IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Monitor to oversee Trump Org transactions following fraud claims

A New York state judge said Donald Trump and his business are so untrustworthy, the Trump Organization's financial transactions will have to be monitored.


Starting around 1 a.m. eastern, Donald Trump used his social media platform to lash out wildly at a New York judge, describing the jurist as a “Radical Left Lunatic” and “a partisan disaster.” About six hours later, the former president kept the rant going, condemning a “biased Judge, who is totally controlled by my worst enemies. His rulings and manner are SICK.”

The Republican didn’t go into any detail as to why he was throwing the online tantrum, or even which judge had him so worked up, but given the circumstances, there’s no great mystery here.

As NBC News reported, a New York state judge yesterday ordered an independent monitor to oversee the Trump Organization’s financial statements.

State Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron signed off on a preliminary injunction that also blocks former President Donald Trump’s company from transferring assets without court approval. In his ruling, Engoron said the company must also make the monitor aware of all its holdings and assets and give 30 days’ notice of any restructuring at the company and any plans for “disposing or refinancing of significant Trump Organization assets.” (Supreme Court is the name of New York state’s top trial court.)

Given “defendants’ propensity to engage in persistent fraud, failure to grant such an injunction could result in extreme prejudice to the people of New York,” the judge explained.

In other words, the New York state judge said Trump and his business are so untrustworthy, the Trump Organization's financial transactions will have to be monitored.

In case anyone needs a fresher as to how we arrived at this point, it was just two months ago when New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a sweeping civil case against Trump, his controversial business, and three of his adult children, as part of a lengthy investigation into the Trump Organization’s allegedly fraudulent business practices. State prosecutors documented more than 200 instances of suspected fraud.

The same day James filed the civil action against the Trump Organization, the Republican’s company filed paperwork to register a new company, to be called Trump Organization II. (That’s not a joke. That’s the actual name.)

Soon after, James returned to court, asking a judge to stop Trump from transferring the company’s assets. What’s more, the New York Democrat argued that the former president’s operation appeared to be “taking steps to restructure its business to evade the reaches” of the ongoing case, and has “refused to provide any assurance that it will not seek to move assets out of New York to evade legal accountability.”

Alina Habba, a lawyer representing Trump in the case, said in a statement that the business “has no intention of doing anything improper.” Judge Engoron apparently didn’t find those assurances persuasive — and so an independent, court-approved monitor will oversee matters, ensuring the Trump Organization doesn’t do anything untoward.

The former president and his business might’ve avoided this, were it not for, as the judge put it, their “propensity to engage in persistent fraud.”

Adding insult to injury, Engoron’s ruling will force the Trump Organization to pay for the monitor, which helps explain the Republican’s online fit.

And speaking of Trump’s online fits, the former president also published some related missives this week, boasting about a new lawsuit he’d filed in Florida against the New York attorney general. It’s not smart, as The New York Times reported, Trump’s own lawyers warned that the frivolous case might constitute malpractice.

A tirade of a lawsuit that Donald J. Trump filed on Wednesday against one of his chief antagonists, the New York attorney general, was hotly opposed by several of his longstanding legal advisers, who attempted an intervention hours before it was submitted to a court. Those opposed to the suit told the Florida attorneys who drafted it that it was frivolous and would fail, according to people with knowledge of the matter. The loudest objection came from the general counsel of Mr. Trump’s real estate business, who warned that the Floridians might be committing malpractice.

Naturally, Trump ignored his lawyers and the fundamentally unserious civil case was filed in Florida anyway.

The lawsuit reads, “As a private company, nobody knew very much about the great business that then-businessman Donald Trump had built but now it is being revealed by James and much to her chagrin. The continuing witch hunt that has haunted and targeted Donald Trump since he came down the ‘golden escalator’ at Trump Tower in June of 2015 continues.

“President Trump built a great and prosperous company but a company nevertheless that must be carefully, delicately, yet powerfully managed, and the appointment of a political monitor or the interference by a political hack like James who is using this lawsuit for political gain, would bring great harm to the company, the brand, the employees and its overall reputation.”

Remember, this is a legal filing, not a political press release.

By any fair measure, the lawsuit will fail spectacularly, though it’s unlikely that Trump will care about the outcome: The case appears to be little more than a primal scream intended to make the Republican feel better, not a legitimate legal exercise intended to seek justice.