Judge Rules Trump Organization Must Submit To Independent Monitor
A New York judge has ordered an independent monitor to oversee the finances of former President Donald Trump's family business and temporarily blocked it from selling or transferring assets without permission.
Lawyers in the New York Attorney General's office had asked the New York State Supreme Court to take action against The Trump Organization last month after saying in court filings they uncovered transactions that the company could be trying to shift business outside of New York to “evade accountability." Judge Arthur Engoron granted the order in a Thursday afternoon ruling.
The injunction and appointment of a monitor are the latest development in the sprawling investigation into The Trump Organization that led to a $250M civil fraud suit Attorney General Letitia James filed against the company in September.
Engoron ordered Thursday that Trump be blocked from selling, transferring or otherwise disposing of any cash asset listed on the 2021 statement of financial condition of Donald J. Trump without 14 days' notice to both the court and James’ office.
“In the absence of an injunction, and given defendants demonstrated propensity to engage in persistent fraud, failure to grant such an injunction could result in extreme prejudice to the people of New York,” the judge wrote in the motion. “Furthermore, given the persistent misrepresentation throughout every one of Mr. Trump’s SFCs between 2011 and 2012, this court finds the appointment of an independent monitor is the most prudent and narrowly tailored mechanism to ensure there is no further fraud or illegality.”
Trump’s lawyers argued the move would amount to “nationalization” of the company, but Engoron wrote that that suggestion was “entirely without” merit. Lawyers for Trump said the move would damage the business.
"It's really about seizing control of a successful company," attorney Chris Kise said of the request for a monitor, NBC News reported.
The monitor, which Trump will have to pay for, will provide a full description of the structure of the assets of The Trump Organization. A preliminary conference was set for Nov. 22.
Earlier this week, Trump sued James in Florida, accusing her of "intimidation and harassment" and asking a judge in his new home state to shield his revocable trust from her investigation.
The AG's suit accuses the company of lying about values of its property to obtain loans and avoid taxes. Ultimately, James wants the court to permanently ban Trump and his three children from serving as an officer or director at any corporation or similar business entity registered or licensed in New York state.
She is also seeking to prevent them from entering into any New York commercial real estate acquisition, or from applying for loans from any financial institution in New York for five years. This week, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office criminal trial against two Trump companies began in New York Supreme Court.