☕️ OVERVALUED ☙ Wednesday, September 27, 2023 ☙ C&C NEWS 🦠
I explain the new judgment against Trump; Biden's legal problems balloon; Gov Abbot promises more alien buses; LA county drops mandates; SADS pilot, sitcom star; Canadian Nazi updates; more.
Good morning, C&Cers, it’s Wednesday! Today’s terrific roundup includes: New York Judge finds Trump guilty of disagreeing with the judge on Trump’s property values; Biden classified documents case expands; Biden bribery case expands; Biden impeachment hearings commence; Gov. Abbott promises to continue shipping aliens to sanctuary cities; Harvard Gazette decries official health misinformation; final jab mandates fall in LA County; another mysterious pilot collapse; SADS sitcom star; Australian covid dictator body count; South Carolina’s library association departs woke American Library Association; updates on the Canadian Nazi scandal; and an ingenious new invention you might want to consider for your own home.
🗞💬 WORLD NEWS AND COMMENTARY 💬🗞
🔥 Yesterday, the Associated Press breathlessly reported on the first court decision against President Trump, in a story headlined “Judge rules Donald Trump defrauded banks, insurers while building real estate empire.”
Ruling in a civil lawsuit brought by woke, Soros-funded New York Attorney General Letitia James, New York state judge Arthur Engoron found that Trump and his company had “deceived” banks, insurers and others by “massively overvaluing” his assets and “exaggerating his net worth” on applications and financial statements used while making real-estate deals and securing bank loans.
The first thing to understand about the decision is that no one was harmed. Trump paid all his loans back in full, on time. Letitia’s case is only about what Trump put down on the financial statements that were provided to extremely sophisticated financial professionals who didn’t rely on them. Letitia and Judge Engoran relied on a goofy New York law criminalizing “falsifying” financial documents — a unique law that doesn’t require even one single victim.
That’s bad enough. But it gets a LOT worse.
This case is right in my wheelhouse; I’ll explain the whole thing. It’s not complicated. The judge’s 35-page decision is, at bottom, only about how President Trump valued his real estate holdings when he was providing his personal financial statement to various people. I am qualified to comment because half of my commercial litigation cases are disputes over real estate. Before tumbling into constitutional and civil rights law, I also had a strong side practice in commercial loan workouts — negotiating for developers with banks — and commercial Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which (at least in Florida) is all about valuing real estate.
Principle number one: Real estate valuation is not a science because values are subjective. Every effort to value real estate is just a guess at what someone will eventually be willing to pay for the land. Your dilapidated barn might be someone else’s castle.
Real estate — buildings and land — is worth different amounts to different people. A thousand acres of inexpensive pine forest zoned only for agricultural use could be worth a whole lot more to a developer who’s confident he can get a zoning change. It’s not nefarious. Maybe that developer also owns a half-acre parcel downtown somewhere that the County has long wanted for a park, so he knows he has something to trade the commissioners for rezoning the pine forest to residential.
That hypothetical developer would pay a lot more for the thousand acres than anyone else. So what’s the property worth? The price to everyone else or the “highest and best use?”
But legal disputes must be resolved and you have to start somewhere. Lawyers think about real estate values in three general categories, depending on who is doing the valuing. From lowest value to highest, the normal categories are: the tax appraised value (the lowest, and least likely to be accurate), the “forced liquidation” value (think foreclosure sale), and then the highest, the “market” value (determined by professional appraisers who assume that the seller can market the property without pressure or time constraints).
Even professional appraisers disagree on land value. Every single one of my cases involves competing appraisals, and the appraisers’ numbers are often wildly different. Lawyers and judges all know that appraisals are just guesses. When I negotiate with bank lawyers, I often offer to bet them a month’s salary that when the appraised property finally sells, it will bring a price at least 15% different than the bank’s appraisal. In all these years, no opposing lawyer has ever taken that bet.
A fourth category of valuation is the owner’s opinion of his property’s value. Even though an owner might not be a real estate expert, the law considers the owner well positioned to know the value of their own property. They probably think about it a lot. They know all the pro’s and con’s.
Therefore under the law, an owner’s opinion is admissible evidence of value.
The lowest valuation is usually the tax appraised value, which is the amount used by the state to calculate annual property taxes. There’s a good reason why it’s the lowest: tax appraisers calculations are limited in many ways under state law. For example, in Florida tax appraisers can’t increase the value of homestead property — where someone lives — more than a few percentage points at a time. Tax appraisers also can only change the assessment when certain things happen, like when a property is sold.
Judge Engoran ruled yesterday that Trump had “inflated” his property values on his financial statements. Meaning, the judge decided what the properties were worth and then found that Trump overestimated Trump’s values — on paper. Take for example Trump’s residence, Mar-a-Lago, which the judge determined was worth $18 million for the entire ten-year period between 2011 and 2021.
That determination was based only on the county tax assessor, who appraised its value between $18 and $27 million. So of course the Judge used the lowest number in that range, $18 million, comparing that to Trump’s value of between $426 million and $612 million:
Nobody would use the tax appraiser’s value to guess at Mar-a-Lago’s selling price. Nobody. Here’s what Forbes recently said in a highly-critical article about Trump and the case:
So Forbes estimated Mar-a-Lago’s value between $200 million and $725 million, based on broker opinions, and ultimately went with “a conservative” $350 million. Mar-a-Lago is spectacular, historic, all-stone, luxury oceanfront property that looks like a castle and is the size of a small hotel. For comparison, a 5-bedroom home recently sold in the same neighborhood for $75 million.
The $18 million value is a joke. Except nobody’s laughing.
And it gets even worse. All of Trump’s financial statements — again, provided to sophisticated financial professionals — included a prominent disclaimer saying that actual real estate values could be wildly different than what was put down.The judge even reprinted the disclaimer in full in his opinion:
But Judge Engoran breezily waved the disclaimer aside, in essence holding that Trump should have known better anyway. The judge then went through all Trump’s other LLCs and properties and applied the same logic, finding Trump’s guesses at the value of his real estate were “false.”
The practical effect, as I read the order, is that the judge has ordered Trump to stop doing business in New York, and ordered Trump’s properties to be fire-sold under a court-appointed receiver. Again — even though nobody was harmed.
I assume President Trump’s lawyers will appeal this awful decision. Stay tuned.
🔥 Some folks speculated that Judge Engoran’s decision was published yesterday on purpose to obscure all the breaking news in the various Biden cases. I don’t know about that, but it wasn’t a good day for President Robert L. Peters. First, ABC News broke a story yesterday claiming that the Biden Classified Document case — where tons of classified documents were found in various Biden properties, including his garage — is mushrooming into a “sprawling investigation.”
You’d better bet that the democrats know everything happening behind the scenes in these Biden cases. Gavin Newsom, enter stage left.
But that’s not all! Yesterday in the developing Biden Bribery case, House Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) announced that Joe Biden's Delaware home address was listed as the recipient on two large wire transfers paid to Hunter Biden from shady Chinese operators, while Joe was the Vice President.
Comer said the House also has bank records confirming those wire transfers.
This new evidence was released two days before the first hearing in the House Impeachment Inquiry begins tomorrow.
I don’t care how you slice it. For people whining there was “no evidence” linking Joe Biden to the unexplained payments to Hunter, here it is. Evidence. Get ready for the shift to “it wasn’t that bad.”
🔥 Yesterday, Republican Governor Greg Abbot of Texas tweeted that Texas intends to continue busing illegal aliens to Sanctuary Cities, where they can get much-needed help and receive valuable services from caring people who actually want them.
Of course, those numbers are a drop in the bucket of what Texas and other border states are dealing with. But it’s a start.
🔥 Friendly fire alert! A fascinating article appeared in the Harvard Gazette yesterday, headlined “How federal missteps opened door to COVID misinformation.”
The author, an “investigative journalist” who actually thinks that the federal government understated the seriousness of the pandemic and undersold the protective effect of face masks, explained that the big government health agencies were lying, which has created a crisis in confidence and opened the door for critics:
“It was an experience for me, unusual in science journalism, where you have to be the watchdog for these public health agencies … We sort of more or less believed what the CDC and WHO said, and all of a sudden, we were in a situation where we had to really question everything we were hearing.”
As a result, if you follow her logic, because the federal agencies badly downplayed how serious the pandemic was, confusing everybody, you wily anti-vaxxers were able to use that confusion to your advantage. And, she ruefully admitted, you are winning:
Mandavilli said the anti-vax campaigners “were loud. And they were clear. And they had all the answers.”
Her proposed solutions were, predictably, calls for more “transparency” and more censorship.
It’s an awful article that doesn’t even try to mention the real problems with the agencies’ mendacious pandemic messaging. But the article signaled that even rabid, dictatorial leftists are now being forced to grapple with the fact nobody believes the governments’ pharma-occupied health apparatus anymore.
💉 The last holdout crumbled yesterday. In a fractious school board meeting, LA County’s Unified School District Board — the second largest school district in the country — voted to finally end the district’s jab mandate for teachers and staff.
The vote was nearly unanimous. One of the board’s paranoid hypochondriacs voted ‘no,’ one abstained, and one voted “reluctantly yes.” Hilariously, right after the vote, LAUSD’s frustrated maskaholic chairwoman emotionally screeched she regrets nothing and blamed … Florida.
“I just wanna say that I do not regret one moment what we did. Not one moment! Not thirty seconds. Not one tiny bit. Because you know which state had the highest percentage of, er, rate of deaths from covid? FLORIDA!! No state had more per thousand people deaths, not disease, deaths! Fro, covid. From Florida! And guess which state had the highest death rate of children in the America? FLORIDA!!”
Setting aside her wildly incorrect facts, and how hard it is to understand what she’s saying through her giant face mask, it was not immediately clear what Florida has to do with LA County’s school district. You’d think maybe she would have cited some statistics on how well their own mandate had worked or something.
According to reports, all unjabbed teachers forced into remote teaching will be reinstated to to the classroom, effective immediately. In related news, teachers who were fired commented they will continue with their lawsuit until they are reinstated with back pay.
💉 And … another “super-rare,” mysterious pilot collapse. They’re dropping like jab-injured flies lately. Aero Inside ran the story yesterday headlined, “Austrian A320 near Vienna on Sep. 24th 2023, captain temporarily incapacitated.”
According to the report, Austrian Airlines flight OS-188 was enroute from Stuttgart to Vienna when the captain “started to feel unwell.” Then terrifyingly, he suddenly “became incapacitated” during descent and the first officer leapt to take over. Moments later, the captain recovered, shook it off, resumed his duties, and the plane, fortunately, landed safely.
It’s a mystery. The captain was unidentified, as was the nature of his “brief illness.” There was no word on his post-flight diagnosis. But the news comes on the heels of the death of Alaska Airlines pilot Eric MacRae, 37, who tragically died in his sleep on a layover on September 23rd.
But it happens all the time! You know. Lately.
💉 The celebrity massacre continues! British GB News ran a story last week headlined, “BBC sitcom star Maddy Anholt dies aged 35 following battle with rare brain cancer.”
Prolific comedian, marathon-runner, sitcom star, author, podcast host and writer Maddy Anholt, 35, who was (previously) in terrific health, died last week from “a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer.” The type of cancer was unidentified.
Maddie was diagnosed late last year right after giving birth to her daughter, Opal. She leaves behind her husband Ben, daughter Opal, and twin sister. Her family’s GoFundMe (for Opal) said Maddie will be “returning to the stars.” But not for any more jabs.
💉 On the heels of the resignation of Victoria’s vile premier Dan Andrews this week, the Australian Courier Mail ran an optimistic story celebrating the dwindling number of that country’s Covid Mandate Maniacs. If you count horse-faced Jacinda Ardern, that makes eight gone, with only two remaining. Tick, tock.
Here’s how the Mail’s article described the terrific progress:
Seven gone, two to go.
The departure of Daniel Andrews leaves only two – Queensland’s Annastacia Palaszczuk and the ACT’s Andrew Barr – of the nine state, territory and federal premiers who ‘led’ us through the Covid years. Throw in the sainted Jacinda across the ditch, that makes eight gone of the ten from what used to be called Australasia.
So (nearly) every one of the nine Australian Covid leaders... will have been directly sacked or 'prompted' to leave by voters. That adds up to a... damning judgment on their performance through Covid.
🔥 South Carolina’s just became the latest state library association to announce they are terminating their membership with the woke American Library Association. The ALA is headed by an openly-marxist president. South Carolina’s letter did not mince words. Its final complaint was about the ALA’s ridiculous “guidance” for librarians to “sneak” gross material into their libraries to evade local rules on sexualized content and play scheduling games to make sure conservative groups can’t use library meeting rooms:
🔥 You’ve probably heard by now about the Canadian Parliament’s Nazi problem. Earlier this week, alongside Justin Trudeau and fetish comedian V. Zelensky who were grinning like chimpanzees and clapping like trained seals, the full Canadian Parliament honored an actual Nazi SS soldier wanted for war crimes in Poland … because he “fought against the Russians.”
That’s probably true. He probably did fight against the Russians. The Nazis and the Russians fought extensively after Hitler broke their mutual agreement to split Ukraine and Poland.
The Candians officially declared the 98-year-old Nazi war criminal “a Ukrainian hero, and a Canadian hero.” Yaroslav Hunka served with the First Ukrainian Division, previously known as the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the Nazi Party’s Schutzstaffel (SS) military branch during the Second World War.
As you know, or can easily imagine, the entire Canadian parliament standing with Trudeau and Zelensky wildly applauding a known Nazi soldier was not a good look and a political fracas has predictably ensued. This may cool the ministers’ enthusiasm a little for funding Ukraine.
On Monday, Canadian Parliament Speaker Anthony Rota, who glowingly introduced Hunka, threw himself under the bus, claiming that he and he alone was responsible for the mixup, it could have happened to anyone, a simple error in judgment, mistakes made on both sides and so forth, and he apologized.
Apparently that wasn’t good enough. One day later, yesterday, to a mostly-empty parliament, Rota announced his immediate resignation as Speaker and his “profound regret” for causing pain to “certain communities”:
Then Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who infamously called the Canadian truckers “Nazis,” humbly accepted Rota’s resignation and blamed … Putin!
But wait! It gets even better. Poland announced yesterday that it has now asked Canada to extradite Mr. Hunka to be tried in that country for Nazi war crimes, putting Canada in a real political pickle.
“In view of the scandalous events in the Canadian Parliament, which involved honoring, in the presence of President Zelenskyy, a member of the criminal Nazi SS Galizien formation, I have taken steps towards the possible extradition of this man to Poland,” said Poland’s Education Minister Przemysław Czarnek.
Many folks have pointed out a missing voice: the so-called Jewish Anti-Defamation League, which went radio silent in the wake of the Canadian Nazi scandal. These days, the ADL seems more like a woke political money-laundering operation than anything else.
The question is, will this be the straw that breaks Castro-lookalike Justin Trudeau’s back? Can woke liberal prime ministers publicly cheer for Nazi soldiers in 2023 and get away with it?
I report, you decide.
🔥 Finally, enjoy this fascinating and ingenious clip of … whatever this is. A new invention. For people who wake up slowly. Something like that.
I don’t know quite what to say about this clip except that I am honestly glad to live in a world where people go to this much effort to create a one-minute internet video. Bless that guy, and I hope he uses his new invention and his well-deserved riches well.
Have a wonderful Wednesday! We’ll be back tomorrow, right on schedule, with another remarkable roundup and plenty of snark.
We can’t do it without you. Consider joining with C&C to help move the nation’s needle and change minds. I could use your help getting the truth out and spreading optimism and hope, if you can: https://www.coffeeandcovid.com/p/-learn-how-to-get-involved-