A real estate executive contradicted Eric Trump’s claim that he had no role in appraisals of a luxury golf development at the center of a civil fraud trial, where the state of New York alleges he and his father, Donald Trump, inflated asset values to get better loan terms.
(Bloomberg) — A real estate executive contradicted Eric Trump’s claim that he had no role in appraisals of a luxury golf development at the center of a civil fraud trial, where the state of New York alleges he and his father, Donald Trump, inflated asset values to get better loan terms.
David McArdle, a senior managing director at Cushman & Wakefield, spent most of Thursday in a Manhattan court reviewing numerous emails between Eric Trump and attorney Sheri Dillon discussing the valuation of a Trump property known as Seven Springs in Westchester County, north of New York City. It’s one of several Trump assets Attorney General Letitia James alleges were inflated by hundreds of millions of dollars a year.
Cushman & Wakefield had long handled asset valuations for the the former president’s company, and had gotten input on Seven Springs from Eric Trump, who is an executive in his father’s Trump Organization, McArdle said.
In sworn testimony before the trial, Eric Trump denied a role in appraisals.
“I pour concrete,” he said in a video clip of a May 7 deposition, which was played in court Thursday. “I operate properties. I don’t focus on appraisals between a law firm and Cushman.” He added: “This is just not what I do in my day-to-day responsibilities. And, you know, I hardly recognize the name on here.”
After the tape was played, state lawyer Sherief Gaber asked McArdle, “Is this consistent with your recollection of Mr. Trump’s involvement?”
“No,” McArdle said.
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The trial, now in its third week, is one of six Trump is facing as he seeks to return to the White House in the 2024 election. Eric Trump and the former president’s other adult son, Donald Trump Jr., are accused of inflating Trump’s assets by billions of dollars a year for more than a decade. The Trumps deny wrongdoing, and are all expected to be called by the state to testify in the trial.
According to James, the Seven Springs property was valued by Trump at $291 million in 2014, when it was actually worth $57 million.
McArdle will resume testifying at the trial Friday.
Earlier on Thursday, a Ladder Capital Corp. executive with close ties to the former president testified that the firm approved a $160 million loan to Trump in 2015 based in part on his claim that he was worth $5.8 billion — a figure New York alleges was inflated by more than 50%.
Jack Weisselberg, son of longtime Trump Organization Chief Financial Officer Allen Weisselberg, testified about the refinancing for Trump’s 40 Wall Street skyscraper the year before the real estate mogul was elected president. Trump had turned to Ladder after the loan originator, Capitol One, declined to refinance it.
“Was it your understanding that Ladder relied upon this statement of financial condition?” Colleen Faherty, another lawyer for James, asked the younger Weisselberg on the witness stand.
“For 40 Wall, we wanted to make sure there was enough liquidity to cover the obligation,” Weisselberg replied.
“That doesn’t quite respond to my question,” Faherty said.
“The net worth is one of the things we look at it, I wouldn’t say it was a key factor,” Weisselberg said.
“It was a factor?” Faherty persisted.
“It was a factor,” Weisselberg said.
While neither Jack Weisselberg nor Ladder are defendants in the suit, the complaint states that the lender and Trump Organization in 2015 “worked to manipulate the appraisal figure” for 40 Wall Street.
Trump, who denies wrongdoing, is also expected to testify later in the proceedings, which may last months. Earlier this week, when he attended the trial in person, Trump said outside court that he intends to bring to court “plaques and trophies” from institutions he did business with, which he says he received “for having done such a good job.”
(Updates to say McArdle will resume testifying Friday. An earlier version corrected the spelling of Eric Trump in fourth paragraph.)
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