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Donald Trump’s Real Estate Appraiser Says It Reached an Agreement to Turn Over Documents to New York AG, Stay Contempt Order

 
Donald Trump

Former U.S. President Donald Trump points to the crowd on arrival at the National Rifle Association (NRA) annual convention at the George R. Brown Convention Center on May 27, 2022 in Houston, Texas.

Former President Donald Trump’s real estate appraiser Cushman & Wakefield said that it has reached an agreement with New York Attorney General Letitia James to provide subpoenaed documents in order to stay a $10,000 per day contempt order.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the OAG that relates to an interim stay of the contempt ruling,” the company said in a statement.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron imposed the contempt order on Wednesday, finding that Cushman & Wakefield blew past a court-imposed deadline and even waited for one to expire before challenging the scope of a subpoena.

James has been investigating whether Trump illegally inflated or deflated assets in order to reap tax benefits. The investigation began after Trump’s former attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen testified before Congress that the former president had been cooking the books.

Cushman & Wakefield, a multi-billion dollar real estate services firm that acted as Trump’s appraiser on three properties, insists that it has been cooperative in the investigation.

“Since the beginning of the New York Attorney General’s investigation in 2019, Cushman & Wakefield has endeavored to cooperate with the [Office of the Attorney General]’s investigation, responding to multiple document subpoenas and eight testimony subpoenas,” the company said in its statement. “We will continue to work to produce the documents requested by the OAG by Wednesday, July 13, in accordance with our agreement.”

The attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

According to the company, the agreement took place at a hearing conducted on Friday, during which Cushman & Wakefield sought an interim stay of the contempt order. If Cushman & Wakefield provides all of the subpoenaed documents by Wednesday, the attorney general will agree to seek to dissolve the contempt order and will not seek to collect any fines, the company says.

The subpoenas related to Cushman & Wakefield’s appraisals of the Seven Springs Estate, Trump National Golf Club, Los Angeles, and 40 Wall Street. The attorney general also wants information about Cushman & Wakefield’s broader business dealings with the Trump Organization.

Cushman & Wakefield immediately appealed the judge’s contempt order, which accused the company of treating court orders “cavalierly.”

“Cushman & Wakefield has only itself to blame if it chose to treat the looming deadlines cavalierly,” Justice Engoron wrote. “With the statutes of limitations continuing to run, every delay prejudices OAG (and indirectly, the people of New York State).”

Engoron previously found Trump in contempt in April, skewering his legal team for their “boilerplate” assertions of compliance.

“Mr. Trump, I know you take your business seriously, and I take mine seriously,” Engoron addressed the former president directly, though he was not physically in the courtroom. Engoron punctuated his ruling by banging the gavel.

The judge purged that contempt order in late June, after Trump and his lawyers supplied detailed affidavits showing his company’s lax approach to document retention and deletion policies.

There is no filing on the public docket memorializing the agreement that the company says it reached with the attorney general in court on Friday.

(Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on MSNBC, BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks.