A real estate broker, serving as an expert witness in President Donald Trump’s defense, made an unexpected invitation during his testimony in a New York courtroom.
Trump has vehemently contested the significantly low valuation of his prized Mar-a-Lago resort in South Florida. The pre-trial ruling, issued by the judge overseeing Trump’s civil “fraud” case in New York, brought by Democrat Attorney General Letitia James, appraised the value of Mar-a-Lago.
A South Florida real estate broker, Lawrence Moens, testified on Tuesday in defense of Trump, asserting that Mar-a-Lago’s actual value was much higher than even Trump himself had claimed.
Moens, a renowned celebrity real estate broker in South Florida specializing in assisting affluent individuals in acquiring valuable properties, provided testimony on Mar-a-Lago’s worth in the case. During his testimony, Moens appeared to invite both Judge Arthur Engoron and AG James to visit the resort “any time” to witness its splendor firsthand, as reported by Business Insider.
The expert witness for the defense, alluding to the evident tension between Trump and the prosecutor and judge, playfully suggested that he would ensure Trump’s absence at Mar-a-Lago if the judge and AG accepted the invitation. Adam Klasfeld, a legal correspondent for The Messenger, provided ongoing commentary on Moens’ testimony via social media.
Moens, in his role as an expert witness for the defense, emphasized that Mar-a-Lago was a remarkably unique property undervalued by various parties, including the 45th president. According to Moens, Mar-a-Lago’s current estimated worth is at least $1.5 billion.
However, Moens based this valuation on the hypothetical scenario of it being sold as a single-family residence.
Judge Engoron had already dismissed this assumption due to a deed Trump signed decades ago, restricting the property’s use solely as a commercial entity—a club with paid membership, to be precise. Despite objections from prosecutors regarding Moens’ testimony as an expert real estate broker familiar with the upscale South Florida market, Judge Engoron permitted the testimony.
ABC News reported that Moens lavishly praised Trump’s expansive 17+ acre waterfront estate.
“I am on the front lines every day of selling properties, and I have a pretty good handle of what is going on currently in the market,” he said at one point.
“My numbers are usually right,” he later added.
Throughout his testimony, a captivating seven-minute video accompanied by stirring orchestral music showcased every facet of the property.
Following the video presentation, Moens offered further insights, providing expert commentary on the luxurious details and finishes that, in his opinion, significantly enhanced the overall value of the property.
“I invited the attorney general’s office to come see it any time,” the witness said of Mar-a-Lago.
“The offer still stands.
“I will make sure he is not there when you come!” he added.
Trump and Moens are not the sole voices criticizing the New York judge and attorney general for severely undervaluing the Mar-a-Lago property.
Even CNN reported that a multitude of real estate experts raised concerns about the unusually low valuation assigned to the property by the prosecutor and judge. While Trump had previously asserted a valuation ranging from $400 to $600 million for Mar-a-Lago, Judge Engoron, in his pre-trial ruling, assessed the property’s value at a mere $18 to $27 million.
Real estate experts argue that the issue lies in Engoron basing this determination on the assessed value of Mar-a-Lago by the Palm Beach County tax assessor. It’s widely known in the real estate industry that tax assessment values typically fall well below the actual market value of a property.
In simpler terms, the prosecutor and judge unquestionably embraced the underestimated valuation of a uniquely special property from an uninformed bureaucrat instead of relying on the expert appraisers, brokers, and realtors who possess a nuanced understanding of and actively participate in the real estate market.