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Update: Trump Posts $175 Million Bond; Avoids Having Assets Seized

Trump property

Former President Donald Trump has posted a $175 million bond in his New York civil fraud case, which prevents the state from attempting to seize his assets during an appeal.

The bond had been lowered from $464 million by an appellate court last month,  hours after the former president missed a grace period deadline.  He was then given ten days to put up the money.

If Mr. Trump wins, he won’t have to pay the state anything and he’ll get a refund on the money has put up Monday.

New York Attorney General Letitia James had been prepared to initiate a collection on the judgment, possibly by taking control of some of Mr. Trump’s marquee properties.

Alina Habba, an attorney for Mr. Trump, said Trump’s payment was made “as promised.”

“He looks forward to vindicating his rights on appeal and overturning this unjust verdict,” Habba said.

Attorneys for Trump wrote in a March 18 filing in the case that it was practically impossible for the defendants to secure the original, near half-billion dollar bond, saying he was turned down by over 30 surety companies.

Trump’s bond pauses any action that the New York Attorney General could take in seizing Trump’s properties in response to the judgement until at least September, when the state appeals court also set a schedule to hear his appeal of the $464 million verdict against him.

The $175M bond is underwritten by Knight Specialty Insurance, a California-based insurance company, owned by billionaire financier Don Hankey. As Hankey Group of Companies, based in Los Angeles, is an umbrella company that includes an insurer, a subprime auto lender, and a commercial real estate investment firm.  Hankey has made his billions by lending to borrowers other financial firms shun.

Hankey’s assistance to Trump has brought the little-known billionaire into the spotlight. He is Trump supporter, telling Bloomberg News that he did vote for Trump. But he cautioned reporters saying, his decision to help secure a bond for millions of dollars for the former president wasn’t about loyalty.

Hankey cautioned people who think this was about his loyalty, saying “Yes, I did vote for him in the past, but this is a business deal and this is what we do.”

The multi-billionaire says he’s never met Trump, nor has he “ever spoken to him on the phone.”

But in recent years, several of Hankey’s companies’ operations attracted the attention of the U.S. Justice Department, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the California Department of Insurance. Since 2015, regulators have taken action against Hankey’s companies four times, public records show.

Back in 2017, for example, the Department of Justice filed a complaint in federal court in California against Westlake Financial, Hankey’s big subprime auto lender. With a network of 50,000 car dealerships and $3 billion in managed assets, Westlake Financial calls itself “The Yes! Yes! Lender.”

Court document does not list the collateral that Trump used to secure the bond.

Last month, when the former President was asked at a news conference would he use cash to cover the bond, he claimed that he also wanted to use cash to fund his reelection campaign.

Yet asked if he planned to start personal funds into his presidential campaign, Trump said, “First of all, it’s none of your business,” before adding, “I might do that. I have the option.”

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