NY AG blasts Cushman & Wakefield for blowing Trump-probe subpoena deadline; asks judge to 'enforce' compliance

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The Seven Springs, a property owned by former U.S. President Donald Trump, is covered in snow, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in Mount Kisco, N.Y.
The Trump family's Seven Springs estate in Upstate New York is one of three properties where New York Attorney General Letitia James alleges Donald Trump used "misleading" Cushman & Wakefield appraisals to secure millions in tax breaks and bank loans.John Minchillo/AP
  • NY Attorney General Letitia James says Cushman & Wakefield has no good reason for blowing a Trump-probe subpoena deadline.

  • In a scathing filing Friday, she asked a Manhattan judge to force the real estate services giant to comply immediately.

  • Cushman has said it needs two more weeks to turn over all documents relating to its appraisals for the Trump Organization.

New York Attorney General Letitia James on Friday asked a Manhattan judge to force Donald Trump's longtime appraisers, Cushman & Wakefield, to immediately turn over thousands of overdue documents that she has demanded for her investigation of the Trump Organization.

The Chicago-based real estate services giant had asked earlier this week for more time, until July 15, to finish complying with a September subpoena from James' office.

Two categories of documents from that subpoena were due on Wednesday, but have yet to be turned over, both sides agree.

The first category is, "All documents and communications concerning any work performed for Donald J. Trump or the Trump Organization."

The second is, "All documents and communications concerning any work performed concerning property or assets owned by Donald J. Trump or the Trump Organization."

But while Cushman has argued that parsing out these communications is a monumental task — involving the sifting through of some 72 million pages of emails from current and former employees — lawyers for the AG counter that the firm is dragging its heels.

"Cushman has offered no real reason for the proposed delay aside from the size of the documents at issue," Associate Attorney General Austin Thompson wrote in Friday's court filing.

"Cushman has known that it would have to collect the documents it blames for its current delay since at the latest the Court's April 26, 2022 order," Thompson wrote.

"And it should have anticipated compliance efforts even before the issuance even of that order," he wrote.

"Its serial requests for extensions do not suggest it can credibly commit to a production deadline without the threat of enforcement," Thompson added.

The reference to a "threat of enforcement" suggests the AG may want the judge who is presiding over the investigation, New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, to threaten Cushman with contempt of court and possibly even fines for blowing the deadline.

In papers filed Friday night, Scott O'Connell, a lawyer for Cushman, complained that in fighting its delay request, the AG has left the firm blindsided; the lawyer promised the judge a lengthier response on Tuesday, "given the Independence Day holiday."

Engoron has yet to weigh in on the document dispute, but the judge has used the contempt cudgel before in getting Trump himself to comply with James' document subpoenas.

The AG is a Democrat and an African American who has been an outspoken critic of Trump and his policies since her first run for office in 2018; Trump has denied wrongdoing and has complained that James' lengthy probe into his business is a politically-motivated, even "racist,"witch hunt.

James said in January that her investigators have uncovered a decade-long pattern of self-serving "misstatements" in how Trump values his properties. Trump has used this allegedly fuzzy math to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in bank loans and tax breaks, she has said.

The AG has more recently signaled that her massive inquiry is wrapping up, though some of its most significant evidence will be gathered in a final, summer push.

Over the next few weeks her investigators will be busy processing the ongoing Cushman document dump and preparing for court-ordered depositions of Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump, Jr., set for mid-July.

Read the original article on Business Insider