A Court Ruling That Sent Ripples Through Real Estate and Politics

A recent ruling by Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron has not only rocked the political landscape but has also sent shockwaves throughout the real estate world.

by Faruk Imamovic
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A Court Ruling That Sent Ripples Through Real Estate and Politics
© Getty Images News/Win McNamee

A recent ruling by Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron has not only rocked the political landscape but has also sent shockwaves throughout the real estate world.

The Verdict that Set the Stage Ablaze

On a quiet Tuesday, without a jury present, Judge Engoron delivered a bombshell verdict.

He held that former U.S. President Donald Trump had committed fraud by significantly inflating the value of several of his properties, a list that includes the illustrious Mar-a-Lago estate. To many, this verdict was nothing short of shocking.

The judge's valuation of Mar-a-Lago, a jewel in Trump's real estate crown, at a mere $18 million is a figure that stands in stark contrast to assessments from industry stalwarts. Real estate insiders and experts were quick to weigh in, with one seasoned Palm Beach broker dismissing the figure as "utterly delusional".

This expert, echoing the sentiments of many others, believes that the estate could easily command a price upwards of $300 million in today's market. But where did Judge Engoron derive this seemingly lowball figure? His assessment was based on Palm Beach Assessor records that showed valuations of the property ranging between $18 million to $28 million over a decade, from 2011 to 2021.

Critics, however, are quick to point out that these figures may not truly represent the estate's fair market value. A cursory glance at properties in proximity to Mar-a-Lago seems to support this. Comparable estates, albeit significantly smaller in size and stature, carry hefty price tags; a 2-acre lot nearby is listed at $150 million and a 2.3-acre plot commands a $200 million asking price.

It's worth noting the grandeur of Mar-a-Lago. Trump's sprawling estate, covering 20 acres, boasts luxuries like a 20,000-square-foot ballroom, five clay tennis courts, and a lavish waterfront pool.

The Fallout and Repercussions

The ruling's implications extended beyond property valuations.

In a move that might have serious ramifications, Engoron stripped the Trump Organization and several other New York businesses linked to Trump and his family of their "business certificates". Furthermore, he called for an independent body to supervise the dissolution of the now-cancelled LLCs.

Predictably, Trump didn't remain silent. He vociferously decried the ruling, labeling it a continuation of the "Witch Hunt" against him, and signaled his intent to seek intervention from higher judicial quarters. This latest episode only intensifies the legal maelstrom surrounding Trump's financial dealings, ensuring they remain squarely in the public eye and a topic of fervent discussion both in political circles and beyond.

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