Donald Trump owes $87,000 daily interest on historic fraud penalties

NEW YORK — When most New Yorkers wake up, they might splurge by spending a few bucks on coffee and a bagel.

Every morning Donald Trump wakes up, he now owes another $87,500 in interest on the massive legal penalties he received last week.

The pain is set to continue until he pays off the entirety of the nearly half a billion dollars in fines and interest in his Manhattan civil fraud case.

The devastating judgment handed down by state Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron on Friday against the former president and his longtime Trump Organization executives will increase by 9% annually until resolved.

That comes to $87,500 per day, according to the state attorney general’s office — more than most New Yorkers make in a year. On an annual basis, the interest alone puts a $32 million dent in Trump’s pocket, according to calculations by The Associated Press.

Engoron’s blistering ruling found the Republican front-runner for president, his former finance chief Allen Weisselberg, company controller Jeff McConney, and sons Eric and Don Jr. liable for six claims alleging they intentionally committed fraud by routinely lying about how much he was worth — often by billions of dollars — in deals with financial institutions. Engoron found Trump and his crew liable on the top fraud claim before the months-long trial even started.

Trump is on the hook for the overwhelming bulk of the roughly $364 million in pre-interest penalties laid out in Engoron’s ruling, which also barred him from heading a New York business for three years, among other restrictions.

Specifically, the judge’s decision ordered Trump and the entities he owns and controls to pay back a whopping $168,040,168. That represents the interest he saved from lying about his net worth in loans involving his Doral golf resort in Florida, the Old Post Office hotel in Washington, D.C., his Wall Street skyscraper and his Chicago hotel. The clock on the interest owed began the day the AG started investigating Trump, March 2, 2019, Engoron noted.

The judge added to Trump’s tally the $126,828,600 in profits that he made from the May 2022 sale of the Old Post Office, as the contract was secured years before with bogus valuations of his worth. Eric and Don Jr. each owe at least $4 million from their cut. The judge outlined that the interest began accruing on those fines when the deal was finalized.

Representations Trump made about his bank balance when he threw his hat in the ring more than a decade ago to win a licensing agreement for his Bronx golf course at Ferry Point Park — and while maintaining it for years — led Engoron to decide Trump should have to pay back the $60 million he pocketed from its sale in June 2023, when the interest for that fine began accruing.

Trump, who has vowed to appeal, can’t stop the clock. He has until around mid-March to post the total amount in an account controlled by the court or secure a bond.

The penalties have enraged Trump, who’s cited his legal woes to rally his die-hard supporters.

“This shocking and corrupt Interference in the Free Markets for political gain places every New York business transaction at risk,” the former president stated Friday on his Truth Social platform in reaction to the penalties. “We must make sure Corrupt Politicians and Judges cannot continue to abuse the power of their office, and violate the public trust.”

When added to the outstanding $88.3 million he owes writer E. Jean Carroll, whom separate juries determined over the last 10 months he sexually abused and defamed, Trump is barreling toward a billion-dollar debt.

When the AG’s office deposed him in April 2023, Trump claimed he had about $400 million cash in his company accounts. Forbes reported he was worth around $2.6 billion last September when including his assets.

Gregory Germain, director of Syracuse University’s Bankruptcy Clinic, said there are three ways Trump could respond.

“If he’s able to post, if he’s able to come up with the cash that he needs to get a full bond, he’ll probably just do that,” he told the New York Daily News. “If he isn’t … he’d probably ask the appellate court to lower the amount of the bonding requirement. And if they refused and he can’t raise the money, then he’s in real trouble because the judgment creditors can enforce their judgments against his assets.”

If Trump can’t come up with the cash, Germain said Trump could be forced to follow in the footsteps of Rudy Giuliani, who filed for bankruptcy protection in December.

On top of his civil woes, the 77-year-old Trump has pleaded not guilty to 91 felonies in four state and federal cases, which combined carry more than 600 years in prison.