31.3.20

Judge rules fraud case against Trump's hotel company can proceed

A federal judge filed an opinion on Monday ruling that a fraud case against President Trump’s hotel company can continue.

U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos, an Obama-appointee, decided a former business partner of Trump International Hotels Management could amend its lawsuit against the company to include claims of fraud and breach of contract, according to the ruling obtained by The Hill.

The business partner Orestes Fintiklis and his fund Ithaca Capital Investments obtained control of the Panama City property in question in March 2018 after the Trump company withdrew from it.



Fintiklis and Ithaca, which had purchased most of the units in the project, sought to add claims to the lawsuit that it could face millions of dollars in liabilities because Trump’s company allegedly underpaid taxes on its management fees.

The plaintiffs claim Panamanian audits of the project uncovered the underpaid taxes, which they said intended to make the property’s finances look better than they were.

The judge denied Trump’s company’s allegation that the figures were “merely nonactionable puffery,” saying the company touted the hotel was doing well financially.

But Ramos rejected three counterclaims of fraud in the suit, saying the defense had suggested Ithaca had attempted to forcibly take the hotel through forcible entry and burglary. He permitted others like an allegation of contrast interference.

The next legal meeting for the case will be conducted through teleconference on April 24.

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