The state of New York late Monday issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank Monday for records relating to financing four major Trump Organization projects and the company’s failed effort to buy the Buffalo Bills National Football League franchise.
The move by the state’s attorney general expands existing investigations of Trump’s tax practices and use of his now-defunct charity to fund his personal lifestyle.
Fordham Law School professor Jed Handelsman Shugerman says such moves are needed and long overdue.
“The allegations of criminal conduct by Donald Trump and Trump Organization officials are no longer mere speculation or reporting,” he writes in an OpEd article in Monday’s New York Times. “The public record establishes probable cause for campaign finance felonies, and a potential case for criminal tax fraud, bank fraud, insurance fraud and suborning perjury to hide shady business dealings — a staggering mix of state and federal crimes implicating a range of Trump Organization officials.”
Testimony from former Trump’s former personal attorney and “fixer” Michael Cohen testified Trump inflated his assets and lied to Deutsche Bank to obtain financing for his projects.
New York wants loan applications, mortgages, lines of credit and information on financing transactions involved with Trump International Hotel in Washington, the Trump National Doral near Miami and the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago.
The actions by New York Attorney General Letitia James are a civil action at this point but she has the power to also seek criminal indictments.
Writes law professor Shugerman:
State attorneys general — especially New York Attorney General Letitia James — should not wait for any Justice Department official to hold Trump accountable for potential crimes. They also do not need to wait to build a case for criminal indictments. The appropriate immediate path is a special state civil proceeding against the Trump Organization and its officials.
Deutsche Bank became Trump’s primary source of money when American banks cut him off after too many questionable loans and losses. The bank gave Trump more than $100 million in 2012 to buy the Doral Golf Resort in 2012 and $170 million in 2015 to Washington’s Old Post Office into his luxury hotel in the nation’s capital. That hotel, and the money paid to it by foreign governments and officials who stay there, has resulted in lawsuits charging Trump with violating federal laws that prohibit him from profiting while president.
The New York attorney general is not alone in investigating Trump’s often-controversial business transactions. The House Intelligence Committee in Washington is probing his real estate transactions with Russia and other foreign entities and Deutsche Bank’s financing of his operations.
Ms. James took over from former Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, we resigned under fire for sexual abuse claims, and promised to pursue Trump.
“I will be shining a bright light into every dark corner of his real estate dealings, and every dealing, demanding truthfulness at every turn.” she said in her victory speech when elected. She later said “we will use every area of the law to investigate president Trump and his business transactions and that of his family.”
Deutsche Bank has not responded to requests for comments.
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