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Trump Organization Warned by Judge to Obey N.Y. Subpoenas

·3 min read

(Bloomberg) -- Former President Donald Trump’s company will have to hire an outside firm to search its documents if it doesn’t soon fully comply with subpoenas issued by New York Attorney General Letitia James, a judge warned.

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The Trump Organization has until Sept. 30 to file a report on its efforts to preserve, collect and produce all documents responsive to subpoenas issued by James as part of a civil probe into whether the company manipulated the value of its assets for loans and tax breaks, state court Justice Arthur Engoron said in a Sept. 2 order unsealed on Friday.

If the attorney general isn’t satisfied with the Trump Organization’s efforts, the Manhattan-based company will have to hire an outside firm to oversee compliance, Engoron ruled. The order was part of a stipulation signed by lawyers for the state and the company in the civil case.

“For more than a year now, the Trump Organization has failed to adequately respond to our subpoenas, hiding behind procedural delays and excuses,” the attorney general said in a statement.

James sued in August 2020 to enforce about half a dozen subpoenas, including one issued to the company’s former tax attorney. The probe is separate from the recent criminal prosecution of the Trump Organization and its longtime chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, which James’s office is pursuing in cooperation with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.

The Trump Organization’s press office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The government’s search would include devices issued to about two dozen people involved with the company, including Trump and three of his adult children, Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump, according to the court filing.

The civil investigation has been marked by disputes over enforcement of the subpoenas. In January, a law firm that had recently cut ties with Trump’s real estate company was ordered by Engoron to hand over records that were being improperly shielded by attorney-client privilege.

In December, Engoron found Trump’s company was improperly using attorney-client privilege to cover communications with its former land-use lawyer and an engineer whose work was used to appraise a property at the center of the probe.

Read More: Eric Trump Testifies in New York Probe of Asset Valuations

A focus of the attorney general is the appraisal of Seven Springs, a property on 212 acres in Westchester County, outside New York City. James is examining whether Trump’s company gave an accurate valuation for the property when it served as the basis for about $21.1 million in tax deductions for donating a conservation easement for the 2015 tax year.

The investigation is looking into transactions involving a neo-Gothic Trump skyscraper in Manhattan called 40 Wall Street, as well as the Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago and a Los Angeles golf club, court records show.

(Updates with detail from the order.)

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