Judge holds real estate giant Cushman and Wakefield in contempt over Donald Trump case

REUTERS/Kate Munsch

REUTERS/Kate Munsch

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

On Tuesday afternoon, a clearly annoyed judge Arthur F. Engoron signed an injunction smashing into the real estate giant for missing a deadline to hand over documents — after two months to meet it.

In his injunction, Engoron said he “can’t believe why Cushman & Wakefield would wait until two days after the court-imposed deadline passed to start the trial to request another extension.”

Judge says real estate giant broke Trump rules

He criticized the company, which routinely helped Trump value property in ways that directly benefit him, for dragging his feet.

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

The huge, national real estate company had to submit documents related to its valuations of all kinds of properties so state investigators could compare how the company handled other projects compared to Trump’s developments.

The office of New York Attorney General Letitia James issued subpoenas between September 2021 and February 2022 that the company had still failed to comply with, so the judge ordered the company to play in April. But the company challenged that in the appeals court — and lost.

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

Time is of the essence. State investigators will charge former President Donald Trump and two of his children — Don Jr. and Ivanka – interviewing under closed doors. And researchers have said they should review Cushman and Wakefield’s evidence before those interviews.

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

On Friday, the AG’s office asked the judge to intervene and force the company to comply with a subpoena to hand over key evidence.

In his letter, Assistant Attorney General Austin Thompson noted that the real estate company had in fact slipped by appearing to admit that it had done nothing at all for several weeks because it essentially made a stupid bet and lost. collecting the mountains of evidence because it thought its appeal would win.

He pointed to this sentence in an affidavit — written on the very last day of the deadline — by the outside company that helped Cushman and Wakefield sort the evidence: “Platinum has been working around the clock for more than a week to accomplish its delegated duties. .”

Thompson pointed out that the real estate company had eight weeks — not one — to start.

“This suggests that Cushman waited until… [it lost its appeal] to start the compliance process in earnest. If Cushman were to make a strategic decision to assume the reprieve and not use the eight weeks since the April 26 order to prepare for compliance, then it’s not Cushman’s job. [the attorney general’s office] or the court to relieve it of the consequences of that decision,” he wrote.

In a statement to The Daily Beast on Tuesday, the company said it has “expended great cost and effort to identify, collect, review and produce the vast array of documents.” It criticized the Attorney General for “misleading the court by belittling our significant efforts to comply with the court order”.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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