Cushman & Wakefield Ordered To Hand Over Trump Appraisal Documents
A state judge has ordered Cushman & Wakefield to turn over documents related to its appraisal work for The Trump Organization as the New York Attorney General's office sharpens its focus on the role the real estate services giant played in alleged fraud committed by the former president's firm.
New York State Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron ruled Monday that Cushman & Wakefield must hand over documents related to appraisals for a number of Trump properties, specifically the Seven Springs estate in Westchester County, 40 Wall St. in Manhattan and Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles, The Daily Beast reports.
Attorney General Letitia James' office named the brokerage in the suit it lodged against Trump's family business in August 2020. The company denied any wrongdoing in appraisals of those properties, but earlier this month, the AG's office asked the court to compel C&W to hand over documents and said the brokerage was wrongfully challenging its requests.
Engoron sided with the AG Monday, ordering C&W to hand over the documents the AG requested by May 27, despite the brokerage’s legal team’s claims that the request would jeopardize the proprietary, sensitive nature of their appraisal data. At the hearing, lawyers from James' office said they are scrutinizing Cushman & Wakefield’s role in Trump’s alleged fraudulent activities, The Daily Beast reported.
“They’re right in the middle of this,” Assistant Attorney General Austin Thompson said in court, per the publication. He cited Cushman & Wakefield's decision to stop working with the former president following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 last year as something that piqued their interest. “We think that the noisy exit from Cushman and Wakefield … is another red flag. And we would like to learn more about it."
In a statement to Bisnow, a C&W spokesperson said the firm has cooperated fully with the investigation and stands behind the work of its appraisers.
“While we acknowledge today’s ruling, any suggestion that Cushman & Wakefield has not responded in good faith to the Attorney General’s investigation continues to be fundamentally untrue,” the spokesperson wrote in an email. “We made it clear during the hearing that our firm has devoted significant time, resource and expense in our efforts to cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation including sharing tens of thousands of items of information."
James has been running a civil fraud investigation into the Trump Organization for the past three years, looking at whether or not the company lied about real estate assets to secure favorable loan terms and shirk taxes. Also on Monday, Engoron found Donald Trump in contempt of court over his failure to comply with subpoenas for documents.
While C&W announced over a year ago that it would no longer represent the Trump Organization in real estate matters, it still pays the former president rent every month through its lease at 1290 Sixth Ave., a building Trump co-owns with Vornado. Its lease ends next year, and C&W Tri-State CEO Toby Dodd told staffers last summer that it was considering a relocation.