At the heart of whether or not Donald Trump committed business fraud is his financial statements given to lending institutions and possible clients.
The narrative is that Trump bloated his net worth in order to secure contracts, such as the New York City golf course he was contracted to manage, as well as securing better terms and higher amounts for loans.
Trump’s defense took a crushing blow when his tax broker testified this week.
The trial has now entered its fifth week, and it is expected to be a big one, as will be next week.
Both of Trump’s sons are slated to testify, with Ivanka Trump being called in next week. She was also supposed to testify this week, but she had a scheduling conflict, so the court pushed her back to November 8 to accommodate her.
Over and above that, the star witness for prosecutors was Donald Trump’s own tax broker, Michael Corbiciero, who admitted that Mar-a-Lago had only been valued at $26.6 million by the Palm Beach County assessor’s office.
The damaging part of the testimony was that Corbiciero admitted that while they were initially going to appeal the decision, they dropped their appeal, which, by default, is being taken that they accepted the appraisal.
At the same time, Trump had used the figure of $517 million for the property on his financial disclosures as well as having valued the property between $426 million to $612 million from 2011 to 2021.
Now, I can tell you that I looked at different property sales in the area, and the selling price was significantly higher for properties smaller than Trump’s, so it is just tough to imagine that Mar-a-Lago is not worth at least $500 million, but that is what the assessor’s office ruled and Trump’s team dropped its appeal.
If you go look on Zillow right now, there are properties for under 10,000 sq. ft., less than one-sixth of the Trump property, selling for close to $60 million, yet a property with more than 60,000 sq. ft. is only valued at $26.6M?
Attorney Andrew Amer questioned former Trump Organization Vice President Raymond Flores about this very subject, asking, “Was it your understanding that the appeal was withdrawn because the Trump Organization agreed with the value of the property assessor?”
Flores answered, “Yes.”
This is a major blow against Trump in this case, and it is one that I am not sure he will be able to recover from.
What will be interesting now is to see how his children testify. While I expect Eric and Don Jr. to back their father, it would not surprise me for one second if Ivanka protects herself to stay away from charges of perjury.