Trump’s historic civil fraud trial ruling could spur an NY business exodus

The men and women who run Gotham’s big banks and financial firms have had a long and somewhat tortured history with the former president dating back from his days as a real estate mogul.

Yet they see what’s happening to Donald Trump in the byzantine Letitia James bank-fraud prosecution and the over-the-top penalties issued by a state judge that could bankrupt Trump over relatively little.

They know they could be next — unless of course, they get out of Gotham, and fast.

That’s the word I’m getting from top executives at financial services firms, who paid close attention to the Trump case because of its broad implications for their businesses.

For years they’ve eyed the New York State Attorney General’s Office as a nuisance, its occupant using state laws, like the Martin Act, that give it wide latitude to prosecute financial crimes (and some petty crimes) for ­political advancement.

Recall: Before he was known as “Governor Socks,” Eliot Spitzer was the much-feared New York AG, the so-called sheriff of Wall Street, cracking down mostly on minor offenses that forced financial firms to fork over billions.

James’ power plays

James has taken Spitzer’s methods to more dangerous levels, Wall Street executives concede.

She has a well-earned rep for using her bully pulpit for political gain — see the “report” on her rival, former Gov. Andrew Cuomo, over sex-abuse allegations that never materialized in prosecution, but did force Cuomo from office.

In Trump, James went further.

She ran for office on the promise she would prosecute him because putting Trump in jail is supposed to be a top priority in a state where criminals and the criminally insane rule the streets and businesses are leaving in droves, depleting the state’s tax base.

The bankers I speak with aren’t particularly MAGA, far from it.

But they can’t believe James was able to turn a nothingburger case into a $355 million judgment.

If there’s a crime, they tell me, it’s that James wasn’t disqualified after using her promise to get Trump as a selling point when she ran for the office.


Trump is a well-known blowhard, but fibbing on a loan application to a major bank that did its own due diligence on a loan that Trump made good on isn’t exactly a capital offense.

It’s not just James causing so much heartburn for our business community, and expediting plans to get out of town.

The C-suiters also see the state’s dicey politics, the leftists running the state Legislature, the ineffectual governor seemingly powerless to reverse laws that are making New York ­unlivable.

Bank execs also fear the Soros-funded Alvin Bragg as the Manhattan district attorney, who busts people like Daniel Penny for defending himself on the subway and Trump for paying hush money to a porn star while their employees must dodge criminals on the way to work.

“It’s embarrassing that this is what you have to put up with to do business here,” one business leader told The Post.

“We look like idiots staying here.”

This is exactly why Goldman Sachs is moving asset-management jobs to Texas; hedge funds are bolting to Florida; private equity titans like Blackstone shifting operations to Miami.

More than $2 trillion in assets from the companies leaving the city and state for somewhere that isn’t here over the past four-plus years, I am told.

Expect even more to leave because they see the cost of doing business in what’s happening to Trump.

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