The Trump Organization’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars, is resigning and saying financial data provided from 2011 to 2020 should no longer be relied upon, according to court documents filed Tuesday in New York.
Mazars’ unusual retraction regarding the accuracy of the Trump Organization’s decade-long financial statements comes as New York Attorney General Letitia James pursues a multi-year civil investigation into former President Donald Trump’s real estate finances.
James’ office claims the Trump firm used fraudulent and misleading asset valuations and wants Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump to testify under oath about their financial dealings on multiple real estate transactions.
Here are five key Trump properties listed by the attorney general’s office in January as part of its investigation, including the valuations it is focusing on:
- 40 Wall Street in the financial district of New York. Valuations range from $735.4 million to $257 million in 2015.
Donald Trump’s triplex apartment in trump tower at 725 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. The Trump Organization CEO admitted in testimony to the Attorney General that the value of the apartment was overstated by $200 million “more or less.”
- Seven springs in Westchester County, New York. Financial investigation of over 80% drop in property value to $56 million in 2016 from 2012 estimate.
- Trump International Golf Club Scotland. The valuation used in Trump’s 2011 financial statements was $161 million, climbing to $435.56 million in 2014 with the inclusion of unapproved development rights, according to the attorney general’s filing.
- Trump Park Avenue Residential complex. Financial statements say the property made up $135 million to $350 million of Trump’s assets from 2011 to 2020. James’ office says unsold units make up a large portion of the declared value.
“We’ve seen accounting firms issue qualifying statements, typically covering the last year,” Norm Miller, professor of real estate finance at the University of San Diego School of Business, told MarketWatch by phone. “I don’t know anyone who goes back 10 years.”
“What they’re basically saying is ‘we’re under pressure and gotten bad data for the past 10 years, and now we know not to be trusted,'” Miller said. “That would normally be a very detrimental statement and would likely remove the ability to refinance properties from any US bank, for some time.”
The Trump Organization said it was “disappointed that Mazars chose to separate,” in a statement to MarketWatch. He also claimed that the investigations by James, and another by the Manhattan District Attorney, had been rendered “moot” by the Mazars’ letter to the Trump Organization, stating that his review of all prior financial statements did not had revealed no material anomaly.
Mazars’ letter (see highlighting provided by MarketWatch) specifically stated that “based on the totality of the circumstances, we believe that our advice to no longer rely on these financial statements is appropriate.”
The Trump Organization did not respond when MarketWatch asked how Mazars’ letter revoking its support for a decade of financials might impact specific buildings or the overall future funding of Trump properties.
40 Wall Street in “distress”
About two months after Trump officially announced his candidacy for president in June 2015, he secured funding for a longtime Wall Street fixture, once briefly the world’s tallest building.
That year, the 71-story 40 Wall Street was appraised at $540 million, a valuation that helped Ladder Capital Corp. LADR,
lending Trump $160 million for the office and retail tower, according to CredIQ, which tracks commercial property data.
Monthly updates from bondholders show Trump still owes $132 million on the loan, according to CredIQ data, which indicates that payments remained current, but the loan was classified as “in distress”, with occupancy falling to 86% in November 2021. , down from 98% at the time the loan was granted. Ladder did not respond to a request for comment.
The debt, backed by a personal guarantee of up to $26 million from Trump, matures in July 2025.
But before that, the Trump Organization also has a $100 million mortgage expiring in September 2022 on the commercial portion of 725 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, according to CredIQ, a building more commonly known as Trump Tower.