Still, the filing marked the first time that the attorney general’s office leveled such specific accusations against the former president’s company. Her broadside ratchets up the pressure on Mr. Trump as he seeks to shut down her investigation, which he has called a partisan witch hunt. Ms. James is a Democrat.
The filing came in response to Mr. Trump’s recent effort to block Ms. James from questioning him and two of his adult children under oath as part of a civil investigation of his business, the Trump Organization. Ms. James’s inquiry into Mr. Trump and the company is ongoing, and it is unclear whether her lawyers will ultimately file a lawsuit against them.
Ms. James’s filing argued that the company misstated the value of the properties to lenders, insurers and the Internal Revenue Service. Many of the statements, the filing argued, were “generally inflated as part of a pattern to suggest that Mr. Trump’s net worth was higher than it otherwise would have appeared.”
The filing outlined what Ms. James’s office termed misleading statements about the value of six Trump properties, as well as the “Trump brand.” The properties included golf clubs in Westchester County, N.Y., and Scotland, and flagship buildings such as Trump Tower and 40 Wall Street in Manhattan.
Because Ms. James’s investigation is civil, she can sue Mr. Trump and his company but cannot file criminal charges. Her inquiry is running parallel to a criminal investigation led by the Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, which is examining some of the same conduct. Lawyers from Ms. James’s office are working on that separate investigation, which is continuing. Mr. Bragg, also a Democrat, inherited the inquiry from his predecessor after taking office on Jan. 1.
Lawyers for Mr. Trump and his company could not immediately be reached for comment.
In early December, Ms. James issued a subpoena for Mr. Trump as well as for Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump, seeking to question them as part of her civil inquiry. Ms. James already questioned another of Mr. Trump’s sons, Eric Trump, in October 2020.
After receiving the subpoenas, lawyers for Mr. Trump filed a federal lawsuit seeking to halt Ms. James’s civil investigation and to bar her office from participating in the district attorney’s criminal investigation. The lawsuit, which accused Ms. James of violating Mr. Trump’s constitutional rights, argued that her investigation was politically motivated and cited a long list of her public attacks on Mr. Trump.
This month, Mr. Trump’s lawyers also filed court papers in New York State seeking to block Ms. James’s subpoenas, prompting her filing on Tuesday. Ms. James, who is running for re-election this year, has been investigating Mr. Trump’s business practices since March 2019. In previous filings, she described the properties she was scrutinizing and said that her investigators were looking into whether Mr. Trump had inflated the value of various properties across the country in order to secure loans and obtain economic and tax benefits.
The Trump InvestigationsCard 1 of 6 Numerous inquiries. Since former President Donald Trump left office, there have been many investigations and inquiries into his businesses and personal affairs. Here’s a list of those ongoing:
Investigation into criminal fraud. The Manhattan district attorney’s office and the New York attorney general’s office are investigating whether Mr. Trump or his family business, the Trump Organization, engaged in criminal fraud by intentionally submitting false property values to potential lenders. Investigation into tax evasion. As part of their investigation, in July 2021, the Manhattan district attorney’s office charged the Trump Organization and its chief financial officer with orchestrating a 15-year scheme to evade taxes. A trial in that case is scheduled for summer 2022.
Mr. Trump’s company is already under indictment in Manhattan. In July, the former district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., charged the company and its longtime chief financial officer with carrying out a 15-year scheme to dole out off-the-books luxury perks to certain executives. That case is scheduled to head to trial later this year.
In Tuesday’s filing, she went further, giving specific examples in which she said the former president’s business had misrepresented the worth of its properties and showing how those misrepresentations had benefited the company, allowing it to receive favorable loans, insurance coverage and tax benefits. Investigation into election interference. The Atlanta district attorney is conducting a criminal investigation of election interference in Georgia by Mr. Trump and his allies.