NEW YORK — New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a bombshell $250 million civil fraud lawsuit Wednesday against Donald Trump and the Trump Organization. Three of Trump’s adult children, Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric Trump, were also named as defendants, along with two longtime company executives, Allen Weisselberg and Jeffrey McConney.
The attorney general’s lawsuit filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan accuses the Trump Organization, related entities and senior executives of purposely misvaluing assets emblazoned with Trump’s name by hundreds of millions of dollars on skyscrapers, mansions and golf courses.
“This investigation revealed that Donald Trump engaged in years of illegal conduct to inflate his net worth, to deceive banks and the people of the great state of New York,” James said at a news conference. “Claiming you have money that you do not have does not amount to the art of the deal. It’s the art of the steal.”
The sweeping lawsuit, the result of a three-year civil investigation, seeks to remove Trump and family members from their roles within the eponymous organization for engaging in widespread financial fraud in an “astounding” scheme from 2011 through 2021. And James wants to permanently ban them from ever running a business in the Big Apple again or buying commercial real estate in New York for five years.
“Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself, and cheat the system, thereby cheating all of us,” James said.
Trump took to his social media platform, Truth Social, to lash out against the lawsuit. “Attorney General Letitia ‘Peekaboo’ James” was “a failed A.G.” whose “lack of talent” was causing people and companies to flee New York.
“Today’s filing represents the culmination of nearly three years of persistent, targeted, unethical political harassment by the New York State Attorney General, Letitia James,” the Trump Organization said in a statement.
“What an abhorrent abuse of power, waste of valuable resources and tens of millions of taxpayer dollars.”
Trump’s lawyer Alina Habba said the AG’s office had overstepped its authority “by prying into transactions where absolutely no wrongdoing” had occurred.
The AG’s lawsuit represents the latest legal setback faced by the former president and a resounding blow. If it succeeds, it could sound the death knell for Trump’s family company in his home state — where his grandmother founded it with his father almost 100 years ago.