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Manhattan judge said Thursday he will appoint an independent monitor for former President Donald Trump’s real estate empire, restricting his company’s ability to freely make deals, sell assets and change its corporate structure.
Judge Arthur Engoron ordered the outside watchdog for the Trump Organization as he presides over a lawsuit in which New York Attorney General Letitia James alleges Trump and the company routinely misled banks and others about the value of prized assets, including golf courses and hotels bearing his name.
James’ office says the Trump Organization is continuing to engage in fraud and has taken steps to dodge potential penalties from the lawsuit, such as incorporating a new entity in Delaware named Trump Organization LLC — almost identical to the original company’s name — in September, just before the lawsuit was filed.
Engoron, in an 11-page order, barred the Trump Organization from selling or transferring any noncash assets without giving the court and James’ office 14 days’ notice. The to-be-named monitor will be charged with ensuring the company’s compliance and will immediately report any violations to the court and lawyers for both sides.
The Trump Organization must also grant the monitor access to its financial statements, asset valuations and other disclosures, must provide a full and accurate description of the company’s structure and must give the monitor at least 30 days notice of any potential restructuring, refinancing or asset sales, Engoron said.
The company must also pay for the monitor, he said.
Engoron’s decision to appoint a monitor is just the latest ruling he’s made against Trump or his interest. While presiding over disputes over subpoenas issued in James’ investigation, the judge, a Democrat, held Trump in contempt and fined him $110,000 after he was slow to turn over documents, and he forced him to sit for a deposition. In that testimony, Trump invoked his Fifth Amendment protection against self-incrimination more than 400 times.