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Trump faces obstacles to securing an appeal bond in fraud case


Former U.S. President Donald Trump gestures on the day of a court hearing on charges of falsifying business records to cover up a hush money payment to a porn star before the 2016 election, in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan, New York, on Feb. 15, 2024.

Andrew Kelly | Reuters

Former President Donald Trump is gearing up to fight a massive fine in the New York business fraud case that threatens to erase most of the cash he says he has on hand.

But first, he has to secure a bond — and that might not be so easy.

Trump on Friday was ordered to pay about $355 million in penalties, plus more than $98 million in interest after a judge found the former president liable for fraud for manipulating financial statements given to lenders. Every day, the accruing interest adds $87,502 to Trump’s bill.

Unless he wants to pay the entire penalty while his expected appeal is considered, Trump will need to post an appeal bond. This is typically up to 120% of the judgment plus the current interest.

At that rate, Trump’s original ruling with interest would indicate he will need to secure a bond worth more than $540 million. But it’s unlikely that the real estate baron will be able to use his properties as collateral.

It’s “not very attractive to take real estate as collateral,” said Neil Pedersen, owner of New York-based surety bond agency Pedersen & Sons.

Trump could have to liquidate some assets to secure a bond, said Pedersen. The bond company will also charge a fee that could total millions of dollars.

An appeal of Judge Arthur Engoron’s ruling could take years to play out.

A flag supporting former U.S. President Donald Trump outside Trump Tower in New York on Oct. 1, 2023.

Yuki Iwamura | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Another complicating factor: Trump’s status as a presidential front-runner.

It’s an “unprecedented” situation for a potential bond company to commit to, Pedersen said.

“No one’s ever had to enforce an indemnity agreement against what could very well be the next U.S. president,” he said.

Trump has vowed to appeal Engoron’s ruling, which threatens not just his bottom line, but his entire persona as a mega-rich business genius, one that he has carefully cultivated for decades.

But bond agents may have reservations about working with Trump, whose business practices and claims about his wealth have been successfully challenged in court.

Appeal bonds are used to ensure that a person ordered to pay a judgment cannot misuse the courts to delay or avoid making that payment.

“Whoever is going to bond [Trump] is committing that they’re going to make good on that judgment,” said New York business attorney David Slarskey. “Who’s going to do that?”

Trump, who said in a deposition last year that he had “substantially in excess of $400 million in cash,” could technically deposit the full judgment against him, plus interest, as he challenges the judgment. But his lawyer has already said that he will secure a bond.

“We have to post the bond, which is the full amount and…



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