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Spotlight on Trump's Flagship Properties

New York prosecutors are Investigating Loans Trump Took on Four Buildings, including his flagship Trump Tower. 

Manhattan prosecutors are examining loans Mr. Trump took out on his flagship Fifth Avenue building, Trump Tower; 40 Wall St., an art deco skyscraper in New York City’s Financial District; Trump International Hotel and Tower, a hotel and condominium building at Columbus Circle; and Trump Plaza, an apartment building on Manhattan’s East Side. 

All of the loans under scrutiny were made to Mr. Trump by subsidiaries of Ladder Capital Corp. a New York City-based real-estate investment trust, the people said. Since 2012, Ladder Capital has lent Mr. Trump more than $280 million for the four Manhattan buildings, according to property records.

Lawyers for Mr. Trump and the Trump Organization declined to comment. Mr. Trump has called the probe a partisan “witch hunt” led by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. , a Democrat.

While the focus of prosecutors’ interest in Mr. Trump’s properties and loans isn’t known, they could be looking for discrepancies between loan documents and financial information submitted elsewhere by Mr. Trump, such as that on tax returns or submitted to an insurance company, legal experts said. Writing false information on a loan application with the intention of getting financial benefits one isn’t entitled to can be a crime under New York law, according to legal experts.

Seven Springs Estate Subpoena

In addition to scrutiny on Trump Towers, Manhattan Prosecutors Subpoena Records About Trump’s Seven Springs Estate.

Manhattan prosecutors have subpoenaed records relating to President Trump’s sprawling Seven Springs estate north of New York City, according to people familiar with the matter, expanding the known scope of the only publicly disclosed criminal investigation into the president and his business.

Some of the information requested by Manhattan prosecutors relates to the president’s valuation of Seven Springs, which he bought for $7.5 million in 1995 and in 2012 said was worth almost $300 million as he tried to develop it into a luxury residential community. Inflating assets to help secure loans or other financial benefits can be a state criminal offense, legal experts said.

An appraisal prepared by real-estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield and sent to Mr. Trump in 2016 valued the property at $56.5 million based on what the appraisers cited as its development potential. 

The Trump Organization spent about two decades unsuccessfully attempting to develop Seven Springs. The company first attempted to build a golf course on the property, but dropped its plans after opposition from local residents. It then spent years working to gain approvals for a subdivision of luxury homes.

Manhattan prosecutors are also examining whether Mr. Trump improperly classified the property on tax documents, according to a person familiar with the matter. The New York Times reported that in 2014, Mr. Trump classified Seven Springs as an investment property, which allows for certain tax benefits, instead of a personal residence. The Trump Organization website says the estate is used as a retreat for the Trump family.

Prosecutors from Mr. Vance’s office have previously sought information from the president’s longtime lender, Deutsche Bank AG , and his insurance broker, Aon PLC. A spokeswoman for Aon confirmed the firm had received a subpoena. Prosecutors have also subpoenaed Deutsche Bank and interviewed firm employees, according to a person familiar with the matter.

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Just a Start of Trump's Legal Problems

This was expected in many corners including mine. 

And it is just a start of what is to come. 

As noted on February 11, A Criminal Investigation of Trump's Attempt to Influence the 2020 Election Has Begun.

It's hard to run a campaign from the courthouse. 

It's even harder to run one from prison.