Trump’s Bond Firm Must Show Proof of Resources, New York AG Says

By | April 5, 2024

Donald Trump must prove within 10 days that the company providing his $175 million appeal bond in New York’s civil fraud case is financially capable of paying up if his legal challenges fail, the state told a judge.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, who won a $454 million judgment against Trump over his asset valuations, made the demand Thursday in a notice with the court. The bond puts the fine on hold while the former president appeals the verdict, a process that could take months to resolve.

Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for the November presidential election, arranged the bond on Monday through an obscure insurance company run by one of his billionaire supporters, Don Hankey. But James, a Democrat, said Hankey’s Los Angeles-based Knight Specialty Insurance Co. isn’t registered with New York’s Department of Financial Services, so either Trump or Knight needs to prove the firm can pay the fine if Trump’s appeal fails.

“It shouldn’t be a problem to satisfy the state’s request,” Hankey said in a phone call, adding that he hadn’t yet seen the court filing.

Trump Got His $175 Million Bond From Billionaire Fan’s Firm

James wants Knight to demonstrate that the company is financially sound and that the bond is sufficiently backed by identifiable assets. Hankey, a GOP donor, previously said the former president used all cash as collateral after initially offering a mix of cash and investment-grade bonds.

Justice Arthur Engoron, who oversaw the non-jury trial, on Thursday scheduled an April 22 hearing on the bond dispute. Trump is unlikely to attend because that date overlaps with his first criminal trial, which begins April 15 in Manhattan on charges he falsified business records to hide hush-money payments.

The state’s demand is the latest twist in Trump’s effort to arrange the bond, which he initially called “unattainable” because it was set at 120% of the judgment, or more than half a billion dollars. Trump claimed dozens of insurers refused his real estate as collateral and that he didn’t have enough cash. The appeals court slashed the bond without saying why, easing the strain on Trump’s finances.

That’s when Hankey, who made his fortune in subprime auto loans, stepped in and offered to help Trump out. Earlier this week, the billionaire said his decision to help Trump was purely a business arrangement and not about politics.

Trump attorney Alina Habba didn’t respond to a request for comment on the state’s demand. Trump has denied wrongdoing in the case and claims it’s part of a Democratic-led “witch hunt” against him.

James proved during an 11-week trial that Trump inflated the value of his assets by billions of dollars a year to get better terms on loans, reaping hundreds of millions of dollars in “illegal profit” that he was ordered to return. By posting bond, Trump avoided the prospect of James taking action to cover the fine by seizing the real estate mogul’s assets.

The niche appeal bond industry was thrust into the spotlight earlier this year after Trump lost two civil trials that led to combined damages of more than half a billion dollars. The court requirement for bonds larger than the actual judgment amount is intended to ensure a trial loser will pay the winner if their appeal fails.


Topics New York

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