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Real estate giant appeals 'each and every part' of contempt order in New York Trump probe

Published 07/06/2022, 06:54 PM
Updated 07/06/2022, 07:16 PM
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past 40 Wall Street, also known as the Trump Building, in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., January 19, 2022.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

By Jonathan Stempel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Cushman & Wakefield (NYSE:CWK), which appraised several properties belonging to Donald Trump, on Wednesday appealed "each and every part" of an order finding it in contempt of court related to subpoenas in a civil probe into whether the former U.S. president manipulated asset values.

Justice Arthur Engoron of a New York state court in Manhattan had on Tuesday found Cushman, one of the world's largest real estate companies, in contempt and imposed a $10,000-a-day fine starting on July 7.

He chastised Cushman for waiting until after its latest deadline to seek more time to comply with New York Attorney General Letitia James' subpoenas, saying it "has only itself to blame if it chose to treat the looming deadlines cavalierly."

Engoron acknowledged that James sought an "enormous" number of documents from Cushman, but said state law allowed subpoenas of that breadth.

In a court filing, Cushman asked a state appeals court in Manhattan to reverse Engoron's contempt finding and allow more time to comply with the subpoenas.

Cushman has said it produced several hundred thousand pages of documents and more than 650 appraisals since February, and rejected any suggestion it has not acted in good faith.

A spokeswoman for James did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

James, a Democrat, is investigating whether Trump and his family business, the Trump Organization, inflated the values of golf clubs, hotels and other real estate to obtain favorable loans and reduced the values to save on taxes.

Her office's ability to gather documents is important as it prepares to question Trump and two of his adult children, Donald Trump Jr and Ivanka Trump, under oath beginning on July 15.

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: People walk outside 40 Wall Street, also known as the Trump Building, in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, U.S., January 19, 2022.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Trump, a Republican, has called James' probe a politically motivated "witch hunt."

He paid $110,000 in fines after Engoron held him in contempt on April 25. The judge lifted that contempt order last week.

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