The Former President, Donald Trump subpoenaed a partner from his longtime accounting firm for documents and testimony in New York Attorney General Letitia James’s suit accusing him and his real estate company of using false asset valuations to dupe banks and insurers.
Last week, Donald Bender, a partner at Top 100 Firm Mazars. was subpoenaed. It was also reported that Trump subpoenaed Rosemary Vrablic, a former Deutsche Bank managing director who arranged hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to Trump’s company, according to a Wednesday court filing by James.
James said in the filing that Trump waited too long to start deposing witnesses and suggested that he was trying to delay a trial set for October in Manhattan by dragging his feet. Her filing was in response to an earlier request by Trump to extend a March 20 discovery deadline.
“It is remarkable that defendants sat on their rights to conduct discovery for months, waiting until the past week to serve their first subpoenas,” James said. Vrablic’s and Bender’s “roles in the transactions at issue have been known to Defendants for years.”
Trump, three of his adult children and his company were sued by New York in September 2022 for allegedly manipulating the value of the former president’s assets and reaping $250 million in ill-gotten financial benefits as a result. The case is among the biggest legal threats to Trump as he campaigns for a return to the White House in 2024.
Trump has claimed the lenders and others knew to take his own valuations with a grain of salt and conduct their own analyses. He’s also accused James, a Democrat, of conducting a political “witch hunt.”
Alina Habba, a lawyer for Trump, said in a Feb. 21 court filing asking for more time for discovery that the “current schedule imposes significant hardship on the Defendants” and “deprives Defendants of their right to meaningful and full discovery, prejudices their ability to understand the evidence against them sufficiently to prepare a proper defense.”
James also said in her filing that Trump hasn’t responded to proposals to streamline discovery. She said she offered to forgo deposing Trump a second time if he agreed to stipulate that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination as he did the first time around.
Testimony from Vrablic and Bender could be useful to Trump, who argues that his accountants and bankers knew his financial statements were estimates and that they should have done their own valuations to verify them.
Vrablic was introduced to Trump in 2011 by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law. As part of Deutsche Bank’s private-wealth management unit, she arranged for the family to get “unparalleled rates on loans” that were personally guaranteed by Trump, according to James. Trump allegedly supplied the bank with bogus asset valuations to back his claimed net worth.
Frankfurt-based Deutsche Bank declined to comment. Mazars declined to comment on the case but provided a general statement.
“Due to our industry’s professional obligations Mazars cannot discuss any clients — current or former, the status of our relationships, or the nature of our services in a public forum without client consent or as required by law,” Mazars said in a statement. “We remain committed to fulfilling all of our professional and legal obligations.”
Mazars a year ago severed ties with Trump and said a decade of financial statements for the former president can’t be relied upon. The accounting firm made the decision after conducting its own investigation and based on court filings by the attorney general.
James cited her office’s deposition of Bender in her suit. The accountant allegedly testified that he was “shocked by the size of the discrepancy” between a 2020 valuation of Trump Park Avenue at $84.5 million and Trump’s statement of financial condition valuing it at $135.8 million. He called it “misleading” and inconsistent with the Trump Organization’s obligation to provide accurate information, James said.
Vrablic left Deutsche Bank in December 2020 after an internal investigation found she engaged in “undisclosed activities” related to a real estate deal. The bank cut ties with Trump in January 2021 following the assault on the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters.
But after reviewing the story line of why
Trump subpoenas Mazars accountant in fraud case, the opinion has been mounted there are much than just the acclaimed fraud labeled on Mazars accountant.