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Criminal Investigation Of Trump Scrutinizes $280M In Manhattan CRE Loans

The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is investigating $280M in loans associated with four Manhattan properties owned by former President Donald Trump, The Wall Street Journal reports. All of the loans were made by Ladder Capital Corp., a New York-based real estate investment trust.

Trump Tower in New York

The buildings in question are Trump Tower, the company's flagship on Fifth Avenue, along with 40 Wall St., Trump International Hotel and Tower, and Trump Plaza, according to the WSJ, citing anonymous sources.

The DA's office's exact focus on these properties isn’t clear yet, but it might involve alleged fraudulent statements made about the valuation of the properties.

In 2019, Pro Publica reported that for Trump International Hotel and Tower and 40 Wall St., The Trump Organization claimed lower income and higher costs in its tax filings than on documents provided to lenders.

The Trump Organization has long-standing connections to Ladder Capital. The Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg is Ladder Capital Executive Director Jack Weisselberg's father. The younger Weisselberg handles loan originations for the REIT. 

Four days before the Journal released its report, Ladder Capital announced its longtime chief financial officer, Marc Fox, would step down later this year.

The investigation of the four properties comes in addition to the Manhattan DA's broader investigation of alleged insurance, tax and bank fraud by The Trump Organization both before and while Trump was president. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. heads that effort.

Under examination by Vance's office is whether the former president inflated the value of his properties for the purpose of receiving loans while underestimating them for the purpose of paying taxes. The president’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, accused him of doing so on a regular basis in testimony before Congress in 2019. 

Trump has called the efforts by Vance a "witch hunt," and has decried a bid by the DA to obtain all of the former president’s tax returns as a "fishing expedition." The Trump Organization didn't respond to a request for comment on the matter by Bisnow.