That real estate promoter Donald Trump is a shady businessman has been known to New Yorkers for the half-century since the Avenue Z rent collector for his dad, Fred Trump, made his public debut with sleazy lawyer-fixer Roy Cohn at his side. Trump lied about his wealth (he wasn’t as rich as he said he was) and his academic credentials (he wasn’t first in his class at Wharton). And as the whole world now knows, just about everything he uttered before, during and after his benighted presidency was also a lie.
So the hefty, detailed lawsuit filed Wednesday in Manhattan state Supreme Court by New York Attorney General Letitia James alleging that Trump, three of his adult children and the Trump Organization lied about values of assets to gain financial advantage when applying for loans is par for the course, as Trump also lied about the value of his golf holdings. James is on the side of truth, justice and the American way on this one. She has Trump nailed, like the fact that he claimed his Trump Tower triplex is 30,000 square feet, not the 11,000 square feet it is in reality.
The dirt was first spilled by Cohn’s wannabe successor, Michael Cohen, under very smart questioning by then-freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Feb. 27, 2019, in just her second month in office. Cohen said the boss had cheated when declaring the worth of his properties. Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance soon picked up the trail and then had to fight and beat Trump all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court so the grand jury could see the documents.
This year, new DA Alvin Bragg sidelined the criminal probe, despite the sincere belief of highly experienced prosecutors that Trump should have been indicted. Neither was there an effort to grant criminal jurisdiction to James via Gov. Kathy Hochul, as suggested by longtime Trump watcher David Cay Johnston in these pages. (Wednesday, Bragg declared his Trump investigation “active and ongoing.”)
James has only the power to sue, and make referrals to federal prosecutors and the IRS. Godspeed.
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