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Judge orders Cushman & Wakefield to comply with AG's subpoena in Trump probe

Judge orders Cushman & Wakefield to comply with AG's subpoena in Trump probe
Former President Donald Trump supporters watch his speech on a large screen during a rally in Delaware, Ohio on Saturday. On Monday, a New York judge ordered Cushman & Wakefield to comply with subpoenas concerning an investigation into his business practices. Photo by Aaron Josefczyk/UPI | License Photo

April 26 (UPI) -- A New York judge has ordered commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield to comply with subpoenas served it by New York Attorney General Letitia James concerning her investigation into the Trump Organization's finances.

The order from Judge Arthur Engoron of the New York County State Supreme Court was issued on Monday, hours after he held former President Donald Trump in contempt for not complying with a subpoena James had served the former president as part of the same investigation.

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"For the second time today, a judge has made clear that no one is above the law," James said in a statement. "Cushman & Wakefield's work for Donald J. Trump and the Trump Organization is clearly relevant to our investigation, and we are pleased that has now been confirmed by the court."

James has been investigating Trump and his organization for more than two years on allegations that the former president inflated the value of his properties to obtained favorable loans but deflated them to lower his taxes.

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In January, James revealed several properties under scrutiny, including Seven Springs in Westchester, 40 Wall Street in Manhattan and Trump National Golf Course in Los Angeles, and had issued subpoenas to Cushman & Wakefield for information related to its appraisals of those three proprieties.

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Earlier this month, she asked the court to force the real estate firm to comply as it had refused to hand over the information asked of it.

"There should be no doubt that information about Cushman's appraisal work for the Trump Organization is relevant to our efforts that Cushman -- like any other party -- cannot defy a lawful subpoena because no one is above the law," James said in a statement April 8.

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James' office has said that Cushman & Wakefield had issued "multiple appraisals" for 40 Wall Street, including three between 2010 and 2012 valuing the property at $220 million but in 2015 an appraisal by the same team and used to secure a loan found it to be worth $550 million.

For Seven Springs and Trump National Golf Club, James' office said it has evidence indicating the Trump Organization filed fraudulent or misleading valuations to the Internal Revenue Service that were used to obtain tax deductions.

Cushman & Wakefield told CNBC in an emailed statement that it stands behind its assessments and appraisers.

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"While we acknowledge today's ruling, any suggestion that Cushman & Wakefield has not responded in good faith to the attorney general's investigation continues to be fundamentally untrue," the company said, adding, it has "devoted significant time, resource and expense" to cooperate with James' probe including handing over thousands of pieces of information.

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