A commercial real estate company that has appraised various Trump Organization properties is being scorned by a state judge for failing to hand over documents in a civil investigation led by the New York Attorney General.
As of Thursday, Cushman & Wakefield will be fined $10,000 a day until it produces documents more than a week late at New York Attorney General Letitia James’ Office, according to a court order filed Tuesday.
James’s office has subpoenaed the documents as it considers filing a civil suit against former President Donald Trump and his company. In a previous filing, James’s office said it has found “substantial evidence demonstrating numerous misrepresentations in Mr. Trump’s financial statements provided to banks, insurers and the Internal Revenue Service.”
Trump and his company have denied any wrongdoing, with the former president at one point calling the probe “a continuation of the greatest witch hunt of all time.”
The contempt warrant is the latest development in a protracted legal battle that began when James’ office sent subpoenas against Cushman & Wakefield in September and again in February.
The real estate company had “partially responded” to the subpoenas in March before refusing to provide the remaining details, state judge Arthur Engoron said in Tuesday’s contempt warrant.
While acknowledging the “huge number of documents” requested in the investigation, Engoron said, “Cushman & Wakefield only has itself to blame if it chooses to cavalier with the looming deadlines.”
Last week, two days after a deadline to comply with subpoenas over previous delays, Cushman & Wakefield filed a request for a postponement. Engoron turned down the request on Tuesday.
“For starters, the court is in disbelief as to why Cushman & Wakefield would wait until two days after the court-mandated time limit expired to start the trial to request another extension,” Engoron wrote.
NBC News has asked Cushman & Wakefield for comment.
In a letter to Engoron on Tuesday, attorneys for the real estate company said it had “produced more than 850,000 pages of material” in response to James’s subpoenas and that a multimillion-page “document dump” would delay its investigation.
In a related statement last week, Engoron said Trump no longer held contempt of court, about two months after denouncing Trump for a slow response to a civil subpoena from James’s office. Trump paid $110,000 in fines for the contempt last month.