N.Y. Regulator Subpoenas Broker About Trump Organization
(Bloomberg) -- New York’s insurance regulator issued a subpoena to the Trump Organization’s primary insurance broker, a person familiar with the matter said. It came just days after President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney testified to Congress that the president’s company sometimes misrepresented the value of its assets to insurance companies.
The subpoena, from New York’s Department of Financial Services, asks Aon Plc for details about its relationship with the Trump Organization and Trump himself, the person said. There’s no indication that Aon, which often works as an intermediary between insurance companies and businesses seeking policies, is suspected of any wrongdoing.
The Trump Organization didn’t respond to a request for comment.
An Aon spokeswoman, Donna Mirandola, confirmed the DFS subpoena and said the company intended to cooperate, but declined to identify whether the subpoena involved the Trump Organization. A DFS spokeswoman, Ciara Marangas, declined to comment. News of the subpoena was reported earlier by the New York Times.
The subpoena marks the first regulatory action directed towards Trump or his circle by Linda Lacewell, who took over as Superintendent of the DFS last month. Lacewell, who had served as chief of staff to New York governor Andrew Cuomo, spent most of her career as a prosecutor at the federal and state levels. Working in the U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn, she developed a reputation for being an aggressive prosecutor who thought about cases strategically.
Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, told the House Oversight Committee last week that the Trump Organization had sometimes inflated the value of its assets in representations to insurance companies in order to reduce its premiums.
Trump inflated the value of his assets on forms provided to his insurer as part of an effort to cut his insurance costs, Cohen told Congress. Trump detailed his net worth on documents known as statements of financial condition, where higher asset valuations could make his business seem less risky.
“We would provide them with these copies so that they would understand that the premium, which is based sometimes upon the individual’s capabilities to pay, would be reduced,” Cohen said.
Trump’s deputies did so at Trump’s direction and with his knowledge, Cohen said. Trump Organization executives including Allen Weisselberg, Ron Lieberman and Matthew Calamari knew about the alleged fraud, Cohen said.
In a December 2007 deposition, Trump identified an Aon insurance broker named Pamela Newman as one of his company’s insurance contacts. Newman, who didn’t respond to requests for comment, donated thousands of dollars to Trump’s 2016 campaign and the Make America Great super PAC that supported his candidacy, federal election records show.
When lenders “see Pam is involved, they feel much more comfortable,” Trump said in a November 2011 television interview that identified Trump as one of Newman’s biggest clients.
The Department of Financial Services regulates insurance companies and banks, including monitoring the integrity of insurance markets. It can bring enforcement cases against companies it regulates and refer related matters to other authorities.
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