Trump Organization used 'email migrations' as an excuse to delay testimony from an executive in charge of conflict-of-interest rules, NY AG says

donald trump at rally with open mouth
Former US President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a rally at the Lorain County Fairgrounds on June 26, 2021, in Wellington, Ohio.Scott Olson/Getty Images
  • The Trump Organization did not produce emails from a top exec for over a year, said the NY AG's office.

  • The delay meant that the chief compliance counsel, Jill Martin, had to be interviewed twice.

  • The company blamed it on "email migrations," according to the attorney general's office.

The Trump Organization said that for more than a year, email snafus prevented it from handing over documents to New York Attorney General Tish James from its executive in charge of conflict-of-interest rules, according to court documents.

For years, James' office has been conducting an investigation into whether the Trump Organization manipulated property values so that it paid little in taxes while receiving favorable loan and insurance rates.

The delay meant that Jill Martin, the chief compliance counsel, had to sit for a second interview with the attorney general's office, according to a letter sent to the Trump Organization in April 2021 and made public in court filings Wednesday.

"We have reviewed the 18 documents you produced on Friday evening, and they do not come close to completing the Trump Organization's production obligations with respect to Ms. Martin," Assistant Attorney General Colleen Faherty wrote in the April 19, 2021, letter to a company attorney. "As we have expressed to you, we believe it is a waste of resources to proceed with her testimony at this time because the Trump Organization has failed to make a complete or even reasonable production of her documents."

The Trump Organization had said that "email migrations" from 2019 prevented attachments from Martin's emails related to the valuation of a golf club in Los Angeles from being located, according to a second letter filed to court.

The letters were included as exhibits in a set of court filings in which James asked a judge to force Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump to sit for depositions and answer questions about the Trump Organization's finances.

James' office had already taken depositions of Eric Trump and the chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, both of whom ran the company during Donald Trump's presidency, when it issued subpoenas in December to the other Trump family members.

Earlier in January, the Trump family members asked a judge to quash the subpoenas, and Donald Trump filed a federal lawsuit seeking to halt James' investigation. Representatives for the Trump Organization have denied wrongdoing and said the investigation is politically motivated.

The new filings from James' office argue that documents and testimony the office obtained show there is ample evidence the Trump Organization lied about its property values.

For example, James' office said Trump's personal triplex in Manhattan's Trump Tower was valued at $127 million and $327 million in different financial filings that described the apartment as being 30,000 square feet. The apartment is actually 10,996 square feet in size, according to documents obtained by James' office.

The exhibits detail how slow the Trump Organization was to respond to document requests over time. The company was first subpoenaed in December 2019; by the time Martin sat for her first interview with the attorney general's office, on April 20, 2021, James' office said the company still hadn't done a thorough search of its own internal files.

Seven days after that interview, James's office informed the Trump Organization that its investigation had become criminal in nature, though the move was not made public until nearly a month later. The investigation has been running in tandem with a similar probe from the Manhattan District Attorney's Office, which brought criminal charges against the Trump Organization and Weisselberg in July 2021.

In a follow-up letter, dated July 27, 2021, Faherty wrote that the company still hadn't adequately explained why "migration issues" from nearly two years earlier were preventing it from producing "hundreds of relevant and responsive emails" from Martin.

It's unclear if the Trump Organization handed over more of Martin's emails in advance of a second interview. But in another follow-up letter, dated November 1, 2021, Faherty didn't include Martin in a list of employees whose records the office still wanted.

Martin didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

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