Judge despises real estate giants over Trump case

Cushman and Wakefield, the real estate company Donald Trump allegedly used to inflate the value of his homes, was ordered by a New York judge to pay a $10,000 daily fine for failing to turn over evidence to state investigators.

On Tuesday afternoon, a visibly disgruntled Judge Arthur F. Engoron signed an order tearing up the real estate giant for missing a deadline to turn over documents – after giving it two months to meet them.

In his order, Engoron said he was “incredible why Cushman & Wakefield would wait until two days after the court-ordered deadline to begin the process of requesting another extension.”

He criticized the company, which routinely helped Trump value properties in a way that directly benefited him, for being too slow.

“Cushman & Wakefield find no valid reason” for exceeding the deadline, he wrote.

The giant, national real estate company was supposed to provide documents on its appraisals of all types of properties – so state investigators could compare how the company treated other projects versus Trump developments.

The office of New York Attorney General Letitia James issued subpoenas between September 2021 and February 2022, which the company still hadn’t complied with, so in April the judge ordered the company to play ball. But the company fought back in the Court of Appeal – and lost.

Judge Engoron then set a new deadline for Cushman and Wakefield to deliver the goods: June 29. The real estate company then missed this deadline.

Time is of the essence. State investigators will question former President Donald Trump and two of his children — Don Jr. and Ivanka — behind closed doors during the week of July 18. And investigators have said they need to review Cushman and Wakefield’s evidence before those interviews.

But on Wednesday at 11:32 p.m., less than half an hour before the midnight deadline, the real estate company’s lawyers filed a document with the court asking the judge for a last-minute delay.

On Friday, the AG’s office asked the judge to step in and force the company to comply with a subpoena to release key evidence.

In his letter, Assistant Attorney General Austin Thompson noted that the real estate firm had actually made a mistake when it appeared to admit it hadn’t done any work at all for several weeks because it basically made a stupid bet and lost — and held back Accumulating mountains of evidence because they thought their appeal would win.

He referenced that phrase in an affidavit — written on the very last day of the deadline — from the outside firm that helped Cushman and Wakefield sort through the evidence: “Platinum has been working around the clock performing its delegated duties for more than a week to fulfill.”

Thompson pointed out that the real estate firm had eight weeks — not one — to get started.

“This suggests that Cushman waited until [it lost its appeal] start the compliance process in earnest. If Cushman has made a strategic decision to assume it will receive a stay and the eight weeks since the May 26 order [the attorney general’s office] or the court to absolve it of the consequences of that decision,” he wrote.

In a statement to The Daily Beast on Tuesday, the company said it had “expended great expense and effort to identify, collect, verify and produce the vast amount of documents”. It criticized the Attorney General for “misleading the court by belittling our considerable efforts to comply with the court’s order”.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/judge-holds-real-estate-giant-in-contempt-over-trump-case?source=articles&via=rss Judge despises real estate giants over Trump case

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