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SHADY: Trump tax rep agreed with lower valuations for properties

SHADY: Trump tax rep agreed with lower valuations for properties

The Trump Organization’s civil fraud trial in New York continues to seek the facts about properties that were allegedly overvalued on the company’s financial documents.

Donald Trump may insist that Mar-a-Lago is worth closer to a billion dollars than to the Palm Beach property appraiser’s valuations — which started at 18 million in 2011 — but Trump’s tax representative openly agreed to the lower value ($26.6 million by that time) in 2020.

Trump keeps focusing on the 2011 valuation, which he falsely claims was made up by the Attorney General or the court, rather than the appraiser at the time.

He insists his resort is worth “50 to 100 times” that amount — which is to say, $900 million to 18 billion. However, emails have been entered into evidence that show his tax guy knew better and said as much at the time.

More specifically, the dispute at that time was over the difference in valuation for commercial property ($359 per square foot) and residential property ($2,000+ per square foot).

From the courtroom, reporter Adam Klasfeld shared the contents of the relevant email:

“Currently, this property is assessed as a private club with the current assessed value at $359/sqft. The surrounding residential properties are assessed on average of over $2,000 per sqft with a recent sale just over $3,000 per sqft.”

The email also discusses Trump’s toying with the possibility of seeking an exemption that would identify the club as a home but ultimately found a number of barriers to that action, including the necessity to transfer ownership, making the property legally in the possession of Trump himself, rather than his business.

Trump’s decision to make Mar-a-Lago his permanent residence was briefly controversial at the time, with neighbors expressing concerns about the effect on their own homes and properties.

This valuation issue has already come up in trial.

“Trump Organization controller Jeffrey McConney previously testified that Trump valued Mar-a-Lago as a private residence from 2011 through 2021, despite Trump signing a deed that restricted Mar-a-Lago’s usage to a social club, thereby limiting its resale value,” ABC News reported.

Trump argued otherwise on social media, though he has not yet taken the stand in the courtroom, so isn’t (so far) making his argument under oath.

On TruthSocial, he claimed that Attorney General Letitia James and Judge Arthur Engoron “fraudulently reduced the value of Mar-a-Lago, and other assets, in order to make their FAKE case more viable,” and called for James to be impeached for “falsification of documents.”

A summary judgment has already been entered in the case, affirming that Trump is liable for falsifying property values.

Now the court case is all about what the penalty will be.

Stephanie Bazzle
Steph Bazzle is a news writer who covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph. Sign up for all of her stories to be delivered to your inbox here:

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