Donald Trump has claimed he has been unable to secure a bond - possibly secured by a letter of credit (L/C) or real estate - that he would need to avoid or delay paying the US$464 million the former US president has been ordered to pay by courts in potential damages and fines resulting from his civil trials over the last year (DC World News, 11 March 2024).

But New York Attorney General Letitia James does not accept Trump's reasoning - or lack of reasoning - as to why he has failed in his attempts to secure a bond and she is urging an appeals court to disregard the former president's claim.

Trump is due to post a bond today (Monday) to cover the multi-million dollar fraud judgment against him or risk having his assets seized by the attorney-general.

Brokers reject Trump

Trump's claim stated that he had approached 30 surety brokers to provide him with a supersedeas bonds, a type of surety bond that is often used during the appeals process in US legal cases. Consequently, his lawyers have asked the appeal court to either pause their judgment or accept a far less costly bond.

The former president's lawyers argued that the bond companies would not usually be able to underwrite such large sums and that they could not accept real estate assets as collateral.

No reason for L/C rejection

But the attorney general's lawyer, Dennis Fan, in response to what he called Trump's "procedurally improper" filing argues that the former president has provided no reasons why he cannot obtain an L/C or put up real estate as collateral.

Although Trump's legal team acknowledges that "it is possible to use an irrevocable letter of credit to obtain a bond..., they do not explain why a bank would not accept real property to finance that letter of credit", Fan says in a nine-page filing.

He cites an example in another case where real estate was used to finance an irrevocable L/C and in yet another case a court confirmed that real estate may be "converted to a form of collateral acceptable to the surety" for an appeal bond.

Fan's filing on behalf of New York Attorney General Letitia James in the case of People v. Trump, No. 2024-01134, 2024-01135, can be found here.

This article represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of the ICC or Coastline Solutions.