“New York Became My TOP Loser State” – Kevin O’Leary Speaks, Following New York Judge’s “Attack on Every Entrepreneur in America”

By Jordan Conradson 

Entrepreneur and Shark Tank personality Kevin O’Leary spoke to The Gateway Pundit correspondent Jordan Conradson on Saturday to share his thoughts on Judge Arthur Engoron’s verdict in Letitia James’ New York fraud case against President Trump.

O’Leary described the decision to slap Trump with an over $355 million fine and bar Trump from doing business in New York as “an attack on the 11th sector of the S&P 500 and an attack on every entrepreneur in America,” adding, “That’s 100% what it is; It’s 100% Wrong.

Developers and REIT Investors “should be very, very worried that you can get this kind of inconsistency in policy,” said O’Leary. “It’s an attack on the whole sector of the economy, based on what?”

The non-jury Soviet-style show trial played out in court for eleven weeks. Judge Engoron delayed the verdict to mid-February after he demanded information about possible perjury by Trump Org. CFO Allen Weisselberg at the eleventh hour.

Radical Marxist New York Attorney General Letitia James brought this case against Trump with no victim, seeking to ban Trump and his sons from operating any businesses in New York. She accused Trump of inflating his assets and defrauding lenders and insurance companies. O’Leary responded, “My question is, what fraud, who was defrauded here? Who was harmed? I don’t understand.”

On Friday, Judge Engoron released a 92-page verdict, ordering Trump to pay more than $355 million and barring Trump “from serving as an officer or director of any New York corporation or other legal entity in New York for a period of three years.”

As The Gateway Pundit reported on Friday, O’Leary slammed Judge Engoron’s decision as “unjust” and “un-American” in an interview with the New York Post. “If this judgment sticks. Every developer must be jailed. They must be found guilty. They must be put out of business. You can’t do this to one another. It’s not about Trump,” he said yesterday.

Engoron, in his ruling, accuses Trump and each of the defendants of “participat[ing] in aiding and abetting the conspiracy to commit insurance fraud by their individual acts in falsifying business records and valuations, causing materially fraudulent SFCs to be intentionally submitted to insurance companies.”

When asked if any of this is even true, O’Leary responded with a resounding “No.”

He further slammed Engoron’s prior ruling that Trump’s 20-acre Mar-a-Lago home in West Palm Beach, Florida, was worth just $18 million, asking, “Why does the judge have a say in that?”  He continued, “The Judge isn’t lending anything,” after noting that it’s the responsibility of lenders to agree on property value before loaning money.

O’Leary added, “When you determine the value of a stabilized building or stabilized facility like Mar a Lago, you look at all the comparables, you look everywhere, and you decide what the market price is. You’re the bank, you’re taking that as collateral, and you’re deciding that you’re going to take that risk on behalf of your risk committee. That’s what you do. You don’t need a judge for that. That’s not what they do.”

While O’Leary doesn’t know if this was a politically motivated attack on Donald Trump, he says it is an “Un-American” attack on “every city in America, every player, every investor, every risk-taker, and every entrepreneur in real estate.”

Trump is expected to speedily appeal Engoron’s decision. “This has to be reversed on appeal because it’s so absurd,” said O’Leary.

More from our conversation with Kevin O’Leary:

My problem with this is it’s setting bad precedent and bad policy. And it’s a direct assault on the 11th sector of the S&P 500. I mean, you got to understand my perspective. I’m an investor, and I invest in real estate. It’s my largest holding. When we develop buildings, we create jobs. It’s a fundamental sector of the economy, not only for job creation in every city but also for investors. When buildings get stabilized and start generating cash, they get put into REITs. And many, many, many retirees own these REITs for income, and they have for decades and generations. And the methodology, the entrepreneurial aspect of risk-taking in real estate development, whether it’s residential or commercial or office or retail, it doesn’t matter; it’s always the same.

If you’re a developer, and you start by building your first building, and you do a construction loan, you’re taking a huge risk. And if you’re successful, you end up with a stabilized building, and then you have a stabilized building that may be generating a six or seven percent return; that’s the cap rate. You go to a bank and say, “Here’s my building. I think it’s worth $400 million, and I want to borrow $200 million against the building. I bought another piece of land, I’m building another building right beside it, and I need $200 million, and I’ll put up my building that’s worth $400 million here as collateral.” And the bank, and this has been going on since the beginning of time, the bank will say “No, we looked at it, and we think it’s worth $300 million. We don’t think it’s worth $400 million, and here’s the reasons we think it’s only $300 million.” And this negotiation goes on and has forever in every city. And the bankers are very sophisticated that lend in real estate development. They’ve been doing it forever. They have their own process of due diligence, and you, as the developer, are always promoting your building in the very best light. That has been going on forever. There’s nothing illegal about it. It’s a bartering system between two private entities, or public sometimes—it doesn’t matter. And it’s fully transparent, and that negotiated settlement is upon which the new loan is granted along with the terms and covenants.

What happened here is absurd. I don’t understand why the complaint was brought in the first place. Nobody in real estate development does. I don’t see anybody that lost anything. All parties were satisfied. And this judge, out of nowhere, says I’m going to make this claim against this developer—forget that it’s Trump. This has nothing to do with Trump. This is a direct assault on every real estate developer in America. And if it’s true that this developer, which happens to be Trump, why we’re talking about this case. obviously, he gets so much focus. But if he’s guilty, then they’re all guilty, everybody. Let’s let’s find all of these developers guilty in every city in America and, frankly, all around the world. And let’s stop that. Let’s shut down this sector, this important sector of the economy and make sure never, never, never do we do another building. We cannot do this ever again. We’ll go back and live in caves again. I mean, this has to be reversed on appeal because it’s so absurd. It’s just bad policy. And I’ve said this countless times: I don’t do business in New York because it’s a loser state. It has bad policy, high taxes, it’s mismanaged, and it does this kind of thing. This is a loser state, Massachusetts is a loser state, New Jersey is a loser state. I do business in places like North Dakota, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Florida, Texas. These are winner states. You know, my family grew up—you got me going here, so if you don’t mind me ranting—my kids were born and grew up in Boston. That’s where we raised our family, but we don’t live there anymore. All my neighbors live near me in Miami. We’ve all moved because Elizabeth Warren made it illegal to be successful. She’s taxing entrepreneurs on success. That’s just insane what’s going on in that state, and of course, people are moving out in droves. Just look at all the people leaving New Jersey and New. York. In New York, they’re all going to Tennessee; that’s a winner state. Look at Nashville, it’s the fastest-growing city in America right now. Why? Because it’s a winner state. It’s not a loser state. And I, as an investor, do not want to reward weak management and insane policy by investing in it. So, I’m just saying, I’m just one investor; we should throw our weight behind good management and winner states and let people understand why they’re living in loser states because they’ve hired bad managers. And when it comes time for an election, hire good managers, so you’re not a loser state anymore. Because New York, with this decision, now became my top loser state. It used to be California, but they just won the top ticket. New York first, California second. They’re both massive loser states.

I love New York. It breaks my heart to see the mismanagement and the mediocrity that has been hired to run the city and the state and the completely insane policy. This judge has a responsibility to America. He has a responsibility to support the 11th sector of the S&P 500 and the millions of jobs that it creates and the support that it gives to every local economy in America. Obviously, he did not consider that in this decision. This decision has to be overturned, it has to be appealed, and it will be because you ask any real estate developer, does this make sense? This is insane. It’s insane what happened here. It’s insane. And why impose a $300 million fine? What the— what is that? And then ban a developer from developing? For what? You know, that’s my question. And it’s not about Trump. This has nothing to do with Trump. This is incredibly bad policy. And obviously has to be challenged because it’s just unhealthy for the economy.
They should be very, very worried that you can get this kind of inconsistency in policy. It’s an onslaught, it’s an attack on the whole sector of the economy based on what? but my question is, what fraud? Who was defrauded here? Who was harmed? I don’t understand. And no one does, and so we’re all asking ourselves, why? I don’t know why [this judge] did it. I just don’t understand because it makes no sense. It’s just irrational. It doesn’t make sense. There’s no way to understand why this makes sense, but it does put on notice the age-long, since the beginning of time negotiation that occurs between developers, the risk takers, the entrepreneurs, and the banks that support them. This is a symbiotic relationship, no different than the honey bee and the flower. I mean, they need each other to exist. You have to lend money to developers. That’s how they develop. They need capital. And this just sprays insecticide on the bee, if you want to use that analogy. It’s crazy.
On the valuation of the Mar a Lago:

Why does the judge have a say in that? The judge isn’t lending anything. He’s not lending anything. He’s arbitrarily putting a price. When you determine the value of a stabilized building or a stabilized facility like Mar a Lago, you look at all the comparables, you look everywhere and you decide what the market price is. You’re the bank, you’re taking that as collateral, and you’re deciding that you’re going to take that risk on behalf of your risk committee. That’s what you do. You don’t need a judge for that. That’s not what they do. Why would he decide that it’s worth $18 million? What right does he have to decide that it’s worth $18 million? Why isn’t the market deciding? Let the market be the market! I’m highly critical of that decision. That doesn’t make any sense. A judge can decide what a stabilized building is worth? Why? And when did that start, and why is that good for the sector? Forget about Trump—I keep saying, forget about Trump. Imagine a legal judge getting involved in the age-long negotiation on the value of a stabilized building. Why? Why is that good?

On whether businesses and investors should anti-free market flee states like New York:

I made an individual decision as an investor, and I’m very, very vocal about it. I want to support winner states, winner governors, winner senators that understand the importance of all eleven sectors of the S&P and building an environment, a platform where we can go and risk capital in their state and create jobs and have stable policy. New York is not one of those. It was the worst; it was number two, and now it’s number one. And I’m happy to just talk about this ‘till the cows come home; I’m just one individual, but this is really crazy what’s happening here. And I think as investors, I’m just one investor, but I just want to support those states that have good policy. I don’t care if they’re red or blue. It has nothing to do with it. Do they have a good manager? Has the senator ever run a business or made payroll? Same with a governor, do these people understand how hard it is to create a job and how hard it is to maintain a business in any state? So, if you overtax, or you start to punish, like in Massachusetts, you just drive people out. They make their decisions quietly, and they leave, and those great entrepreneurs go do it somewhere else. We need a healthy competition between states. We need to support the winner states and punish the loser states. And the good people in every loser state, the only way I can do it is vote with my dollars. I vote with my dollars. I don’t give money to loser states. I want the people in those loser states to fire their managers and hire better managers to attract capital back, not just me. I’m just one investor, but this is a market decision. But when you see policy like this, you have to shout out, you have to shine the spotlight on it, and say, “This is a loser state, a 100% loser state and here’s why.”

On why he believes the commercial real estate market will crash:

Go to the New York Community Bank; the reason it’s going to fail is because of bad policy, and rent controls on buildings that there’s no market test for what those leases are worth. And so when rates went up, and they’re holding the paper, they’re holding the debt on these facilities, of course, they’re going to be worthless because they can’t raise rents because of stupid policy in New York, whether it’s in the state or whether it’s in the city. You’ve got bad managers, bad policy, and of course, it’s going to cause financial stress. That bank will fail eventually and probably require a bailout because the managers who made the decision, the policymakers, the lawmakers put some kind of crazy controls on the price of leases and rents and everything else. And, of course, they’re not market-driven, and when the market moves on rates going up by the Fed, they’re gonna fail. That’s what’s gonna happen.

On whether the ruling was politically motivated or simply an attack on the free market:

I don’t have the answer to it. Obviously, everybody is scrutinizing this, but I don’t think it has to be a Trump scrutiny. It shouldn’t be. It should be a policy [scrutiny]. We should be looking at an incorrect decision that hurts every city in America, every player, every investor, every risk-taker, and every entrepreneur in real estate. This great country was built on risk capital. It was built by entrepreneurial investors in real estate development that took huge risks 200 years ago to do this, and they needed their partners in banks. There was no judge involved. And it was the market deciding who to back and who not to back everyday, and what the value of these assets were every day, and then this comes along, and then a judge is telling you what a stabilized building is worth. It’s just wrong. And hopefully, when it gets up into appeal, it goes to a higher court, they’ll throw this out as the incorrect decision it was, as the harmful decision it was, as the UnAmerican decision it was, as an attack on the 11th sector of the S&P 500, and an attack on every entrepreneur in America. That’s what this is. That’s 100% what it is. It’s 100% Wrong.

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