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Letitia James Nears Green Light to Start Taking Donald Trump’s Assets

In this recent Newsweek article, our own Paul Golden shares further insights on the most recent developments in Donald Trump’s court cases.

Published Apr 09, 2024 | By Sean O’Driscoll, Senior Crime and Courts Reporter

The New York Attorney General may start collecting Trump assets if he fails to post a bond by next Monday, a leading real estate lawyer has said.

Paul Golden, author of Litigating Constructive Trusts and a partner at New York law firm Coffey Modica, told Newsweek that either Trump or a bond company must file a motion by Monday stating they have a $175 million bond in place.

“Presumably, if the motion fails, the Attorney General will take the position that the bond is without effect and that the Attorney General may start to take collection efforts,” Golden said.

“Of course, if for whatever reason a court rules the bond is without effect, then Trump would likely appeal that decision as well, and possibly seek a stay in the context of that separate appeal too,” he said.

Trump posted the $175 million bond on April 1 to prevent James from seizing his assets while he attempts to appeal the civil fraud ruling against him. New York Judge Arthur Engoron previously found Trump, his adult sons Donald Jr. and Eric, and The Trump Organization liable for a scheme in which the value of Trump’s net worth and assets were unlawfully inflated to obtain more favorable business deals. Trump, the presumptive 2024 GOP presidential nominee, has maintained his innocence in the matter.

Trump was hit with a penalty that came to around $454 million after interest and would have had to pay a bond slightly higher than that amount to stave off the state from seizing assets, such as his many real estate holdings, to cover the penalty. An appeals court later ruled that he could instead pay a lower bond of $175 million.The bond was then rejected by the court’s filing system shortly after it was posted due to missing paperwork, including a “current financial statement.” James, whose office led the fraud case against Trump, later raised questions about the “sufficiency” of the bond and noted that the surety backing it, Knight Specialty Insurance Company (KSIC), is not admitted in New York, meaning it’s ineligible to obtain a certificate of qualification from the Department of Financial Services. KSIC has refiled its paperwork as a result in an effort to get the process moving again.

Newsweek sought email comment from Knight Specialty Insurance and Trump’s attorney on Tuesday.

Golden said James cited a statute “which indicates that within ten days (that is—by April 15, as April 14 is a Sunday) either Trump or the KNIC must file a motion in court to ‘justify the surety.’ If not, then pursuant to statute, the bond shall ‘be without effect’.”
Golden said it is difficult to read how the situation will play out.

“There is little case law on this particular subject, so it becomes hard to predict what factors a court would consider when deciding if KNIC was truly solvent, and could ultimately afford to pay off $175 million,” he said.

Engoran has already scheduled an in-person hearing in this case for April 22, 2024, in the courtroom at 10 a.m.

“The official court records do not seem to indicate what precisely will occur on that date, but news reports indicate that Hon. Engoran will be discussing bond issues,” Golden said.

Coffey Modica triples law office footprint in Manhattan’s Financial District

We’re thrilled to announce our office expansion in New York!

NEW YORK BUSINESS JOURNAL

By Kevin Smith | Apr 8, 2024

Coffey Modica has subleased a 4,000-square-foot office at 61 Broadway, a 33-story office building known as the Adams Express Building RXR, COFFEY MODICA, AVISON YOUNG

Just two-and-a-half year after its founding, law firm Coffey Modica LLP has tripled its New York City footprint.

The defense litigation firm has subleased a 4,000-square-foot office from the Chicago Board Options Exchange at 61 Broadway, a 33-story office building known as the Adams Express Building.

Coffey Modica’s new office replaces a smaller space the firm had previously leased in the same building and offers seven private windowed offices, nine workstations, a conference room and a reception area, as well as areas for a server room and legal case file preparation.

The law firm has already taken possession of the space and will sublease through November 2025.

“In a little over two-and-a-half years since our founding, Coffey Modica has experienced excellent growth in several of our firm’s business and practice areas, resulting in an increase to our client bases in Manhattan and New Jersey,” Robert Modica, a founding partner at the law firm, said in a statement. “Having an increased presence close to the major courthouses in Lower Manhattan has become a growing need for our attorneys and the clients we serve.”

Coffey Modica has eight offices across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Philadelphia.

“The central location of this building is key to our strategic vision of further facilitating trial strategy through aligning our physical offices to the geographic needs of both our clients throughout New York and New Jersey and our employees,” Modica added. “For this reason, we wanted to stay in this building and hope to remain here as we further expand in the future.”

Marty Cottingham and Alexis Odgers at Avison Young brokered the sublease deal on behalf of Coffey Modica.

RXR owns and operates 61 Broadway, a 750,000-square-foot office building that shows about 295,000 square feet of office availabilities across more than 20 listings at the property.

The asking price for Modica’s sublease was not disclosed. Data from Avison Young’s Q1 2024 report shows that the Financial District is seeing average asking rents at $67.11 per square foot, which is about $0.54 less than the average asking price for offices throughout other parts of Downtown Manhattan.

The sublease comes as office availability in Manhattan has reached record highs while law firms tripled their office leasing activity from 2022 to 2023.

Op-ed: Latest version of Grieving Families Act on a path to nowhere

Coffey Modica’s Michael P. Mezzacappa unpacks the latest version of New York’s Grieving Families Act in this sobering Syracuse Post Standard op-ed:

By Michael P. Mezzacappa | April 3, 2024

The third version of a bill aimed at expanding New York’s compensable damages awarded to bereaved family members was rushed back into the New York state Legislature on Feb. 21.

While the bill has seemingly good intentions, this latest iteration does not take into account any of the good-faith concerns from stakeholders — the same lack of compromise that led Gov. Kathy Hochul to veto its previous version just over a month earlier on Dec. 29, 2023.

With no meaningful updates or changes, this latest rendering of the long-sought Grieving Families Act looks set to fail yet again.

The legislation’s botched execution will likely deal another blow to families seeking damages for grief and anguish caused by a loved one’s death. Strike three is a real disservice to anyone looking for New York to make progress on this issue, since good-faith negotiation and compromise might have yielded the governor’s stamp of approval.

New York is one of only two states that does not compensate for emotional loss in wrongful death lawsuits. Advocates for the Grieving Families Act have legitimate cause to change that, since everyone deserves a comprehensive sense of justice and closure following the death of a loved one.

Instead of seeking reasonable reform of New York’s wrongful death statute, however, they are attempting to completely overhaul the entire system of wrongful death jurisprudence in our state. This could adversely impact nearly all New Yorkers by raising insurance premiums and jacking up costs for a healthcare system that is already unaffordable for so many.

There must be a balance between adequately compensating families and ensuring the sustainability of insurance markets.

Under current law, a deceased person’s potential future income, in addition to medical bills and funeral costs, largely determines the amount family members can recoup in a successful lawsuit. This is already an incredibly convoluted calculation to make in the courtroom, one that largely falls on juries who are often ill-equipped to render such financially complex determinations.

New York pays out more for liability claims than any other state in the country, since it is one of the few states that does not put a cap on the amount of damages that plaintiffs can receive in wrongful death cases. The Grieving Families Act could expand these payments exponentially, saddling payment calculations with the subjective factor of emotional loss.

That alone might be doable, except that this bill would expand the traditional definition of “surviving close family members” to include siblings, parents, grandparents, stepchildren, step-grandchildren, step-grandparents, and any other person standing in loco parentis to the decedent.

Moreover, the proposed legislation would apply retroactively to the arbitrary date of July 1, 2018, regardless of when the lawsuit is filed. This would drastically increase the number of wrongful death claims and filings rushed into courthouses across the state, placing a tremendous burden on a court system already backlogged by existing litigation delayed by the pandemic, not to mention the swell of wrongful death cases resulting from Covid-19. Pending cases would have to be reevaluated to ensure that appropriate reserves are maintained, even though insurers set reserves for those cases long ago.

It all amounts to the kind of pie-in-the-sky thinking that fails to consider downstream consequences. Who’s going to pay for these changes?

This version of the Grieving Families Act could encourage frivolous lawsuits and increase the amount of discovery needed to defend such cases, in addition to raising the attendant legal defense costs, settlement dollars and administration all of this will require.

More significantly, it could result in skyrocketing liability insurance costs. An actuarial analysis by the New York Civil Justice Institute found that if the bill is enacted, insurance liability premiums could increase by $2.2 billion annually. Auto and general liability premiums are projected to increase by 11% as a direct result of this legislation, while medical liability premiums could increase up to 45%.

Driving up the cost of liability insurance sends our already short-staffed physicians to practice in other states. That could mean increased wait times for patients to see their doctors and an overall decline in the quality of our healthcare system.

We might even see a pullback of insurance companies tied to certain healthcare facilities in our state. Much like what’s happened in natural disaster-prone areas of the country, where wildfires, hurricanes and floods have forced insurance companies to jack up rates, restrict coverage or pull out of certain areas altogether, health insurance companies may come to view New York as prohibitively expensive. That, in turn, could narrow consumers’ choices and send healthcare costs soaring.

The Grieving Families Act, while noble in spirit, proposes too much all at once. Change happens incrementally. You cannot completely overhaul a system with this many moving parts overnight.

By failing to seriously consider its potential impacts, and by rushing the bill back into the legislature without further compromise, advocates for this measure are sticking to a doomed path that will keep grieving families in limbo for the foreseeable future.

8 Leadership Lessons From Former U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman

With profound sadness, we mourn the passing of Joe Lieberman, whose dedication to public service left an indelible mark. In this Forbes article, our founding partner, Michael Coffey, and others pay homage by sharing invaluable leadership lessons gleaned from the Senator’s remarkable career.

FORBES LEADERSHIP STRATEGY
By Edward Segal, Senior Contributor, March 28, 2024

Former Democratic vice presidential nominee and U.S. Senator Joseph Lieberman who died yesterday at 82, leaves behind a track record of professional conduct that can serve as a role model for business and other leaders.

Do The Right Thing

“Joe Lieberman and I didn’t always see eye-to-eye, but he had an extraordinary career in public service, including four decades spent fighting for the people of Connecticut,” former President Barack Obama said in a statement.

“He also worked hard to repeal “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and helped us pass the Affordable Care Act. In both cases the politics were difficult, but he stuck to his principles because he knew it was the right thing to do,” Obama observed.

“At his political peak, on the threshold of the vice presidency, Mr. Lieberman— a national voice of morality [was] the first major Democrat to rebuke President Bill Clinton for his sexual relationship with the White House intern Monica Lewinsky…” the New York Times reported.

Humor And Humility

“Joe Lieberman was a great leader because he, throughout his life, was a very independent-minded person, a very compassionate person, empathetic, and he had both a sense of humility about himself and a sense of humor. Humor and humility is a good combination and kind of rare these days,” Jim Kennedy, who was the senator’s communication director for nine years, said via email.

Work Across Party Lines

“Senator Lieberman didn’t stick to talking points. He didn’t stick to partisan ideology, he worked across party lines to get things done, successfully in many ways. And that’s increasingly a rarity, and people like him are few and far between, unfortunately, but if we could get back to that kind of leadership, I think the country would be better off,” Kennedy noted.

During his final Senate speech in 2013, ‘Lieberman urged Congress to look beyond party lines and partisan rancor to break Washington gridlock,’ the Associated Press reported.

“It requires reaching across the aisle and finding partners from the opposite party,” said Lieberman. “That is what is desperately needed in Washington now,” the news outlet wrote.

Fight For What You Believe In

“In an era of political carbon copies, Joe Lieberman was a singularity. One of one,” said Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat. “He fought and won for what he believed was right and for the state he adored,” according to a reported by the Associated Press.

Have A Solid Foundation Of Principles

“One essential reason for Lieberman’s success was having a set of values and principles that differed from conventional wisdom,” Daniel Boscaljon, an executive coach, said via email.

“Whether derived from religion or other influences, having a solid foundation of principles—and a community to continue nourishing them—is crucial for leaders. Leaders whose only influence in conventional wisdom only have two choices: to conform or rebel. Having different sources of wisdom and influence empower true leaders to govern creatively, because it allows different perspectives from which to evaluate a situation,” he commented.

Be A Good Listener

“Senator Joseph Lieberman was a great listener—someone who cared about what you had to say,” Michael Coffey, an attorney and senior partner at the Coffey Modica law firm, said en an emailed message.

“With a Zen-like calmness he was not guided by fury or passion, but rather knowledge and deep understanding on how to take actions to improve people’s lives with common sense,” Coffey noted.

Express Appreciation

In 2006, Coffey was one of only four elected state officials in Connecticut to back Lieberman’s re-election campaign.

“When Senator Lieberman won, he made sure to call me the next day and personally say thank you. It shows that despite his immense power and influence in our nation’s capital, he never forgot what got him there. His intellect, humor and demeanor will be missed and his impact on our nation’s politics will not soon be forgotten,” Coffey recalled.

Build Consensus

“With his good friend, the late Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), he was able to build consensus and move the country forward without rancor, without dividing the country,” Debra Caruso Marrone, CEO of DJC Communications, said via email.

“Members of today’s Congress should emulate Senators Lieberman and McCain and bring the country together, ending the chasm that exists between the right and left,” she recommended.

Uber driver lucky to be alive after late passenger, cops stop her from crossing Baltimore bridge

Coffey Modica’s Michael Mezzacappa and Karl MacGibbon share more insights on the Francis Scott Key bridge collapse with the New York Post

By Melissa Koenig
March 28, 2024

A Baltimore Uber driver says she is lucky to be alive after a quick-thinking cop stopped her from crossing the Francis Scott Key Bridge early Tuesday morning.

Gayle Fairman got a call at 1:16 a.m. to pick up a passenger from the Amazon facility in Sparrows Point and drop them off in the Brooklyn neighborhood of the Maryland city — just across the bridge, she told WBAL.

But it took a few minutes for the passenger to come out to the car, which Fairman now says may have saved their lives.

“In all honesty, if my passenger wasn’t a little late coming out to my car and getting in, we probably very well would have been on the bridge when it collapsed,” she said.

Fairman described how she was “right at the front of the line” to cross the bridge spanning the Patapsco River at around 1:30 a.m. when she was stopped by a police officer.

Francis Scott Key Bridge collapse blocks $80B in cargo from moving through port: ‘Major disaster’

Our own Michael P. Mezzacappa and Karl MacGibbon share their insights on the economic impact

By Ronny Reyes, March 26, 2024

The collapse of Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge is a “major disaster” that threatens to disrupt the $80 billion in cargo that travels to and from one of America’s busiest ports, experts said.

The Port of Baltimore stands as the nation’s leading import and export site for cars, light trucks, sugar and gypsum — with a record 52.3 million tons of foreign cargo transported in 2023.

The bustling port, however, has been rendered inaccessible to shipping vessels following the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge overnight, with shipping expert Lars Jensen, CEO of Vespucci Maritime, warning of the economic impacts after officials offered no clear timeline on when the port will reopen.

“This is a major disaster and will create significant problems on the US East Coast for US importers and exporters,” Jensen wrote on LinkedIn.

“The bridge collapse will mean that for the time being it will not be possible to get to the container terminals — or a range of the other port terminals — in Baltimore.

“Additionally this means the cargo already gated into the Baltimore terminals would have to either wait an unknown period for the sealane to reopen, or be gated back out and shifted to a different port,” he added.

Paul Wiedefeld, Maryland’s secretary of transportation, told reporters Tuesday that vessel traffic in and out of the Port of Baltimore would be suspended until further notice, but noted that the port is still open to trucks.

Attorney Michael Mezzacappa, an expert on property damage cases in the shipping industry, told The Post that the collapse will have a major impact on shipping and traffic routes on the East Coast for the foreseeable future.

“It’s not going to get fixed anytime soon,” Mezzacappa said of the bridge, which allowed about 34,000 vehicles to get across the Patapsco River every day.

“It’s going to take a lot longer than anyone expects,” he added. “This is going to be a major problem for the northeast.”

Karl MacGibbon, the director of Quality Assurance and Control at Coffey Modica and another expert on shipping cargo damage, told The Post that it could be at least 4 months before the port can reopen, with ports in the New York area likely to pick up some of the shipments.

“We’ll have to see what happens and where the shipments can be diverted as New Jersey and New York’s ports are already busy to begin with,” MacGibbon said.

Gov. Wes Moore said the reconstruction of the Key Bridge will likely be a “long-term build,” without offering any specifics.

“It’s going to be a build that’s going to require every facet and every aspect of our society. It is something that I can tell you we are going to get this done,” Moore said.

President Biden offered proof of how important the port is to the economy. He vowed to “move heaven and Earth” to help repair the bridge and help those employed at the Port of Baltimore.

“We’re going to do everything we can to protect those jobs and help those workers,” the president said.

The port area also supports the cruise industry, with Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean carrying about 440,000 passengers on trips across the Patapsco River last year, according to the Baltimore Banner.

Royal Caribbean said in a statement that it was closely monitoring the situation in Baltimore and “working on alternatives for Vision of the Seas’ ongoing and upcoming sailings.”

The Port of Baltimore also generates more than 15,300 jobs, with another 140,000 jobs linked to the activity at the port.

Scott Cowan, president of the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 333 in the Port of Baltimore, warned that the bridge’s collapse will likely have a “catastrophic” impact for those employed there.

“Until the shipping channel gets opened, there’s not gonna be any ship traffic, there’s not gonna be any ships, there’s not gonna be any work for the people,” Cowan told the Baltimore Sun.

Read the full article in the New York Post.

Homebuyers May Be Forced to Pay More After Legal Fight

Coffey Modica’s Maria D’Avanzo shares her expertise in this recent Newsweek article on changes in homebuyer fee structures.

Published Mar 22, 2024  | Updated Mar 23, 2024
By Omar Mohammed

The changes coming to the real estate market over how agents are compensated could see homebuyers facing extra costs when purchasing property, a housing economist said.

Last week, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) settled claims that alleged the organization had been part of a structure that lacked transparency in the way real estate commissions were being charged. This contributed to high costs of home transactions, particularly for sellers, critics said.

NAR denied any wrongdoing but agreed to pay more than $400 million over the next four years to end the claims. They also moved to change the rules over how sellers and buyers of homes pay commissions that experts say could transform the sector.

One such change that could come into effect is sellers are now forbidden from deciding what fees real estate agents are set to be paid, which typically would be at 6 percent of the home sale price.

Currently, sellers would cover that cost, but the new system could mean that they may no longer do so and allow some flexibility in the way buyers and sellers cover the fees.

But Danielle Hale, chief economist at realtor.com, suggested that buyers may be disadvantaged in the new system as now they might have to pay their agents out of their own pocket when in the past sellers had been the ones who incurred the cost.

“These changes could put more pressure on buyers if they are responsible for compensating their own agents directly, at a time when home prices are high and elevated mortgage rates make borrowing expensive,” she said in a statement shared with Newsweek.

“Some buyers might have to lower their target price in their home search to account for this newly added expense, but even if home prices were to fall in the future, buyers’ costs are likely to rise by a similar amount if they are having to compensate agents directly.”

Hale acknowledged that it may be too early to tell how exactly the rules changes on commissions will come shape the housing market.

“What consumers decide to do will ultimately determine how it will play out, and there are countless possible scenarios,” she said. “Home sellers could still choose to offer to pay buyers’ agents, or another option might be for buyers to raise the offer price on a home and then ask for funds back in a concession to cover their agent’s cost. Or the buyer and seller might each pay their own agent.”

Agents can be helpful to buyers, Hale pointed out.

“Buyers agents play an important role in helping home shoppers find the right home, negotiate the terms of the sale, and settle on a price, and buyers will likely be reluctant to navigate the financial decision of a lifetime without their professional expertise and support,” she said. “Ultimately, if these changes bring about greater consumer transparency, that’s a good thing.”

But some real estate experts told Newsweek this week that the shift, which could take effect this summer, may force agents to work harder at proving their value to customers. Buyers may become more selective in terms of what they want to get from their agents, some say.

“Maybe there’s like an à la carte menu, right? If you want me to just bring you to the place to the house, to walk around, let you in, maybe that’s one price,” real estate lawyer Maria D’Avanzo, a partner at Coffey Modica, told Newsweek this week. “If I am also going to be sourcing your engineer or your inspector to do the inspection, that’s another price.”

This may in the long run help to save costs on transactions, she said.

“Under that formula, I think a buyer is going to end up paying less than they would if they paid like 3 percent of the purchase price,” she said.

The ultimate consequences of the NAR rule changes will take time to be fully understood, according to Hale.

“There’s still a lot to be determined with the settlement and what it means for the industry, agents, buyers and sellers, and the market,” Hale said.

Why Seizing Trump’s Assets – Like Trump Tower – Won’t Be Quick Or Easy 

Coffey Modica’s Paul Golden is one of the legal experts quoted in this Forbes article regarding Donald Trump’s troubles paying the penalty in his civil fraud trial.

Mar 21, 2024,  by John Hyatt, Forbes Staff 

THE QUEENS NATIVE WHO BUILT A REAL ESTATE EMPIRE IN MANHATTAN IS ON THE VERGE OF POSSIBLY FORFEITING HIS FAMOUS NEW YORK PROPERTIES TO STATE AUTHORITIES—IN ADDITION TO ALL HIS SPARE CASH. HERE’S WHAT COULD HAPPEN NEXT. 

On Monday, Donald Trump’s lawyers revealed in a legal filing that Trump had failed to secure the $464 million appeals bond he needs to avoid paying the half-billion-dollar penalty as he appeals the New York civil fraud judgment against him. Securing the bond was a “practical impossibility,” they wrote, adding that about 30 different bond companies turned down the former commander-in-chief’s request, in part because very few will consider “a bond of anything approaching that magnitude” and the rest will not accept “hard assets such as real estate as collateral.” Trump is now asking the five-judge appeals court panel to pause enforcement of the civil judgment or to lower the bond amount to $100 million while the appeals court hears his case. 

Trump is running out of time. New York Attorney General Letitia James has said that her office plans to collect from him on Monday, March 25. Unless Trump is able to obtain an appeals bond before then, New York prosecutors and law enforcement could initiate a wide-ranging action to freeze and then seize Trump’s assets. Forbes estimates that Trump has about $400 million of cash and liquid securities, but some of that money is already encumbered. Earlier this month, Trump obtained a $91.6 million appeals bond for the second New York civil judgment against him (in which he was found liable for defaming and sexually assaulting E. Jean Carroll) by posting a Schwab brokerage account as collateral, MSNBC reported. Those same funds cannot be used to collateralize a second bond. Trump’s attorneys say their client needs collateral of $557 million to post the $464 million bond. 

“I think he is in trouble,” says Kevin O’Brien, a white collar trial lawyer in New York and a former assistant U.S. attorney to the Department of Justice. “He doesn’t have the cash to pay for this. That’s why he’s in the pickle he’s in.” Mark Zauderer, a trial and appellate lawyer in New York, says that if Trump fails to get his bond or get a favorable ruling from the appellate judges, then the Attorney General’s office will move swiftly to take control of Trump’s bank and brokerage accounts, as well as his various buildings and real estate holding companies. “You do everything. You [go after] everything at once,” Zauderer explains. “Some [assets] will take longer than others.” 

Spectators can expect a long and drawn-out series of legal filings and appeals, over a period of weeks, months and possibly even years. The Attorney General is “not going to take a stake and drive a sign through the front yard that says, ‘This building has been seized,’” explains O’Brien. “It’s a legal process. It’s not like she’s going to be selling these properties next week.” 

To initiate the process of seizing property, the New York Attorney General’s Office can put liens on Trump’s assets and then give execution orders to county sheriff’s offices to sell any Trump-owned properties in their counties through an auction. Trump has stakes in 13 New York properties that are collectively worth about $700 million after debt; ten of those assets are in New York County (which encompasses Manhattan), two properties are in Westchester County (a golf course and a mansion) and one is in Dutchess County (another golf course). James could also pursue Trump’s properties in other states by invoking the Uniform Enforcement of Foreign Judgements Act, though that could create more legal hurdles and raise some jurisdictional issues, lawyers told Forbes. 

Under liquidation proceedings, Trump’s other creditors – like Ladder Capital, Axos Bank and Bryn Mawr Trust Company, which all lent Trump money against his New York buildings – will also demand what they’re owed, potentially complicating the process. Then there’s tax authorities owed money by Trump who will want their share. “Other people have been standing in line,” says O’Brien. “That might be a major fight over who has first dibs.” 

For these reasons, James may start by liquidating buildings that are unencumbered—or even wait to sell some or all of the properties. “One theory is that the Attorney General would not actually sell any of Trump’s real property until the appellate process was complete,” says Paul Golden, a New York lawyer specializing in real estate and commercial litigation. “There would likely be complicated litigation if the attorney general sells real property at a public auction now for well under the market value, only to later discover that the end result was that Trump was not liable after all.” 

There are other mechanisms for the Attorney General’s office to squeeze money out of Trump’s buildings—like taking payments from tenants that lease space from Trump. “Ultimately the Attorney General could not only look for money that Trump has in the bank, but can stop tenants that pay big amounts of rent to Trump from paying him,” says Zauderer. Extracting cash flow from Trump’s properties would further imperil Trump’s ability to service his massive debt pile: Over the next five years, he has $780 million in mortgages coming due. 

Theoretically, Trump could avoid the humiliation of surrendering assets to New York law enforcement by mortgaging or even selling off some of his assets to post the bond. His largest assets in New York include a 30% interest in the 1290 Avenue of the Americas building (publicly traded Vornado owns the rest); a collection of condo units, commercial spaces and storage units he rents out in Trump Park Ave; and two ground leaseholds on 6 East 57th Street, a retail building whose anchor tenant is the jeweler Tiffany’s. Trump also owns 100% of the Trump Tower building (another Midtown tower), which leases space to retail brands like Gucci. And of course, Trump has the penthouse at the top of Trump Tower, which he infamously claimed was three times bigger than it actually is. 

But of course, he is appealing the judgment against him, which means he’s trying to avoid selling any of his properties to personally post his bond. As Trump explained in a rant on Truth Social on Tuesday. “I would be forced to mortgage or sell Great Assets, perhaps at Fire Sale prices, and if and when I win the Appeal, they would be gone.” He added: “I shouldn’t have to put up any money… until the end of the appeal.” 

It makes sense for Trump to wait: The panel of appellate judges could decide to lower the bond amount Trump owes, or even pause the enforcement of the civil penalty while Trump appeals the judgment against him. A final decision on his appeal could take up to a year, Zauderer says. 

“It puts a shadow over his ability to do business, period,” says O’Brien. “Who’s going to trust a guy like this?” 

Why Donald Trump Will Seek To Delay His Stormy Daniels Trial Even Further

Coffey Modica’s Paul Golden provides his insights into Donald Trump’s court cases in Newsweek.

Published Mar 17, 2024| By Sean O’Driscoll, Senior Crime and Courts Reporter

Donald Trump is expected to seek further delays to his Stormy Daniels hush money trial when more documents are released to his lawyers next week.

Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has already agreed to delay the trial by a month after federal prosecutors disclosed more than 100,000 pages of documents to Trump’s lawyers this month.
Trump’s Daniels trial was set to begin March 25. The former president is accused of making hush-money payments to adult film star Stephanie Clifford, better known by the stage name Stormy Daniels, during his 2016 presidential campaign.

Paul Golden, a partner at New York law firm Coffey Modica, told Newsweek that additional documents will be released next week, but the exact quantity is still not known.

All of the documents are coming from the U.S Attorney’s Office, the prosecution section of the Department of Justice (DOJ), and relate to Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, who has agreed to testify against Trump in the Stormy Daniels case.

“The U.S. Attorney’s Office has indicated it will produce yet another set of documents sometime during the week of March 18th,” Golden said.

“At this point it is unknown how many pages of records there will be in that set. It is also unknown how many of these new pages are directly relevant to the underlying criminal case.”
Newsweek sought email comment from Trump’s attorney on Sunday.

Trump is facing up to 34 felony charges regarding the alleged falsification of business records and concealing hush-money payments to Daniels during his first presidential campaign. Trump, the presumptive Republican candidate in the 2024 presidential election, has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Golden noted that on March 4, approximately 73,000 pages of records from the U.S. Attorney’s Office were provided to Trump as a response to a subpoena.

“Although this may seem to be a large of amount of new material Trump’s attorneys would need to review to be ready for trial, the DA’s position was that of these pages, only about 172 pages of witness statements were relevant to the underlying case, and that Trump’s attorneys would have more than enough time to review them before the trial.”

In addition to these 73,000 pages of records, the U.S. Attorney’s Office on Monday, March 11, produced another set of records—around 31,000 pages.

Bragg indicated that because of the “distinctive circumstances,” his office would consent to an adjournment of “up to 30 days.”

“The judge now has several choices, including adjourning the trial date by 30 days, as the DA requests, or by 90 days, as Trump is seeking,” Golden said.

However, Trump’s lawyers will almost certainly seek a longer adjournment once the next tranche of documents are released next week.
Bragg has accused Trump’s attorneys of stalling their last request for DOJ documents so that the Daniels trial will be delayed.

However, Bragg’s office conceded on Thursday that it is willing to delay the start of the Trump trial by 30 days so that the former president’s lawyers can read over newly disclosed documents from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“We note that the timing of the current production of additional materials from the USAO (U.S Attorney’s Office) is a function of [the] defendant’s own delay,” the DA’s office stated in a court filing.

“Defendant waited until January 18, 2024, to subpoena additional materials from the USAO and then consented to repeated extensions of the deadline for the USAO’s determination.”

As Trump’s delay request is not opposed by Bragg’s office, it will likely be granted by the judge in the Daniels case, Juan Merchan. However, he could agree to delay the case by 90 days, as Trump has requested.
DOJ Special Counsel Jack Smith has repeatedly accused Trump of trying to delay his criminal trials until after the presidential election. If elected president, Trump can apply to the U.S. Supreme Court to have all his criminal trials delayed until after he leaves office.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office records released so far are all related to federal prosecutors’ 2018 investigations of the alleged hush-money payments at the center of Trump’s case, which eventually brought charges against the ex-president’s former attorney and fixer, Cohen.

Trump’s lawyers are hoping to use the records to discredit Cohen’s upcoming testimony in the Daniels trial.

Coffey Modica Hires Two New Partners

Welcome Jodi Ritter and Maria D’Avanzo!

Coffey Modica has once again expanded its practice with the addition of two new Partners based out of the firm’s White Plains, New York headquarters.

Jodi Ritter brings 25 years of experience in handling insurance defense litigation matters to her role as Partner. Over the course of her career, Ritter has overseen complex claims and litigation strategies including excess and primary general commercial liability, motor vehicle, premises, negligent security, trucking and transportation, labor law and construction, products, and more.Prior to her position at Coffey Modica, Ritter commanded the development and launch of the Sompo Global Risk Solutions program at Gallagher Bassett Services. She grew the practice from dormancy to strength with over 150 adjusters, more than 10,000 claims and over 2,500 insureds. She also served as a partner, team leader and accomplished trial attorney at Wilson Elser, a leading insurance defense firm, for more than a decade.

Earlier in her career, as both a Special Narcotics Prosecutor/Assistant District Attorney at the Office of The Special Narcotics Prosecutor in New York, and as Assistant District Attorney at King County District Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, Ms. Ritter maintained a 100 percent conviction rate.

Maria J. D’Avanzo joins Coffey Modica as a Partner in the firm’s Excess Trial Team. D’Avanzo has years of litigation experience representing Fortune 500 companies, as well as a unique legal perspective honed as a former C-Suite Executive in real estate, data privacy and investigations, cyber and compliance.

Before joining Coffey Modica, D’Avanzo was Chief Evangelist Officer at Traliant, a private equity-back human resources, compliance and ethics, and privacy e-learning provider; and prior to that, she served in a leadership role with the global real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield as Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer and Chief Privacy Officer. In this role, D’Avanzo spearheaded the inception of a global ethics and compliance program, as well as a global data privacy program focused on General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act.

She is a recognized thought leader in ethics and compliance and a sought-after speaker on Department of Justice changes, investigations, whistleblower programs, culture, compliance, data privacy, and ESG.

“We are pleased to welcome Jodi Ritter and Maria J. D’Avanzo to the Coffey Modica team. Both bring a variety of experiences handling complex client matters, resolving them with great satisfaction, that will bring increased value to the counsel our firm is able to provide,” said Founding Partner Michael W. Coffey.

Founded in 2021, Coffey Modica is one of America’s fastest growing defense litigation practices, operating eight (8) offices, including in New York City, White Plains, Buffalo and Commack, Long Island, and Jersey City, NJ, Darien, CT and King of Prussia, PA.