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Cushman & Wakefield held in contempt in probe of Donald Trump company

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Latest York State Attorney General, Letitia James, speaks during a news conference, to announce criminal justice reform in Latest York City, May 21, 2021.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

A Latest York judge held real estate services giant Cushman & Wakefield in contempt of court for refusing to comply with subpoenas demanding documents sought by the state attorney general for her civil investigation of former President Donald Trump’s company.

Cushman may have to pay a $10,000-a-day effective, starting Wednesday, until it complies with the subpoenas related to the firm’s work for the Trump Organization, Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron said within the contempt order issued Tuesday night.

Engoron in that order wrote that Chicago-based Cushman engaged in “willful non-compliance with Court-ordered deadlines” for turning over the documents.

The ruling got here lower than per week after Engoron lifted a contempt order against Trump himself.

Each contempt findings were imposed for failure to totally comply with subpoenas issued by the office of Attorney General Letitia James.

James is investigating allegations that the Trump Organization improperly stated valuations of a few of its real estate assets for financial advantages, including higher loan and insurance rates, and tax benefits.

The Trump Organization and the previous president deny any wrongdoing.

The subpoenas issued to Cushman seek information concerning the firm’s work for the Trump Organization through the years, which included performing appraisals and providing brokerage services for multiple properties.

James’ office has said Cushman has “refused to comply with subpoenas for information related to its appraisals of three Trump-owned properties,” in addition to “details about Cushman’s larger business relationship with the Trump Organization.”

A spokesperson for Cushman told NBC News that Engoron in his contempt finding “demonstrates a failure to know the acute lengths Cushman has gone to comply with the court’s order.”

“We’ve got gone to great expense and energy to quickly discover, collect, review and produce the large set of documents requested by the OAG, and we’ve now produced over lots of of 1000’s of pages of documents and over 650 appraisals for the reason that last subpoena was issued in February 2022,” the spokesperson said in a press release.

Cushman “disagrees with any suggestion that the firm has not exercised diligence and good faith in complying with the court’s order, and we might be appealing this decision,” the statement said.

Engoron’s contempt order noted that in April he ordered Cushman to comply with the subpoenas inside one month. The firm then appealed, which delayed the deadline for compliance until late June.

Two days after that deadline passed, Cushman asked the judge to grant either a protective order or a time extension.

James’ office urged Engoron to reject that request for more time. Cushman replied that it’s doing all it may well to comply with the subpoenas.

On Tuesday, the judge sided with the attorney general’s office, saying he was “incredulous” as to why Cushman would wait until after its court-ordered deadline to ask for more time.

The firm’s lack of timeliness “is fatal to its motion” since it “fails to discover any good cause for filing its motion after its time to comply had already lapsed,” Engoron wrote.

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But even when it had asked for an extension before the deadline, the judge wrote, Cushman’s motion “still fails on the merits” because it had already been unsuccessful in a previous try to quash the subpoenas.

Engoron acknowledged that the subpoenas require Cushman “to provide an infinite variety of documents.”

However the law “allows for subpoenas of this breadth,” the judge wrote.

Cushman “has only itself guilty if it selected to treat the looming deadlines cavalierly,” Engoron added.

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