New York Attorney General Letitia James filed court papers Thursday seeking to stop former President Donald Trump from transferring assets from his namesake real estate company, the latest move in her civil case alleging years of fraudulent practices.
The motion for a preliminary injunction says Trump Organization representatives created a new company with the same name in Delaware six days before James' office brought the suit. The company then filed paperwork to register Trump Organization II LLC in New York on Sept. 21, the same day the civil action was filed.
According to the motion filed in New York Supreme Court, lawyers for the Trump Organization told James’ office that the company had not taken any steps to avoid the consequences of the suit and offered to provide "assurances and advance notice" to address any concerns. But James sought the intervention of a judge after the Trump Organization attorneys failed to provide a "concrete mechanism" to enforce the offer, the court filing says.
“Our investigation uncovered the fact that Donald Trump and the Trump Organization engaged in significant fraud to inflate his personal net worth by billions of dollars to illegally enrich himself and cheat the system,” James said in a statement. “Since we filed this sweeping lawsuit last month, Donald Trump and the Trump Organization have continued those same fraudulent practices and taken measures to evade responsibility. Today, we are seeking an immediate stop to these actions because Mr. Trump should not get to play by different rules.”
Alina Habba, a lawyer representing Trump in the case, said in a statement that the filing is "nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt to keep this case with Justice Engoron rather than have it transferred to the Commercial Division where it belongs."
"We have repeatedly provided assurance, in writing, that the Trump Organization has no intention of doing anything improper," Habba added. "This is simply another stunt which Ms. James hopes will aid her failing political campaign.”
Justice Arthur Engoron is a judge of the state Supreme Court, the name for New York’s primary trial court.
A spokesperson for the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The move comes about three weeks after James sued Trump, his three eldest children and the Trump Organization in connection with her civil investigation into the company’s business practices.
James accused Trump of inflating his personal net worth to attract favorable loan agreements and engaging in more than 200 instances of fraud over 10 years.
James’ office is seeking to permanently bar the Trump family from serving as officers of New York-based companies and prevent Trump and his company from entering into commercial real estate acquisitions in the state for five years. She is also seeking about $250 million in penalties.
Trump's lawyers previously dismissed the suit as a politically motivated attack “neither focused on the facts nor the law.” A Trump Organization spokesman described it as a “culmination of nearly three years of persistent, targeted, unethical political harassment.”
James’ office is also requesting the court’s permission to serve Trump and his son Eric electronically. She said the two men and their lawyers have refused to accept service of the complaints for almost a month.
James’ motion also requests that any new financial disclosures to banks and insurers include all supporting material and asks for the appointment of an independent monitor to oversee compliance with those measures.