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N.Y. Attorney General To Trump: Pay Up Or Lose Your Properties

New York
Trump Tower in New York

In the aftermath of last week’s historic civil fraud judgment against Donald Trump, New York Attorney General Letitia James has a message for the former president: If you don’t pay the fine, we’ll take your buildings.

“If he does not have funds to pay off the judgment, then we will seek judgment enforcement mechanisms in court and we will ask the judge to seize his assets,” James told ABC News

Trump and his businesses were ordered to pay $355M in fines, plus 9% interest, New York Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron ruled last week. The interest brings the total Trump could be forced to pay to more than $450M, and every day he doesn't pay, he accrues another $87,500 in interest, Forbes reported.

The former president is likely to appeal the ruling, but to do so, within 30 days he must pay the judgment in full or put down a bond that could stretch into the tens of millions of dollars, The New York Times reported

Thursday morning, Engoron denied a request from Trump's attorneys to delay the judgment. 

“You have failed to explain, much less justify, any basis for a stay,” Engoron wrote in an email filed in court records. “I am confident that the Appellate Division will protect your appellate rights.”

Trump was also banned from serving as an officer or director of any business in the state for three years, with his sons Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. being slapped with the same ban for two years.

The order has since been signed by the court and filed by the county clerk, meaning the fines and penalties are enforceable. 

If Trump, whose net worth is $2.6B, according to Forbes, doesn't comply with the judgment, James could file liens on some of his properties. One of the buildings that could be seized is The Trump Organization’s 72-story landmarked tower in Manhattan’s Financial District, James told ABC. 

“We are prepared to make sure that the judgment is paid to New Yorkers, and yes, I look at 40 Wall Street each and every day,” James said.

The property is one of many where Trump was found to have fraudulently inflated its value to score better deals on loans. The value of the tower at 40 Wall St. was exaggerated by almost $200M, according to James' office.

The property is The Trump Organization's most valuable, but the company ran into trouble with its lenders last year as rising vacancies and operating costs led lenders to question whether the company would pay off its loans on the building. 

The final judgment turned out to be less severe than the five-year ban from working in New York real estate that James asked the judge for. Engoron also declined to strip The Trump Organization of its operating certificates, thereby avoiding a long-term “corporate death penalty” that he previously tried to impose on the business as he mulled the size of its penalties this fall.

While Trump may appeal the ruling, James told ABC she is confident that the conviction will be upheld.

“Financial frauds are not victimless crimes. He engaged in this massive amount of fraud, and it wasn’t just a simple mistake, a slight oversight,” she said. “The extent of the fraud was staggering.”