Florida rep asks Palm Beach County to tax Mar-a-Lago at Trump’s valuation

Democrat asks for ex-president’s home to be taxed at hundreds of millions more than current appraisal

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Friday 06 October 2023 11:38 EDT
Trump baselessly claims fraud trial against him is a ‘scam and a sham’

Democratic Rep Jared Moskowitz has written to Palm Beach officials regarding the valuation of Donald Trump’s home and private members’ club, Mar-a-Lago.

He is calling for an increase in taxes on the former president’s home after Mr Trump and his family became publicly incensed at its supposed valuation in the New York fraud trial that began this week.

The Florida lawmaker represents the state’s 23rd congressional district, which consists of a major part of Broward County and southern Palm Beach County and is adjacent to the 21st district, home to Mar-a-Lago.

According to court documents, the property — sometimes called the Winter White House and owned by Mr Trump since 1985 when he bought it for under $10m — is now worth between $18m to $28m, according to real estate experts.

“Donald Trump & his family have argued all week in his fraud trial that Mar-a-Lago is actually worth a billion dollars, even though its taxable value is listed as $18 million,” Mr Moskowitz wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“So I wrote to the Palm Beach County Property Appraiser that it’s time for Trump to pay more in taxes.”

Mr Moskowitz sent the following letter to Dorothy Jacks, who oversees property appraisals in Palm Beach:

As I am sure you are aware, your valuation of Mar-a-Lago has been cited in Judge Arthur Engoron’s determination this week that former President Donald Trump and the Trump Organization committed fraud by inflating the value of their assets. Between 2011 and 2021, you valued the Mar-a-Lago property between $18 million and $28 million.

Last week, Donald Trump posted the following on Truth Social: “This highly partisan Democrat ‘Judge’ (All the Clubs, etc.) just ruled that Mar-a-Lago was WORTH just 18 Million Dollars when, in fact, it may be worth 100 times that amount”

Mar-a-Lago was listed as worth $490 million in financial documents given to banks. If the property value of Mar-a-Lago is so much higher than it was appraised, will you be amending the property value in line with the Trump family’s belief that the property is worth well over a billion dollars?

I thank you for your time and consideration and look forward to a prompt response.

The former president has ranted on camera in the hallways of the Lower Manhattan court where his fraud trial is taking place that the valuation of $18m is absurd and has claimed that it might be worth “100 times” that amount — $1.8bn.

In financial documents given to banks that form part of the evidence at the trial, Mar-a-Lago is listed as worth $490m.

The prosecution argues that by inflating the values of properties Mr Trump and the Trump Organization were able to get better terms from banks and other financial institutions, which it claims constitutes fraud.

Judge Arthur Engoron, who is presiding over the case, ruled before the non-jury trial began that the former president, his sons, his companies and chief associates had defrauded banks and insurers by grossly overvaluing assets and exaggerating his net worth on documents to secure deals and financing.

The decision narrowed the issues to be heard at the trial, which has reached the end of its first week of testimony.

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