Banks and insurance companies trying to keep the public in the dark about their business dealings with Donald Trump faced a glimmer of legal light Tuesday when a judge ruled that he could not seal records before the New York attorney. do. The General’s upcoming lawsuit against the real estate mogul.
A handful of Trump-linked companies made a last-ditch effort to cover up documents that revealed how they unwittingly became part of the Trump Organization’s alleged scheme to amass wealth. But the judge, Arthur F. Engoron ruled that — in addition to information such as home addresses and bank account numbers of some employees — the public has a right to see documents and communications.
The former president is just 34 days away from going to a civil trial in New York City, where his personal finances will be put under the microscope while the state’s AG reveals on official documents the damage to his corporation was exaggerated. tried to deliver.
But as that trial draws closer, the companies that loaned him hundreds of millions of dollars in business deals are quietly trying to hide — and hide the paperwork that shows how they messed around. Did.
Zurich American Insurance Company, WSFS Bank, Ladder Capital and others earlier this month asked the judge overseeing the case to seal documents detailing how they communicated with them when valuing the Trump Organization’s assets. Details were given.
Some of these records are the backbone of AG Letitia James’ $250 million lawsuit against Trump, which allegedly shows how the real estate mogul and members of the family he built got away with minimal scrutiny — fictional By claiming financial numbers that were not carefully vetted. If they were, auditors and loan officers would have realized that Trump was conveniently doubling and tripling the value of the property in order to obtain better bank loans and insurance policies.
Zurich on its part claims some documents – which have already reached the court as evidence – “contain highly sensitive, non-public proprietary information about Zurich’s insurance business, including Zurich’s highly guarded underwriting. guidelines” and “competitively sensitive” financial information.”
Meanwhile, lawyers for WSFS Bank complained that reporters have been trying to reach one of their employees about her role in a business lifeline involving Trump’s property north of New York City — a failed development project that he still downplayed. Gave it as if it was a success. He donated land for conservation and obtained massive tax exemptions.
The bank complained earlier this month, “An employee who has already been publicly linked to the Seven Springs loan receives unsolicited media inquiries every time the matter is in the news, which she describes as ‘disruptive and disturbing. Vala’ finds.”
The AG dismissed the court documents, citing the need for the American public in a democratic society to have access to ongoing court battles. His lawyers also cited legal precedent that “neither the potential for embarrassment or damage to reputation, nor the general desire for privacy, constitutes a good reason to seal court records.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Judge Angorone said he would allow the companies to hide personal information, but he sided with the AG that most documents should remain in the open.
“Here, the non-parties have failed to demonstrate a compelling interest in favor of wholesale sealing that exceeds the presumption in favor of the public’s right of access and open judicial proceedings,” Angorone wrote.