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Congressman asks Palm Beach property appraiser to bill Trump for Mar-a-Lago's 'true' value

An aerial view of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate is seen Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, in Palm Beach, Fla. Court papers show that the FBI recovered documents labeled “top secret” from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.
(AP Photo/Steve Helber)
An aerial view of former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate is seen Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022, in Palm Beach, Fla.

U.S. Rep. Jared Moskowitz, a Democrat from Parkland, wants Palm Beach County’s property appraiser to levy taxes on Donald Trump’s Mar−A−Lago club at the rate the former president claims is its true value: closer to $1.5 billion. 

“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?” writes Moskowitz in a lettersent Thursday to Palm Beach County Appraiser Dorothy Jacks.

The property’s appraisal between 2011 and 2021 ranged from $18 million to $28 million.

Trump posted on social media this week that the Mar-a-Lago is worth as much as $1.5 billion.

The issue over Mar−a−Lago’s value emerged in connection with the former president’s civil fraud trial in New York, which began on Tuesday. 

In her lawsuit, New York Attorney General Letitia James accuses the business mogul-turned-politician and his company of deceiving banks, insurers and others by misstating his wealth for years in financial statements. Among those assets is the Mar−a−Lago club.

In a court filing, James’ office alleges Trump exaggerated his wealth by as much as $3.6 billion. In the case of Mar−a−Lago, Trump valued it as high as $739 million — more than 10 times a more reasonable estimate of its worth, James maintained. 

FILE - Former President Donald Trump announces he is running for president for the third time as he smiles while speaking at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., Nov. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)
Andrew Harnik/AP
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AP
FILE - Former President Donald Trump announces he is running for president for the third time as he smiles while speaking at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., Nov. 15, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Defense lawyers said the financial statements were legitimate representations of prime properties that can command top dollar. 

“That is not fraud. That is real estate,” attorney Alina Habba said in an opening statement.

The non-jury trial in New York concerns allegations of conspiracy, insurance fraud and falsifying business records. The New York Attorney General is seeking $250 million in penalties and a ban on Trump doing business in the state.

Judge Arthur Engoron ruled on some other claims before the trial, finding that Trump did engage in fraud by inflating his assets' worth on the statements.

The trial may not end until early December.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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