How NY's Judge Engoron is tightening the leash on Trump ahead of looming Truth Social merger and fraud judgement deadline

  • Trump's finances are in flux, with a massive fraud judgment and a multi-billion-dollar SPAC merger looming.

  • On Thursday, Trump's fraud judge set rules for an "enhanced" court-imposed monitoring of Trump Org.

  • Trump must give 5 days notice if he's moving $5M or more in cash or assets out of the business.

With the cash hit of a $457 million fraud-judgment debt and the cash boon of a potential multi-billion-dollar SPAC merger both looming this week, Donald Trump's finances are in a tailspin.

Shareholders are scheduled to vote Friday on a merger that would bring Truth Social's parent company public. Trump's stake, according to The Wall Street Journal, could be worth roughly $3.5 billion.

Coincidentally, his finances will now be scrutinized like never before.

On Thursday, the judge who set a massive, $454 million judgment in Trump's New York's civil fraud case last month (it's risen by $3 million in interest since) issued five pages of rules for the "enhanced" court-imposed monitoring of the Trump Organization.

Effective immediately, Trump Org must give Barbara Jones — a retired federal judge who's been Trump's court-ordered monitor since November, 2022 — specific advance notice of big shifts in the Company's assets or structure.

The judge, state Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron, had warned a month ago, in his February verdict, that there would be exactly the kind of leash-tightening that Thursday's order now sets for Trump and his fiscal babysitters.

Under the order, Trump must give five days advance notice "of any transfer of cash or other assets" totaling $5 million or more, "including transfers to any individual defendant."

It happens to be five days before Trump's March 25 deadline to pay his fraud judgment to New York in full or, failing that, to set the money aside as he appeals, in the form of an appeal bond totaling the full amount plus millions more in interest.

Trump has said he cannot afford a bond.

Under Thursday's order, Trump must also give the monitor 30 days notice of "any planned creation or dissolution of business entities, including equity ownership purchased or assets acquired by any Defendant," the judge further ordered on Thursday.

There are currently 415 entities — including the LLCs holding his physical properties — under the Trump Org umbrella.

The company has a dozen bank accounts, previous fraud-case filings have said. On Thursday, Engoron set new deadlines for Trump sharing the monthly statements for these bank accounts with the monitor.

Effective immediately, "the Trump Organization shall provide copies of monthly bank statements for all bank or brokerage accounts of the Trust within five business days of the end of each month," Engoron ordered.

The "Trust" is a reference to the Donald J. Trust Revocable Trust, which holds all of Trump Org's assets and for which Trump is the sole beneficiary.

The judge also ordered on Thursday that Trump foot the bill for the additional staff needed for this extra monitoring. Trump has already been paying for the team Jones brought in to watch his books 16 months ago.

Finally, the judge took action to prevent Trump from using the monitorship as a legal shield, as his lawyers attempted to do during the civil trial.

Neither Jones nor a yet-appointed Independent Director of Compliance "shall be liable for any fraud, material misstatements, misrepresentations or omissions" in Trump's financial disclosures.

New York Attorney General Letitia James attended closing arguments in the Trump civil fraud trial.
New York Attorney General Letitia James attended closing arguments in the Trump civil fraud trial.Pool/Reuters

More fraud? More penalties

Violations of Thursday's order could result in the judge ordering more penalties against Trump Org, the judge warned. Those potential penalties include throwing the company into receivership and the possible forced dissolution of assets, the judge said in last month's verdict.

Trump and his three codefendants — Donald Trump, Jr., Eric Trump, and former Trump Org CFO Allen Weisselberg — owe a combined fraud-trial penalty of $467 million as of Thursday, according to a penalty calculator maintained by the Associated Press.

Trump's portion of that total was $457 million as of Thursday, an obligation that increases by another $1 million in interest every nine days.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has promised that if Trump misses his deadline for paying up or buying an appeal bond — which he's said he cannot do — she'll start grabbing assets.

She has already begun to do so.

New York officials have registered the Trump judgment in Westchester County, just north of Manhattan, in what Bloomberg said Thursday was a sign that his properties in the area could be seized if he defaults on what he owes the state.

Trump owns a 200-plus-acre estate, Seven Springs, in the county.

Last month's verdict found Trump and his top executives conspired to deceive banks and insurers through a decade of financial filings that exaggerated his net worth by as billions of dollars a year. Trump is appealing the verdict.

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