Trump posts $175M bond to shield assets in NY fraud case

- Aysha Bagchi

Former President Donald Trump and several co-defendants in a New York civil fraud case posted a $175 million bond Monday after an appeals court ruled they didn’t have to come up with $464 million to block New York Attorney General Letitia James from seizing their assets.

The pressure had been heating up over the past month for the presumptiv­e Republican presidenti­al nominee to come up with cash or find a bonding company willing to cover the approximat­ely $454 million judgment that Trump and several of his business entities face.

Judge Arthur F. Engoron imposed the judgment, which includes interest, after concluding Trump got better loan and insurance terms by fraudulent­ly inflating the value of his assets over several years.

Trump sons Eric and Don Jr. also face judgments totaling more than $9 million and former Trump Organizati­on executive Allen Weisselber­g was ordered to pay more than $1 million.

The bond was provided by Knight Specialty Insurance Co., which has its principal place of business in Los Angeles but meets New York’s requiremen­ts to guarantee the bond is paid, according to a Monday court filing.

Assistance arrived just in time for the former president: On his March 25 deadline to come up with a deposit or bond to stave off James, a New York appeals court ruled he and his co-defendants could have an additional 10 days to post just $175 million to shield themselves from collection.

The shield lasts until Trump’s appeal runs out.

Trump celebrated in the hours after the ruling while calling the trial court’s judgment of what he owes “ridiculous and outrageous.”

James emphasized that the full judgment still stands, adding that Trump “is still facing accountabi­lity for his staggering fraud.”

Trump lawyer Alina Habba said in a statement Monday that Trump was posting the bond as “promised.”

“He looks forward to vindicatin­g his rights on appeal and overturnin­g this unjust verdict,” Habba said.

The New York Attorney General’s Office declined to comment.

‘Practical impossibil­ity’ made possible

The help came after Trump, the business entities, and the two sons told a New York appeals court on March 18 that getting a $464 million bond to cover their judgments was “a practical impossibil­ity.”

They said in a filing that they went to 30 bonding companies, and not one would cover a bond that size without collateral in the form of cash or cash equivalent­s.

The bond was provided by Knight Specialty Insurance Co., which has its principal place of business in Los Angeles but meets New York’s requiremen­ts to guarantee the bond is paid.

“Obtaining such cash through a ‘fire sale’ of real estate holdings would inevitably result in massive, irrecovera­ble losses,” they told the appeals court.

They pleaded for an order blocking James from collecting during their appeal without having to post a bond.

James’ office pushed back on some of Trump’s claims, arguing he could have tried to break up the $464 million bond into chunks with different bonding companies spreading the risk, and questionin­g the reliabilit­y of statements his lawyers submitted about the struggle to get a bond.

Trump had also previously made an emergency request with the appeals court to post just a $100 million appeal bond and have James blocked from collecting.

That was swiftly rejected by an individual appellate judge in a late February order.

However, the March 25 decision to drop the figure to $175 million came from that judge and four others. The judges didn’t explain their decision.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States