Donald Trump says a simple disclaimer gives him immunity from fraud. What does he want to say?


Donald Trump (right) sits with, from left, Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., July 23, 2014. Below is an excerpt from the fraud disclaimer in one of Donald Trump's annual financial statements.

Donald Trump (right) sits with, from left, Eric Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., July 23, 2014. Below is an excerpt from the fraud disclaimer in one of Donald Trump’s annual financial statements.Evan Butch/AP

Donald Trump sat in a chair supported by a gold-painted spindle under the chandelier of the glittering ballroom of Mar-a-Lago, to Sean Hannity, who sued him earlier that day in New York. Attorney General of

“I have a disclaimer,” Trump told the Fox News host.

“Head on. And basically, you know, get your own people. You’re at your own risk…it can be way off.”

Trump explained the disclaimer that fills pages two and three of his annual net worth declaration. AG Letitia James Massive Lawsuit For the former president, his three oldest children, and his real estate and golf resort empire.

James calls these statements “fraudulent” and says each one is filled with highly exaggerated mathematics.・He lent hundreds of millions of dollars to the organization.

But Trump told Hannity that it doesn’t matter because each statement of financial condition begins with a warning.

“Be careful,” Trump told Hannity, what the disclaimer essentially says.

“Because it may not be accurate. It may be quite out of place … Get your own people. Use your own lawyers,” Trump added. “Don’t rely on us.”

Armen Mollian, a former financial crimes prosecutor who worked in the AG office from 2006 to 2019 before founding Morian lawI believe Trump has an opinion.

Indeed, the Annual Financial Statements tripled the actual square footage of Trump’s triplex atop Manhattan’s Trump Tower from 2012 to 2016, adding $200 million a year to the former president’s net worth.

But each year, Morian said, the disclaimer tells banks to double-check numbers before deciding on loan amounts and interest rates.

Despite this warning, if the bank cuts Mr. Trump down anyway, as Deutsche Bank poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Miami golf clubs, Chicago skyscrapers and DC’s former post office each year. I did. With his eyes wide open, he said.

“What the disclaimer says is, ‘Please be careful when reading these financial statements,'” Morian said, adding that 10 years’ worth of financial statements were unsealed in court filings last week. After that, he said

“That’s all there is to it,” he said of the disclaimer that accompanies the annual statement by longtime Trump accountant Mazars USA.

“And it doesn’t just cover Mazar,” Morian added. Maurice “Hank” Greenberg.

“It covers Trump.”

The opening paragraph of the disclaimer in Donald Trump's 2012 Financial Condition Report.

First paragraph of disclaimer in Donald Trump’s 2012 Financial Condition Report (highlight added).Laura Italiano/Insider

Morian said these were “robust” disclaimers, stated openly rather than hidden in fine print.

“We do not audit or review the accompanying financial statements,” their first paragraph states in boilerplate that has been repeated over the years.

As such, Mazars’ accountants “do not express an opinion or warrant that the financial statements conform to generally accepted accounting principles in the United States.”

In particular, Deutsche Bank, the biggest lender to the Trump Organization and Donald Trump in the past decade, is a “sophisticated counterparty,” Morian said.

They were well aware of Trump’s bloated reputation in an industry already known to be bloated (real estate).

“All of that essentially makes the disclaimer an absolute defense,” Morian said.

A license to exaggerate? lie?

So can a business lie about its value? As Trump said, “It may not be accurate.

“There’s something wrong with that,” Morian admitted.

“But I’m having a hard time taking off my hat as a lawyer. This is a legal matter and it affects the facts and the law. It’s the game we’re playing and the Attorney General It’s a game I also play.

“It’s shocking that they filed this lawsuit,” Morian added.

But not everyone agrees. Especially Michael Cohen, the former president’s fixer-turned-critic. Filed Trump’s financial condition report from 2011 to 2013 As part of his testimony before Congress in 2019.

“The attorney general, after three years of investigative work, had not filed a more than 200-page lawsuit to deny her case by disclaimer,” Cohen told Insider.

Cohen noted that the disclaimer was written and signed by Mazars to protect him, not Trump.

These are not our numbers, Mazars essentially tells would-be lenders and we cannot guarantee their accuracy.

Diana Florence, a former Manhattan prosecutor in a complicated financial fraud case, agreed.

“Certainly, those are hurdles,” she told the insider of the disclaimer. “They weaken the case.”

But that’s not all, she said.

The AG alleges that Trump’s 10-year financial condition report contains a total of about 200 false and misleading valuations on 23 properties. Deutsche Bank “cannot be expected to track and verify literally every statement,” Florence said.

James’ lawsuit puts the financial condition report in the broadest and brightest spotlight, but it suggests that other documents could put Trump at greater risk.

Over the years, Trump or his children have personally proven to Mazar and Deutsche Bank that financial statements are accurate, or at least “fairly” represent Trump’s values. The lawsuit alleges that he signed documents for

“Trump could say, ‘If Deutsche Bank were really concerned, they could have asked for more or declined. They didn’t do any due diligence,'” Florence said. He said.

“But the nature of the incident – ​​the pattern of fraud – remains the same.”

The AG’s office and Trump’s attorney did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In February, Mazar stopped working for Trump entirely — Preparing his and Melania Trump’s tax returns — and issue the ultimate disclaimer, saying that financial statements of the past decade “should no longer be relied upon.”

A spokeswoman for Mothers declined to comment, saying, “We remain committed to meeting all our professional and legal obligations.”

Read the original article at business insider