Trump Finds a Surprise $100 Million, and Gets a $3 Billion Windfall, as New York Moves to Seize His Assets Over Fraud Verdict

By William J. Furney

Donald Trump only set up his social media network, Truth Social, because he was booted off Twitter (now X) in the wake of the deadly January 6 rioting at the US Capitol that many blame him for inciting. The infamous tweeter-in-chief, who frequently stays up all night and into the early hours blasting off firestorms of contentious messages, could not be left without a medium to directly make his bloviating voice heard.

Now he stands to make billions of dollars in a merger between his platform and a company set up to take the enterprise public. It could save him from his dire financial predicament, but the windfall, estimated at $3 billion, owing to the value of his shares, will be on paper only for at least six months, due to regulatory requirements. 

That’s too long for the former president and GOP presumptive nominee for this year’s presidential election to pay almost half a billion dollars to appeal a fraud verdict and massive fine issued by a court in New York City in February. His lawyers said he can’t obtain a bond to appeal and Trump, estimated by Forbes magazine to be worth in the region of $2.6 billion, doesn’t have the cash on hand. Or does he?

In a deposition for the New York fraud trial — where Trump, his adult sons Donald Jr and Eric, along with senior executives of the Trump Organization, were found guilty of inflating the value of their property holdings to get favorable loan terms and insurance — Trump said he had around $400 million in cash. That, he said, was “a lot” for a property developer, because capital is mostly tied up in assets and not immediately liquid. 

But now, Trump has found $100 million more. Writing on Truth Social (in all-caps), he said: “Through hard work, talent and luck, I currently have almost five hundred millions dollars in cash.” He said the sum was “a substantial amount, of which I intended to use in my campaign for president.” And he took the opportunity again to take a swipe at the judge in the case, Arthur Engoron, as well as the New York attorney general, Letitia James, a Democrat who brought the case. “The often overturned political hack judge on the right and corrupt AG case, where I have done nothing wrong, knew this, wanted to take it away from me, and that’s where and why he came up with this shocking number.” 

Unfortunately for Trump, under the law in his home state of New York, fines or a bond must be paid into escrow with an appellate court at the time of making an appeal. He has already paid a $91.6 million bond in a New York defamation verdict against him in January, after he was found guilty of making disparaging comments about writer E. Jean Carroll. Last year and in a separate case he was found guilty of sexual assault against Carroll and ordered to pay her $5 million. The defamation fine is $83.3 million. Trump’s legal team said they approached 30 bond companies in New York, via brokers, and none would give him a bond for the fraud appeal. 

The fraud fine rises by $112,000 per day for every day he doesn’t pay it, and currently it’s at almost $468 million, according to the website Trump Debt Counter. Attorney General James is making moves to seize some of Trump’s assets if he doesn’t pay by Monday. 

James has initially set her sights on Seven Springs, Trump’s estate and golf court in Westchester County, where she filed judgments with the clerk’s office on March 6, just days after Engoron’s ruling. But she would have to go much further to satisfy the fine amount, because Seven Springs is valued at around $25 million, according to an estimate by Forbes

And although Trump’s name is festooned in mighty lettering on many buildings in the United States and elsewhere, it doesn’t necessarily own the properties outright. In many cases he hold a small fraction of their worth and in some buildings, as in New York City, he merely has restaurant and parking areas. 

As he sets his sights on a return to the White House in November’s election, Trump is facing the humiliation of his property empire crumbling — along with the prospect of the rest of his life in prison if he’s found guilty of dozens of federal criminal charges under four indictments served against him last year. 

  • Photo: Andrew Kelly/Reuters

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