Cushman & Wakefield strikes truce with NY attorney general over Trump probe documents

New York Attorney General Letitia James delivers remarks at the New York Democratic party 2022 State Nominating Convention in Manhattan in New York City, U.S., February 17, 2022.
New York Attorney General Letitia James delivers remarks at the New York Democratic party 2022 State Nominating Convention in Manhattan in New York City, U.S., February 17, 2022.Mike Segar/Reuters
  • A truce has been struck between the NY attorney general and Trump appraisers Cushman & Wakefield.

  • The real-estate services giant has until midnight Monday to turn over "priority" documents.

  • If Cushman complies, a $10,000-a-day contempt of court fine will likely be waived.

A truce has been struck in a heated battle between longtime Donald Trump appraisers Cushman & Wakefield and the New York attorney general, who is still seeking thousands of documents as she wraps up her probe of the Trump Organization.

Under an agreement hashed out in an appellate court in Manhattan, Cushman has an extended deadline — until midnight Monday — to turn over a subset of "priority" overdue documents sought by Attorney General Letitia James.

James has been asking since September for Cushman to turn over all emails and other communications concerning any work the company has performed for Trump, his business, or his properties over the past decade.

Under the agreement, Cushman will single out the 10 most relevant past and present employees and turn over Trump-related emails and communications from only those individuals by midnight Monday.

An additional July 20 deadline has been set for Cushman to give the AG a so-called privilege log detailing what documents are being held back due to attorney-client privilege.

Both sides will then ask the probe's presiding judge to lift a potentially costly $10,000-a-day contempt-of-court fine.

Details of the agreement were revealed in an appellate court filing Monday.

If Cushman fails to meet the Monday or July 20 deadline, the deal is off, "and the Contempt Order shall become effective for the duration of this appeal retroactive to July 7, 2022," the filing states.

James is investigating an alleged pattern of financial misstatements at the former president's hotel and golf resort company.

Her lawyers have alleged that Trump would inflate or lowball the value of his assets on financial documents in order to secure hundreds of millions of dollars in bank loans and tax breaks.

The probe has singled out three Cushman-appraised Trump properties in court filings: the Trump Building at 40 Wall Street in Manhattan, which was used to collateralize a loan, the Seven Springs estate in Westchester County, New York, and the Trump National Golf Club near Los Angeles. The two latter properties were used by Trump to secure $5 million in tax breaks, the AG has said.

The contempt order was issued Tuesday by the Manhattan judge presiding over the AG's probe, New York Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron.

The judge criticized Cushman for "cavalierly" missing an extended June 29 deadline for turning over the already long overdue Trump-related communications and asking instead for a two-week extention.

Cushman attorneys, however, argued the company needed more time to comb through a massive database of 72 million pages of emails from current and former employees.

The agreement allows Cushman to focus on a smaller subset of that database.

"We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the OAG that relates to an interim stay of the Contempt ruling," a Cushman spokesperson, Mike Boonshoft, said in a written statement.

"Since the beginning of the New York Attorney General's investigation in 2019, Cushman & Wakefield has endeavored to cooperate with the OAG's investigation, responding to multiple document subpoenas and eight testimony subpoenas.

"We will continue to work to produce the documents requested," Boonshoft said.

A spokeswoman for the AG's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

 

  

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