Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump testified she had no role in preparing his allegedly inflated financial statements and wasn’t aware that he was claiming a net worth of more than $4 billion as she was trying to get a Trump Organization loan for the Doral golf club in Florida in 2011.
“I am not involved in his personal financial statements,” Ivanka Trump, 42, said on the witness stand Wednesday in New York’s civil fraud trial accusing the former president and his real estate company of inflating assets.
The state alleges Donald Trump had just $1.6 billion that year, when he claimed to have $4.3 billion.
Deutsche Bank AG agreed to a $130 million loan for Doral in 2011 that was personally guaranteed by Trump, according to records displayed in court. The terms originally required he maintain a net worth of $3 billion, but Ivanka Trump, who was a vice president at the company at the time, negotiated a reduction to $2.5 billion, she told Justice Arthur Engoron.
Testimony by Ivanka Trump hasn’t shown she was involved in preparing her father’s annual statements of financial condition, which are at the center of the case. But her answers, and the documents displayed to her on the witness stand, show she was deeply aware of the importance of his net worth in securing the best terms on loans.
Ivanka Trump, who worked at the Trump Organization until 2017, said she was pleased with the terms she got on the Doral loan. “It doesn’t get better than this,” she said at the time in an internal Trump Organization email that was entered into evidence. “Let’s discuss ASAP.”
The trial, over a suit filed last year by New York Attorney General Letitia James, is one of six Trump is facing as he seeks to return to the White House. He is accused of inflating his net worth by as much as $3.6 billion a year to get better terms on loans and insurance, reaping $250 million in “illegal profit” from 2011 to 2021. At stake is control of some of Trump’s biggest assets.
One of Donald Trump’s lawyers, Christopher Kise, repeatedly objected Wednesday to Ivanka Trump being questioned about the 2011 financing documents because they fall outside the statute of limitations. The state defended the line of questioning by saying the records show Trump “falsely induced” Deutsche Bank to give him loans on better terms.
Ivanka Trump also was asked about her role in helping the Trump Organization convert the Old Post Office building in Washington, DC, into a Trump luxury hotel, a project she said was one of her top priorities.
She said she didn’t remember that the US General Services Administration had questioned her father’s statement of financial condition after it was submitted as part of the company’s Old Post Office proposal. A lawyer for the state showed her an email sent to her by a GSA administrator saying the financial statement had several deficiencies that departed from generally accepted accounting principles, known as GAAP.
“I don’t recall that specifically,” she said, adding that she did remember the agency had various concerns and that she made efforts to respond to them.
Ivanka Trump is the final state witness in the trial, now in its sixth week.
Her father took the stand on Monday, using his time under oath to blast James as a “political hack” and accuse the judge of bias. In combative and sometimes rambling testimony, he denied overvaluing assets in his annual statements of financial condition and said the banks and insurers he did business with were free to do their own valuations.
His daughter, who was an executive vice president at his sprawling real estate company until early 2017, was initially sued alongside her father and brothers Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump. An appeals court this year dismissed her from the case, ruling the claims related to her alleged conduct were too old.
Trump’s three eldest children were called by the state as witnesses to explore in court how Donald Trump’s allegedly inflated financial statements were used to secure financing for key Trump Organization assets.
James is asking Engoron, who will decide the case without a jury, to make Trump and his elder sons pay back the quarter billion dollars and bar them from running a company in the state. The judge has already found Trump liable for fraud. The trial is over the remaining claims, including issuing false financial statements and conspiring to falsify business records, and will determine the penalties.
Despite her dismissal from the case as a defendant, the state issued a subpoena for Ivanka Trump’s testimony. In her unsuccessful challenge, her lawyer argued the subpoena was a form of “harassment” to bypass her dismissal from the suit, and that she no longer had sufficient ties to New York for the state court to exercise jurisdiction over her.
James’s team contended that her testimony was vital to the case because she “indisputably has personal knowledge of facts relevant to the claims” and is “financially and professionally intertwined with the Trump Organization,” even though she currently lives in Florida and is no longer an executive.
Ivanka Trump’s responsibilities at the Manhattan-based Trump Organization included securing leases and financing. The state claimed in its complaint that she was complicit in the alleged scheme led by her father because she used his inflated statements of financial condition to arrange loans from Deutsche Bank AG for properties including his luxury hotel in Washington.
Her brothers testified last week, denying any role in the creation of the annual financial documents at the center of the case. They said they relied on accountants to make sure the figures were accurate, and brushed off questions suggesting they played a part in allegedly overvaluing the assets.
The case is New York v. Trump, 452564/2022, New York State Supreme Court (Manhattan).