Trump’s net-worth statements start with disclaimers that essentially warn lenders: “Check my math..reports Asian Lite News
Former President Donald Trump has claimed his disclaimer clause in agreements with lenders will dismiss New York (NY) Attorney General (AG) Letitia James’ tax fraud case against him.
James had sued Trump and his three grown up children of perpetuating a fraud over a decade by overstating the net worth of their assets and securing loans and evading taxes.
Trump’s net-worth statements start with disclaimers that essentially warn lenders: “Check my math.” The statements were unsealed last week as part of James’ fraud lawsuit against Trump. Trump told Sean Hannity of Fox News the disclaimers absolve him of any responsibility and the AG has “no case”.
Trump hunched forward in his gold-painted, spindle-backed chair under the chandeliers of Mar-a-Lago’s glittering grand ballroom and told Sean Hannity why New York’s Attorney General, who’d sued him earlier that day, has “no case”, says the Business Insider.
“We have a disclaimer,” Trump told the Fox News host. “Right on the front. And it basically says, you know, get your own people. You’re at your own risk … It may be way off.”
Trump was describing the disclaimer that fills the second and third pages of his annual proclamations of net-worth – the 20-page “Statements of Financial Condition” at the center of AG Letitia James’ massive lawsuit against the former president, his three oldest kids, and his real estate and golf resort empire.
James calls these statements “fraudulent”, and says each one is filled with wildly exaggerated math – implausible numbers that misled banks into lending Trump and the New York-incorporated Trump Organization hundreds of millions of dollars over the past decade.
But Trump told Hannity none of that would matter because each Statement of Financial Condition begins with a warning. “Be careful,” Trump told Hannity the disclaimers essentially say. “Because it may not be accurate. It may be way off … get your own people. Use your own lawyers,” Trump added. “Don’t rely on us.”
Former financial crimes prosecutor Armen Morian, who worked for the AGs office from 2006 to 2019 before founding Morian Law, believes Trump has a point. Sure, the annual Statements of Financial Condition may be filled with real whoppers, including all those years – from 2012 through 2016 – when they tripled the actual square footage of Trump’s triplex atop Manhattan’s Trump Tower, adding as much as $200 million a year to the former president’s net worth.
But each year, the disclaimers put banks on notice to double check the numbers before relying on them in deciding how much to lend and at what rate of interest, Morian said. And if the banks cut Trump a good deal anyway, despite this warning – as Deutsche Bank did year after year, pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into his Miami golf club, his skyscraper in Chicago and the Old Post Office in DC – then they did so with eyes wide open, he said.
“What the disclaimers are saying is, ‘Beware when you read these financial statements,'” Morian said, after a decade’s worth of the statements were unsealed in court filings last week. “That’s all it has to do,” he said of their disclaimers, affixed to the front of each year’s statement by longtime Trump accountants Mazars USA.
“And that doesn’t cover just Mazars,” added Morian, whose AG financial fraud cases included the 13-year prosecution of insurance magnate Maurice “Hank” Greenberg. “It covers Trump.”
Morian noted that these are “robust” disclaimers – set down right in the open, not hidden in fine print. “We have not audited or reviewed the accompanying financial statement,” their first paragraphs say, in boilerplate language repeated through the years.
And so, the accountants at Mazars, “do not express an opinion or provide any assurance about whether the financial statement is in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.”