Trump’s $21M tax break comes under fresh scrutiny with newly obtained records
An appraisal of a New York property that resulted in President Trump receiving a $21 million tax break appears to have relied on unsupported assertions, according to an analysis of the document obtained by The Washington Post.
The New York attorney general’s office indicated in court documents filed in August that it is investigating the valuation of several Trump properties, including the Seven Springs estate in Westchester County, N.Y.
Trump received a $21.1 million tax break in exchange for agreeing to preserve much of the land on the property. The size of the tax break was determined based on an appraisal conducted in 2016 that valued the property at $56.5 million.
The Post obtained a copy of the appraisal, which was written by the commercial real-estate firm Cushman & Wakefield. According to the Post, the appraisal claimed that if the land weren’t preserved, 24 homes worth an average of $2.1 million could be built and sold on it.
Two independent appraisers who reviewed the document told the Post that it was problematic that the document did not provide evidence that this type of development would comply with local regulations, and that the document didn’t mention that Trump had unsuccessfully attempted to develop the land over a number of years.
Appraisers also expressed concerns about the fact that the appraisal said the preserved land didn’t have any value of its own.
“This is not a good appraisal, and it’s misleading, and it’s thin as all get out,” an appraiser who spoke to the Post under the condition of anonymity said. “What you get is appraised values for these 24 hypothetical lots that appear to be much higher than they ought to be.”
A spokesman for Cushman & Wakefield told the newspaper that it doesn’t comment on ongoing litigation.
Timothy Lindstrom, a Virginia attorney and conservation easement expert, told the Post that he thought the appraisal was “competently done and provided realistic values supported by proper analysis and data.”