Former president Donald Trump has claimed his accounting form stopped working for his company after 'vicious intimidation tactics' by New York's Democrat Attorney General forced them to quit.
In a statement on Tuesday night, he also said he estimates his net worth to be around $8billion, as questions over his finances mount up.
Trump's claims came after Mazars USA LLP informed the Trump Organization that a decade's worth of its financial statements 'should no longer be relied upon' – and asserted it now has a 'conflict of interest' with the company.
New York's AG Letitia James will go to court on Thursday seeking to enforce a subpoena for Trump's testimony in a civil investigation she says uncovered evidence his company used 'fraudulent or misleading' valuations of golf clubs, skyscrapers and other properties to get loans and tax benefits.
In a letter posted to the court docket as evidence, Mazars urged the Trump Organization on February 9 to inform anyone who'd been given his Statement of Financial Condition, such as banks and insurers, that 'those documents should not be relied upon.'
The firm said that while it hadn't found 'material discrepancies' in reviewing the documents, it said the 'totality of the circumstances' made it imprudent to use them going forward.
In response, Trump issued the lengthy statement on Tuesday night alleging that the accounting firm cut ties with him because it had faced 'vicious intimidation tactics' from authorities investigating him.
Former president Donald Trump (pictured in January) has claimed his accounting form stopped working for his company after 'vicious intimidation tactics' and said he estimates his net worth to be around $8billion, as questions over his finances mount up
'Mazars has been threatened, harassed, and insulted like virtually no other firm has ever been,' Trump said in the four-page statement.
He said the decision by Mazars 'to withdraw was clearly a result of the AG's and DA's vicious intimidation tactics used—also on other members of the Trump Organization.
'Mazars, who were scared beyond belief, in conversations with us made it clear that they were willing to do or say anything to stop the constant threat which has gone against them for years,' Trump continued.
The 45th president of the US said his net worth is 'approximately $8 to $9 billion' based on the value of his brand and 'current enthusiasm and transactions which have or will take place,' far higher than recent estimates in financial publications.
Forbes, whose editor testified before a grand jury investigating Trump, pegged his worth at $2.5 billion as of last September.
James said in a statement previewing Thursday's arguments that given the evidence, including Mazars' findings, 'there should be no doubt that this is a lawful investigation and that we have legitimate reason' to question Trump under oath.
The hearing, before state Judge Arthur Engoron in Manhattan, is the next step in a legal battle that has unfolded in court papers over the last few weeks, including the revelation Monday that Trump's longtime accounting firm recently dumped him after warning that financial statements it prepared could not be trusted.
Trump's lawyers had argued those financial statements were truthful, and attempts to pick them apart over what they characterized as minor mistakes or omissions were politically motivated.
The Associated Press contacted several of Trump's lenders to see what, if any, effect the Mazars letter would have on Trump's existing financial arrangements, including the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of loans that investigators said were secured using the Statements of Financial Condition.
They either didn't respond or declined comment, citing policies barring them from speaking about clients.
New York's attorney general will go to court on Thursday seeking to enforce a subpoena for Trump's testimony in a civil investigation she says uncovered evidence his company used 'fraudulent or misleading' valuations of golf clubs, skyscrapers and other properties to get loans and tax benefits. Pictured: Trump International Hotel seen in Washington D.C.
In his statement, Trump went on to praise his company's 'fantastic assets that are unique, extremely valuable and, in many cases, far more valuable than what was listed in our Financial Statements.'
Trump also attacked the District Attorney, suggesting he was being unfairly targeted, and that he was on the end of a racial attack by James and Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg - who are both black.
'It doesn't get any worse than that! After five years of constant bombardment, this political and racist attack must stop. Look to the murderers, drug dealers and rapists instead!' Trump wrote.
Earlier in his statement, he attacked the pair over New York's rising crime rates, and said they should be focusing on that.
'Murder and other crimes in Manhattan and New York have gone through the roof, some crimes by as much as 100% as the Democrat run DA and AG spends historic amounts of time, energy and money trying to "get Trump".' he said.
Trump's lawyers have pointed to Mazars declaration that it hadn't found any substantial discrepancies in the documents as more evidence that the former president's company did nothing wrong.
The same legal fight also involves subpoenas that James issued to Trump's two eldest children, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., both trusted allies of their father who've been executives in their family's Trump Organization.
In challenging the subpoenas, lawyers for the Trumps argue that any testimony they give in James' civil probe could be then used against them in a parallel and sometimes overlapping criminal investigation - although they could invoke their Fifth Amendment right to remain silent, as others in Trump's orbit have.
New York Attorney General Letitia James accuses Trump of using 'fraudulent' asset valuations to get benefits. Attorney General Letitia James said in a statement previewing Thursday's arguments that given the evidence, including Mazars' findings, 'there should be no doubt that this is a lawful investigation and that we have legitimate reason' to question Trump under oath
'Mazars has been threatened, harassed, and insulted like virtually no other firm has ever been,' Trump said in the four-page statement. He said the decision by Mazars 'to withdraw was clearly a result of the AG's and DA's vicious intimidation tactics used—also on other members of the Trump Organization.' Pictured: The Trump international hotel is seen in Washington, DC, on February 15, 2022
James' investigation itself is civil in nature, meaning she could bring a lawsuit and seek financial penalties against Trump or his company, or even a ban on them being involved in certain types of businesses.
This happened last month when a judge barred ex-drug company CEO Martin Shkreli from the pharmaceutical industry for life.
Court documents indicate that James has at least until April to decide on whether to take legal action.
Engoron, the judge hearing Thursday's arguments, previously sided with James on other matters relating to the probe, including making another Trump son, Trump Organization executive Eric Trump, testify after his lawyers abruptly canceled a scheduled deposition.
Eric Trump and Trump Organization finance chief Allen Weisselberg each invoked the Fifth Amendment more than 500 times when questioned by James' lawyers during separate depositions in 2020, according to court papers.
Last summer, spurred by evidence uncovered in James' civil investigation, the Manhattan district attorney's office charged Weisselberg and the Trump Organization with tax fraud, alleging he collected more than $1.7 million in off-the-books compensation, including apartment rent, car payments and school tuition.
Weisselberg and the company have pleaded not guilty.
Trump has responded to both New York investigations by decrying the probes as part of a partisan 'witch hunt.' Both James and Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg are Democrats.
Last year, Trump lost a multiyear fight to block the DA's office from obtaining his tax returns. In December, he sued James in federal court, seeking to put an end to her investigation.
In court papers ahead of Thursday's hearing, Trump's lawyers doubled down on his contention that James was after him for political purposes, writing that she had 'relentlessly targeted' Trump, his family, company and associates 'because of her dislike of his speech and political views.'
Trump Org's accountants QUIT after saying ex-President's past decade of financial statements can NOT be 'relied upon'
The longtime accounting firm for former President Donald Trump has informed his company that a decade's worth of its financial statements 'should no longer be relied upon' – and asserts it now has a 'conflict of interest' with the company.
The letter from the firm cites in part its own investigation to say that while there are not 'as a whole, material discrepancies' in the documents, that it is their 'advice' to no longer 'rely' on them.
Included on the letter was what is referred to as a Bates Number which read 00525838, which means Mazars could have handed over at least 525,838 files to prosecutors.
The withdrawal marks a stunning departure for the firm that has been the center of years worth of lawsuits regarding Trump's financial information, including a fight that went all the way to the Supreme Court .
James released a letter from Mazars to the Trump Organization
Included on the letter was what is referred to as a Bates Number which read 00525838, which means Mazars could have handed over at least 525,838 files to prosecutors
Happy Valentine's Day: The letter tells the company to file return information Tuesday to avoid a $10,000 penalty
Adding to the sting, the firm noted that Donald and Melania Trump's returns are due Tuesday – and that they face a filing penalty of $10,000 per return if they miss the deadline.
'We are not able to provide any new work product to the Trump Organization,' the firm wrote in a Feb. 9 letter to the company's chief legal officer, Alan Garten.
The letter ending the long-term financial relationship comes amid an investigation where the AG is already accusing the company of using 'fraudulent or misleading asset valuations to obtain a host of economic benefits.'
It tells the company that its Statements of Financial Condition – which the Trump Organization in the past has provided to media members and lenders alike – can no longer be relied upon.
Lawyers for the AG's office submitted the letter in a court filing as they seek to compel Trump, the firm, and Trump family members to comply with subpoenas seeking documents and testimony.
'We write to advise that the Statements of Financial Condition for Donald J. Trump for the years ending June 30, 2011 - June 30, 2020 should no longer be relied upon and you should inform any recipients thereof who are currently relying upon one or more of those documents that those documents should not be relied upon,' according to the letter from Mazars, dated Feb. 9, 2022.
James' office has cited valuations on financial statements of Trump properties such as Seven Springs in New York
'We have come to this conclusion based, in part, upon the findings made by the New York Attorney General on January 18, 2022, our own investigation, and information received from internal and external sources.
'While we have not concluded that the various financial statements as a whole contain material discrepancies, based upon the totality of the circumstances, we believe our advice to you to no longer rely upon those financial statements is appropriate,' the letter continues.
'As we have stated in the statements of financial condition Mazars performed his work in accordance with professional standards. His subsequent review of those work papers confirms this,' the company wrote.
'Due in part to our decision regarding the financial statements, as well as the totality of the circumstances, we have also reached the point such that there is a non-waivable conflict of interest with the Trump Organization,' the firm continued. 'As a result, we are not able to provide any new work product to the Trump Organization,' the letter said.
It was not immediately clear what the firm meant when it referred to a conflict of interest.