Monday, April 22, 2024

Judge Approves Trump’s $175 Million Bond With New Restrictions in New York Civil Case

 Judge Approves Trump’s $175 Million Bond With New Restrictions in New York Civil Case 

Former President Donald Trump and New York Attorney General Letitia James reached an agreement on April 22 regarding his $175 million bond in his New York civil case, imposing additional restrictions while resolving concerns about the funds’ security.

The attorney general argued that Knight Specialty Insurance Company (KSIC) lacked a “certificate of qualification,” and that President Trump still had access to the Charles Schwab account pledged to the insurer as collateral.

Judge Arthur Engoron accepted the April 22 agreement, which gave KSIC exclusive control over the account. The state made the offer after Chris Kise, President Trump’s attorney, provided oral argument.

The attorney general established five bond conditions this morning that allow former President Trump to use a non-New York company as a traditional license surety to cover the $175 million he was ordered to pay.

KSIC is unauthorized by the New York Department of Financial Services, which bond experts see as a victory for Mr. Trump.

“[The company] is probably charging Trump less and they accepted a pledge rather than actually receiving $175 million in cash,” said Bruce Lederman, a commercial and real estate litigator who has dealt in bonds for more than 40 years.

All of Mr. Trump’s attorneys agreed to the settlement stipulations, which are expected to be memorialized by the end of the week.

The five bond conditions include retaining the collateral in a Schwab account and restricting KSIC from trading or withdrawing any of the funds for anything other than payment of the bond.

“The state was not looking to be vindictive,” Mr. Lederman told The Epoch Times. “They are looking simply to be guaranteed that they are geting paid if they win the appeal and they were sufficiently satisfied that if these five conditions were met, they would get paid.”

Another settlement condition is that KSIC must provide the state with monthly statements and the pledge agreement cannot be amended without court approval.

The fifth condition of the settlement is requires a point of contact for service outside of KSIC. The parties agreed the surety’s lawyer would be the point of service. Mr. Lederman noted that KSIC “is not a New York company. So if they don’t pay, they need someone other than KCIS to sue.” He added that “the attorney for the surety will accept the lawsuit if Trump loses on appeal and doesn’t pay.”

James’ Criticism

The bond issued by KSIC is meant to secure President Trump’s compliance with a $454.2 million judgment won by Ms. James.

Ms. James had challenged the sufficiency of President Trump’s bond and cast doubt on the stability of the insurance company.

Amit Shah, president of the insurance company, demanded the court compel the attorney general to show cause, or prove the allegation that the insurance company is not sufficient.

Mr. Shah submitted a sworn affidavit explaining that KSIC now has control over a bank account of President Trump’s that will maintain $175 million cash for the duration of the appeal. The insurance company entered into a collateral agreement with the Donald J. Trump Revocable Trust. Mr. Shah submitted documents establishing that his company is in “good standing” and was approved for excess line eligibility in New York in June 2021.

KSIC is under The Hankey Group of financial companies, which includes the affiliate Westlake Financial Services LLC. The attorney general argued that Westlake was found to have “violated numerous federal laws by pressuring borrowers through the use of illegal debt collection tactics, including using phony caller ID information, falsely threatening to refer borrowers for investigation or criminal prosecution” in 2015 by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The company was fined and provided $44 million in restitution to consumers.

President Trump defended the bond outside the courtroom at his criminal trial.

“We put up cash and the number is 175,” President Trump said. “She shouldn’t be complaining about the bonding company. The bonding company would be good for it because I put up the money. I have plenty of money to put up.”

Reuters contributed to this report.
This is breaking news and will be updated. 

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