Cushman & Wakefield Must Produce Documents For AG Investigation: Appeals Court
The appellate division of New York's main trial court ruled that the real estate giant must comply with subpoenas that New York State Attorney General Letitia James issued as part of her civil investigation of former President Donald Trump's business practices, Reuters reported.
At the heart of James' investigation is whether the Trump Organization misled taxing authorities and banks about the value of its real estate assets in an effort to obtain tax breaks and better loan terms.
James began investigating the Trump Organization in early 2019, not long after former Trump attorney Michael Cohen testified to Congress that Trump understated the values of his assets when trying to reduce his real estate taxes and inflated the values when that benefited him.
In April, New York State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron ordered Cushman & Wakefield to turn over appraisal documents for several Trump properties, and for comparable properties from other clients that the Office of the Attorney General argued were relevant to its investigation.
“Cushman appraisers have made repeated misstatements in the documents we’ve seen so far, so we’re entitled to look at other documents they’ve submitted,” New York Assistant Attorney General Austin Thompson said during a hearing in April.
The real estate firm appealed the order last month, calling the investigation "overly intrusive." But Thursday's appeals court ruling denied Cushman's appeal and removed a temporary stay on the subpoena, meaning the firm must produce the documents.
In May, a Cushman & Wakefield spokesperson told Bisnow in an emailed statement the firm has cooperated with the investigation for two years, responded to multiple subpoenas and provided all documents related to its work for the Trump Organization properties involved in the investigation. The company said the firm filed an appeal to protect the privacy of its other clients.
Cushman & Wakefield no longer works for the Trump Organization, a decision it made following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.