Trump Pays $175 Million Bond to Avert Asset Seizure

April 2, 2024 by

Donald Trump followed through on his vow to pay a $175 million bond to put a massive civil fraud verdict on hold while he appeals it, assuring New York state won’t start seizing the former president’s assets, at least for now.

The bond, posted Monday with a Manhattan appeals court, prevents enforcement of a $454 million penalty levied by a judge against the real estate mogul in February for lying about his assets for years to get better loan terms. Trump, who is campaigning to return to the White House in the November election, is still on the hook for the full amount — plus millions in interest — if his appeal fails.

Trump had initially struggled to get a bond because he was required to put up 120% of the full penalty, or more than half a billion dollars, in cash. But the appeals court on March 25 granted his request for a smaller bond, which Trump claimed was a sign the appeals court would eventually overturn the verdict.

“As promised, President Trump has posted bond,” his lawyer Alina Habba said in a statement. “He looks forward to vindicating his rights on appeal and overturning this unjust verdict.”

The bond was arranged and signed by Los Angeles-based Knight Specialty Insurance Co., a relatively small player in the industry whose chairman Don Hankey built a fortune by his expanding his car dealership company into financial services. Trump previously turned to Chubb Ltd.’s Federal Insurance Co. for an appeal bond to cover an $83.3 million verdict against him in writer E. Jean Carroll’s defamation lawsuit, which he lost in January.

Trump $175 Million Bond Arranged by Billionaire Supporter’s Firm

The former president had said a full bond was “unattainable” because 30 insurance companies that arrange such bonds wouldn’t take his real estate as collateral and would only take cash. Trump recently said he had nearly $500 million in cash and vowed to cover the reduced bond with it.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, who sued Trump and won at a non-jury trial, had argued a full bond was necessary because Trump can’t be trusted to pay the fine if he loses the appeal.

Getting the smaller bond helped Trump overcome one the biggest financial obstacles of his career. Without it, the former president claimed he’d be forced to hold a “fire sale” of assets to raise cash, hurting his ability to run his company and contribute to his campaign. His losses from such sales would be irreversible, he argued, even if he won the appeal.

James, a Democrat, had said she would seize his assets to cover the judgment if he didn’t arrange the bond. Her office had already begun laying the ground work to do so in nearby Westchester County, where Trump owns a golf course and a 212-acre estate called Seven Springs.

With the bond dispute out of the way, both sides will turn their attention to arguments on the appeal itself, which will likely lead to a hearing on the merits of the dispute and an eventual ruling from a panel of judges. Trump will seek to convince the appeals court that the verdict should be reversed because the underlying claims are too old and the fine is too high. A final outcome could take months or longer to resolve.

Trump Posts $91.6M Bond From Chubb Subsidiary in Carroll Case

Trump also faces four criminal prosecutions, including two cases alleging he conspired to overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election. His first criminal trial, over charges he falsified business records to conceal a hush money payment to a porn star before the 2016 election, is set to go to trial April 15 in Manhattan.

Trump denies wrongdoing in all the cases and claims without evidence that they’re part of a Democratic-led “witch hunt” against him to undermine his campaign.