Real estate company held in contempt by New York judge in Trump inquiry

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A New York judge held a commercial real estate firm that appraised several Trump Organization properties in contempt for failing to hand over documents related to a civil investigation into former President Donald Trump’s business practices.

Cushman & Wakefield failed to comply with subpoenas issued by New York Attorney General Letitia James’s office and will be fined $10,000 per day until it produces the requested documents, starting Thursday.

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“Cushman & Wakefield has only itself to blame if it chose to treat the looming deadlines cavalierly,” Judge Arthur Engoron wrote in a contempt order filed Tuesday.

Engoron acknowledged that the subpoenas issued by the attorney general’s office required an “enormous” number of documents, though he said a previous court ruling allowed for “subpoenas of this breadth.”

The attorney general’s office served Cushman & Wakefield in September 2021 and February 2022. The real estate firm only partially responded to the subpoenas before advising the attorney general’s office that it would not provide the remaining records in March, Engoron said.

After a series of court appeals, the firm was ordered to comply in full with the subpoenas on June 27. The daily fine if the firm does not comply is set to be paid to the attorney general’s office.

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The subpoenaed documents are part of a lengthy civil inquiry by James into business practices by the Trump Organization. James has said in previous filings that the investigation has uncovered evidence the Trump Organization improperly manipulated its asset valuations for tax and business purposes.

Trump has written off the investigation as a “witch hunt,” denying any wrongdoing.