times its actual value” is not a great look for someone who wants to be president. One might almost be tempted to ask why these wealthy foreigners would be willing to pay so much, and what they expected to get in return.


The beauty of this judgement is that it doesn’t matter if the banks or tax authorities suffered damages as a result of Trump’s false Statements of Financial Conditions. The mere fact that he intentionally overstated valuations in financial documents then used these documents for business purposes constitutes fraud as per the statute of law. Whether any actual harm to victims was incurred is totally irrelevant.

Again, I keep going back to the judgement summary for the good stuff:

Defendants correctly assert that “the record is devoid of any evidence of default, breach, late
payment, or any complaint of harm” and argue that as none of the recipients of the subject SFCs
ever lodged a complaint with OAG or otherwise claimed damages, disgorgement of profits
would be inappropriate.

However, that is completely irrelevant. As the Ernst & Young Court noted:
[Wihere, as here, there is a claim based on fraudulent activity,
disgorgement may be available as an equitable remedy,
notwithstanding the absence of loss to individuals or independent
claims for restitution. Disgorgement is distinct from the remedy of
restitution because it focuses on the gain to the wrongdoer as
opposed to the loss to the victim. Thus, disgorgement aims to
deter wrongdoing by preventing the wrongdoer from retaining ill-
gotten gains from fraudulent conduct. Accordingly, the remedy of
disgorgement does not require a showing or allegation of direct
losses to consumers or the public; the source of the ill-gotten gains
is “immaterial.”


I desperately want Palm Beach county to slap a 1.5 billion dollar valuation on the property and send them a tax bill.


Exit plan? Heck, he’s been doing this all along - as soon as he took office, the Saudi government started renting out the most expensive suites in his Washington hotel. To the degree that the money they spent alone made the hotel profitable. Kushner got billions. The more recent Saudi golf tour deal is going to be making Trump tons of money on an ongoing basis. He doesn’t seem to be saving anything up - he immediately sold out to the Saudis and has been getting bribes out in the open since he got elected (and probably before, too).


His own lawyers also filed for summary judgement in the opposite direction.

Technically, that was Palm Beach County’s tax assessor, who the judge used as actual evidence of value.