By Priscilla DeGregory
Donald Trump’s tax broker was forced to admit to authorities in 2020 that Mar-a-Lago had a market value of just $27 million — not the $517 million claimed in other documents, trial evidence revealed Monday.
Trump, 77, also allegedly boasted of having a net worth of up to $5 billion — likely more than double what he really had — to land the coveted lease to a New York City golf course in 2010, according to documents.
The revelations came during the fifth week of New York state’s $250 million Manhattan Supreme Court civil fraud case against the former president, whose sons Don Jr. and Eric are set to testify this week.
Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump was scheduled to take the stand in the case Friday, but her testimony has been postponed until Nov. 8 because of a scheduling conflict, ABC News reported Monday.
Trump is still scheduled to testify Nov. 6.
During Monday’s testimony, an email was shown from Trump tax representative Michael Corbiciero revealing he’d tried to appeal the Palm Beach County assessor’s appraisal of his boss’s famed Florida golf club Mar-a-Largo.
But Corbiciero eventually gave up and finally agreed the estate was worth $26.6 million — even though it had been valued at $517 million on an annual business statement, the outlet reported.
“Was it your understanding that the appeal was withdrawn because the Trump Organization agreed with the value of the property assessor?” Andrew Amer — a lawyer with New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office — asked former Trump Organization Vice President Raymond Flores about the $27 million valuation.
“Yes,” Flores acknowledged.
In fact, from 2011 through 2021, Trump had valued the property at between $426 million to $612 million on annual statements of financial condition — which a judge ruled last month was “at least 2,300%” more than the local official’s valuation. In the same ruling, the judge found Trump liable of fraud in some instances and revoked his business licenses in New York as the rest of his case continues.
Flores testified Monday about receiving the Nov. 17, 2021, correspondence from Corbiciero — a then-senior consultant at Marvin F Power and Company — in which he explained the benefits that categorizing Mar-a-Lago as a residence rather than a social club would have on taxes.
Corbiciero explained in the email — which Flores forwarded to to ex-Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg and Executive Vice President Eric Trump — that Mar-a-Lago could be valued at close to 10 times its assessed value if it was classified as a residence.
Illegally ballooning the value of Trump’s holdings gained him favorable loan and insurance rates, among other things, netting him several hundred million dollars, state prosecutors say.
“Last year, we briefly discussed the possibility of filing for a homestead exemption on the Mar-a-Lago property since President Donald Trump had legally declared Palm Beach and the Mar-a-Lago property as his personal residence,” the email read, according to a report by the Independent.
The email went on to explain that the property would have to “meet certain requirements” for the exemption, including that Trump Org. would need to transfer ownership of the Florida estate to Trump personally.
In the wake of Judge Arthur Engoron’s bombshell ruling from last month, Trump has maintained that the Palm Beach property is worth far more than the assessor pegged it at — claiming its value is as much as $1.5 billion.
The second witness on Monday, David Cerron — an assistant commissioner in the New York City Parks and Recreation Department — also testified that when the agency awarded the Trump Organization the rights to run a city golf course in Ferry Point Park in 2010, Trump had declared his net worth at $3 billion and said he had $200 million of cash on hand, ABC News reported.
Trump had to continue to tell the Parks Department what his worth was for the next decade so that city officials felt confident it would remain solvent — and one year, he claimed it was as much as $4.9 billion, according to evidence shown in court.
The AG’s office has claimed that Trump never had more than $2.1 billion during this time period.
Cerron said these financial disclosures were necessary “to be sure, as we would always, that the operator in place had the funds to deliver on their obligations.”
AG lawyer Sherief Gaber asked, “Would the Department of Parks and Recreation expect this representation to be true, complete, and accurate?”
“Yes,” Cerron responded.
But during cross-examination by Trump lawyer Jennifer Hernandez, Cerron admitted that Trump’s net worth “was the lowest” consideration in granting him the rights to the golf course and that experience and plans were weighed more heavily.
Hernandez also noted that Trump never missed payments or other obligations under the licensing agreement.
Bally’s bought out the licensing agreement from the Trump Organization in 2020 when the city sought to distance itself from the Trump empire after the Jan. 6 Capital Riot.
AG James claims in her suit against Trump, his two eldest sons and the family real-estate company that for at least 10 years Trump inflated his assets to the tune of billions of dollars per year to get better loan and insurance terms.
Trump, who is running for president again in 2024, has adamantly denied the claims and said he is the victim of a political witch hunt.